Lundqvist retires from NHL after 15 seasons with Rangers


“It’s time,” Lundqvist posted on his Twitter account. “For the last 30 years I have devoted my life to the game of hockey … and now it’s time to walk away from the game I love and begin a new chapter.”

Lundqvist finished his NHL career with a record of 459-310-96, a 2.43 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts in 15 seasons with the New York Rangers. He went 61-67 with a 2.30 GAA, .921 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 130 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

He is sixth in NHL history in wins, seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games played (887), ninth in starts (871), ninth in time on ice (51,816:51) and 17th in shutouts.

“Obviously there are a lot of emotions right now,” Lundqvist said Friday during a press conference at Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden. “For me, it started here in Scandinavium when I was 5 years old I saw my first hockey game here. Thats how it started.

“I also want to thank all the coaches and all the players that I’ve had the opportunity to play with and I want to thank all the clubs that I’ve represented. Jarpen, where it all starter, Rogle BK, Frolunda of course, and the New York Rangers. All of them have meant so much to me during that time and place. A big part of my life has been dedicated to those teams.

“At last I want to thank all the fans. I’ve felt so much support here at home playing for Frolunda and the national team, and in New York. It’s been giving me so much joy to feel that support. I will be forever grateful for it. … That is obviously something that I will miss, the intense feeling of being in a rink competing.”

The 39-year-old goalie signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Oct. 9, 2020 but did not play last season because of a heart issue. He had valve replacement surgery in January 2021.

Lundqvist began light workouts in July and became an unrestricted free agent July 28.

He told the New York Post that his plan was still to come back, but experienced setbacks during those workouts, which caused some chest pain.

“I was hoping I would be 100 percent by this time,” Lundqvist told the paper. “But I was told that inflammation takes a long time to correct and with medication I might be out of the woods, but it could be another full year before I would be 100 percent.”

Lundqvist was voted the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL in 2011-12 and is the only goalie in NHL history to start his career with seven consecutive 30-win seasons (2005-12). In his eighth season, 2012-13, there was a reduced 48-game schedule because of a lockout, and he had 24 wins in 43 games (all starts). He had at least 30 wins in each of the next four seasons, giving him 11 seasons with at least that many, ranking third behind Martin Brodeur (14) and Patrick Roy (13).

In NHL postseason history, Lundqvist is seventh in saves (3,567), seventh in starts (130), eighth in time on ice (7,935:25), 10th in games played (130), tied with Ken Dryden for 11th in shutouts and tied with Tom Barrasso for 14th in wins. He helped lead the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. 

He is the Rangers leader in wins, shutouts, games played, starts, saves, time on ice and goalie points (27, all assists). He is also New York’s postseason leader in wins, shutouts, games played, games started, saves and time on ice. The Rangers bought out the final season of Lundqvist’s contract Sept. 30, 2020.

“It is with mixed emotions that The New York Rangers offer our best wishes and heartfelt gratitude to Henrik Lundqvist on the announcement of his retirement,” the Rangers said in a statement. “Henrik’s commitment to excellence made him one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game of hockey, and we are so fortunate to have witnessed his greatness firsthand for 15 years. As we congratulate Henrik on an extraordinary career and a lasting legacy of success, charity and character, we are honored to announce that we will retire his number and raise his jersey to the rafters at an upcoming game this season. 

“Henrik is, and always will be, a Ranger.”

New York selected Lundqvist in the seventh round (No. 205) of the 2000 NHL Draft. He played for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League before coming to the NHL.

Internationally, Lundqvist won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Torino Olympics and a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also helped Sweden win the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

“There are many things I love about this game: From the excitement I felt as an 8-year old at my first practice to the 15 years of butterflies I had every time I took the ice in the greatest city in the world,” Lundqvist tweeted. “I’m extremely grateful for what hockey has brought me and taught me in life. Those lessons will never leave me.”

Tweet from @hlundqvist35: independent correspondent Peter Ekholm contributed to this report

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