Rangers icon, Olympic gold medalist Henrik Lundqvist retires after 15 NHL seasons

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The King has vacated his throne. Henrik Lundqvist, an Olympic gold medalist and the most decorated netminder in Rangers franchise history (apologies to Mike Richter), has announced his retirement from the NHL after 15 brilliant seasons, all spent in Broadway Blue. The 39-year-old signed with Washington last offseason, but never saw the ice for the Capitals, missing the entire 2021 season while recovering from heart surgery.

King Henrik, as he was called, will go down as one of the great goalies of his era, achieving All-Star recognition five times (2009, 2011-12, 2018-19) while leading New York to the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, where the Blueshirts would ultimately fall to Los Angeles in five games. A seventh-round pick of the Rangers in 2000, Lundqvist finished fourth in Calder Trophy voting (awarded annually to the NHL’s top rookie) in his debut 2006, the same year he led Sweden to Olympic gold in Turin. Lundqvist would medal again at the 2014 Games in Sochi, taking silver after losing to Canada in the final.

The 2012 Vezina Trophy recipient (he was also a finalist for MVP that season, finishing third behind Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins and Lightning forward Steven Stamkos) will retire as the Rangers’ all-time leader in wins (459), saves (23,509), shutouts (64) and minutes played (51,818). Only five goalies—Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Marc-Andre Fleury, Roberto Luongo and Ed Belfour—have won more than Lundqvist, whose career .918 save percentage ranks 10th all-time. Well-known for his charitable contributions off the ice, the Rangers fan favorite was twice nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and was also named a finalist for ESPN’s inaugural Sports Humanitarian Award in 2015.

“It’s time,” wrote Lundqvist in his retirement announcement Friday morning. “Thank you @nyrangers and New York City. I’m a born Swede but I’ll always feel like a New Yorker thanks to you. Thank you @NHL. This league was everything I dreamed of and more.” A likely Hall-of-Famer, the butterfly specialist led New York to playoff berths in 12 of his 15 seasons between the pipes.

UPDATE: In a statement posted to the team’s Twitter account, the Rangers announced they will retire Lundqvist’s number during a game this season.

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