Mark your calendars: King Henrik’s No. 30 will take its rightful place in the Madison Square Garden rafters.
The Rangers announced Monday that Henrik Lundqvist will have his No. 30 jersey retired in an on-ice ceremony prior to puck drop against the Wild on Jan. 28. Lundqvist, the face of the franchise for 15 years, will join Rod Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Mike Richter, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell, Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield as the only Rangers whose jersey numbers have been retired by the organization.
“Over the franchise’s history, only 11 Rangers players have earned the honor of having their numbers raised to the Garden rafters, where they forever serve as inspiration for others to follow,” Rangers CEO Jim Dolan said in a press release. “For 15 seasons, Henrik Lundqvist embodied everything the Rangers organization stands for — excellence, commitment, pride, and leadership. It is only fitting that his No. 30 will now join the legends who have come before him.”
Ticket prices skyrocketed as soon as the announcement was made, with the lowest quickly sitting at just under $700. Some sellers are seeking upwards of $11,000 for seats in the 100 level of the arena.
There is something poetic about Lundqvist having his jersey retired ahead of the Rangers’ game against the Wild, meaning Mats Zuccarello is expected to be in attendance. Zuccarello forged a strong friendship with the Swedish netminder during his tenure in New York. N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg
The Blueshirts bought out of the final year of Lundqvist’s contract at the end of the 2019-20 season. With the emergence of young goalies Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, Lundqvist was relegated to a career-low 26 starts in his final season.
Shortly after the buyout, Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Capitals. However, the 39-year-old had to miss the entire 2020-21 season due to a preexisting heart condition that Washington medical staff noticed had worsened. Lundqvist underwent open-heart surgery and ultimately had to retire. Lundqvist, a five-time All-Star, is the winningest goaltender in Rangers history and ranks sixth on the NHL’s all-time wins list. In 2011-12, Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy after posting a 24-16-3 record with a staggering 1.97 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. He has been a finalist for the top goaltender award five times.
“It was an honor to play with Henrik for four seasons and watch his career evolve as I’ve moved through the organization,” said president and general manager Chris Drury. “Having his No. 30 etched in history forever is so well-deserved for a man who has done so much for the city of New York, on and off the ice. It will be a special moment for the entire organization.”
Head coach Gerard Gallant said he’s leaning toward playing players who didn’t compete in the preseason-opening loss to the Islanders, in Tuesday’s matchup with the Bruins, though nothing was finalized yet.
Matt Rempe was assigned to the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds. … Karl Henriksson was sent to the Swedish Hockey League’s Frolunda. … There are 45 players remaining in camp.