New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist officially announced today, in Swedish, that he will not participate in the upcoming 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) World Championships in Denmark next month.
Here’s the official statement from Lundqvist himself, taken from his Twitter account:
The rough translation:
“While appreciated, I have to say no to the World Championships this year. The knee injury that I have dragged with the last 5-6 months makes it impossible.”
The man they call King Henrik then followed up that statement with another update regarding his knee injury:
Again, the rough translation:
“Should meet a doctor for an injection in a week and then it will be rehab for the next 4 weeks.”
Ouch. You’ve got to feel for Lundqvist. Not only are the Rangers a shell of the team they used to be, but Lundqvist has been propping them up for 5-6 months while playing on one knee… all at 36 years of age. What a battler.
With Lundqvist electing to stay at home this summer, it’ll be interesting to see who gets the call for Sweden in goal. Of course, Lundqvist led Team Sweden to a gold medal at the 2017 IIHF World Championships last May so whomever takes over the crease will have some awfully big skates the fill. The most likely candidates are Vancouver Canucks teammates Jacob Markstrom and Anders Nillson as well as Buffalo Sabres’ netminder Robin Lehner.
As for the Rangers, with head coach Alain Vigneault officially out in NYC, it’s expected that the team will go with a more youthful lineup for the 2018-19 season. Veterans like Ryan McDonagh, J.T. Miller, Michael Grabner and Rick Nash were all jettisoned by general manager Jeff Gorton this season but it still remains to be seen what he elects to do with Lundqvist. While he may not be the superstar goaltender that he once was, you have to imagine that even at his advanced age he’d generate serious interest on the trade market.
In 63 games with the Rangers this past season, the veteran Lundqvist went 26-26-7 while posting a 2.98 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.
Stay tuned, Rangers fans. The rebuild in New York may just be getting started.