Perhaps for the first time in his career, Henrik Lundqvist represents something of an enigma ahead of the coming campaign. Now 35 years old, the Swede is coming off the worst season of his career in terms of GAA (2.74) and save percentage (.910), but he was able to elevate his game in the playoffs (2.25, .927). Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to propel the Blueshirts to the Stanley Cup, making it that much more difficult for Lundqvist to add that accomplishment to his Hall of Fame resume. The difference in his stats between the regular season and playoffs last year may be attributable to Lundqvist consciously conserving his strength and energy, but that won't soothe prospective fantasy owners. If not for an injury, he would have cleared 60 appearances yet again last season, but he settled in at 57 instead; that's a solid approximate target for him in 2017-18, with new backup Ondrej Pavelec unlikely to challenge Lundqvist for supremacy in the Rangers' net.
Lundqvist, who sustained an MCL sprain at the 2017 IIHF World Championship in May, is healthy as he looks forward to training camp, NHL.com reports. The celebrated backstop toughed out the ailment and helped the Swedish team to the gold medal at Worlds, and luckily it was never considered to be a serious issue. Lundqvist turned in career-worst ratios (2.74 GAA, .910 save percentage) over 57 games last season, but the Rangers' high-powered offense frequently bailed him out on his way to 31 wins -- excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, the King has impressively recorded 30-plus victories in each year of his illustrious career.
Lundqvist played with an isolated MCL sprain during Team Sweden's gold-medal clinching victory at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, Newsday's Steve Zipay reports. Lundqvist's knee injury isn't expected to interfere with his offseason training regimen, so this news shouldn't have any impact on his fantasy draft stock heading into the 2017-18 campaign. The Swedish backstop was fantastic at the World Championship, registering a .945 and 1.31 GAA in five appearances.
Lundqvist and Team Sweden won the gold medal at the just-concluded 2017 IIHF World Championship. There was a scary moment during the celebration when young Leafs star William Nylander leapt into Lundqvist's arms and almost knocked him into a goalpost, but all's well that ends well. After a disappointing end to the Rangers' postseason run, King Henrik probably needed the morale boost of this tournament victory. The long-time goaltending star is coming off his worst season in the NHL (2.74 GAA, .910 save percentage), but he didn't look washed up in the playoffs or international play. This was his second gold medal, as he also won one at the 2006 Winter Olympics. It's not inconceivable that he'll bounce back with a better performance next season, but we can no longer expect him to be the elite Lundqvist of old.
Lundqvist will join Team Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, Jim Cerny of Yahoo Sports reports. Lundqvist's NHL campaign once again ended in disappointment in 2016-17, as the Rangers were ultimately eliminated by the Senators in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 35-year-old netminder will now head overseas in hopes of washing the taste of defeat out of his mouth by helping his native Sweden take home gold in this international tournament.
Lundqvist saved just 22 of 25 shots during Tuesday's Game 6 loss to the Senators. There were flashes of brilliance from Lundqvist throughout the playoffs, and he allowed two goals or fewer in six of 12 games. However, he needed more timely saves in the final two games of the series, as Ottawa scored eight goals on 62 shots (.871 save percentage and 3.84 GAA). Lundqvist is also coming off the worst regular season of his career and has shown statistical decline in consecutive years. There could be a slight bounce-back next year, but Lundqvist will also be entering his age-35 season behind a shaky defense corps.
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