And now for the emotional farewell to Henrik Lundqvist.
After the Rangers officially bought out Lundqvist’s contract Wednesday morning, the 38-year-old goaltender reacted to leaving the franchise after 15 years.
“THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!” he wrote on Twitter. “15 years ago, I played my first game for @NYRangers I came here with high hopes and big dreams but in my wildest imagination, I could never have pictured the amazing ride that lay ahead..
“Representing this organization has been the biggest source of pride and joy in my life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity, for the friendships and for all the great memories created wearing the red, white and blue. I will always cherish my time as a Ranger.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you!”
The beginning of the end of Lundqvist’s career with the Rangers came with the call-up of Igor Shesterkin, who is expected to be the No. 1 goalie with Alex Georgiev as backup. Lundqvist started just one of the team’s final 19 games of the 2019-20 season, but proved himself enough in the pre-bubble training camp to earn the starting nod for Games 1 and 2 in the play-in round against the Carolina Hurricanes when Shesterkin was sidelined with a groin injury.
But Lundqvist was moved to the bench for Game 3 when Shesterkin was healthy to return, ending the King’s streak of 129 consecutive postseason starts that dated back to 2006.
“Few players have been as important to the Rangers franchise as Henrik Lundqvist, and we are incredibly grateful for all he has done for our organization,” owner James Dolan said in a statement. “Over his 15-year tenure, he not only established himself as one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game, he has also been one of hockey’s fiercest competitors and most effective ambassadors. He will always be a part of the Rangers family.”
“We would like to thank Henrik for his immeasurable contributions to the New York Rangers,” Rangers president John Davidson added. “From the time I met Henrik when he first came to New York in 2005, he has been the consummate professional. His tireless work ethic, passion for the game, and love of the Rangers and New York City enabled him to become one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey and one of the best players in the history of our franchise.
“We all wish Henrik and his family the best going forward.”