And he wasn't the only one.
Boston Bruins defenseman Brian Leetch, a longtime Ranger, said he was looking at his former team's lineup over the summer and believed Lundqvist could make a key difference.
"Sweden has the best league in the world during the lockout, and he was as good as there was playing in Europe," Leetch told the New York Post last week. "I thought if he could carry that over into the NHL, the Rangers would have a pretty good chance to be a much improved team. Obviously that's what has happened."
After missing the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons, the Rangers now find themselves ranked second in the Atlantic Division and with the fifth-highest point total in the league. Lundqvist is listed third among all goaltenders with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
"The team has been working really hard and played well," Lundqvist said. "That helps a lot."
So does being right where he is as the Olympics approach. Lundqvist will be the starting goalie for Sweden, a team that is considered talented enough to win gold but that has to live down the stigma of 2002 when it was eliminated from medal contention because underdog Belarus scored on a fluke shot from center ice against Tommy Salo.
Salo was castigated in the media back home, and his NHL career was never the same. Now Lundqvist is the go-to guy, and he and his teammates will be under tremendous pressure from the many hockey-crazed fans back home."
"It's better that we're over here," Lundqvist said. "We don't see the papers."
Too bad, because what they're saying about him has been pretty good.