Throughout his lengthy career, Henrik Lundqvist had solidified himself as one of the best goalies, not just in the game today, but of all-time. The Swedish goaltender has racked up 405 wins in the National Hockey League, good for 10th all time. He’s been nominated for the Vezina Trophy five times, and won it in 2012. He’s been selected to three all-star games, and has even been nominated for the Hart Trophy, the NHL’s most valuable player. Lundqvist even won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 2006. He also helped lead the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014. Lundqvist is still looking to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup before the end of his career, but other than that, he has just about accomplished it all.
The man they call “Hank” or “The King” has notched at least 30 wins in every one of his NHL seasons, except for 2012-13, when Lundqvist totaled 24 wins in the NHL season that was shortened to 48 games due to the lockout. If he gets at least 33 wins in the 2017-18 season, the Rangers great will move up to seventh all-time, behind the great Terry Sawchuk. Obviously, Lundqvist will not be able to catch the likes of Martin Brodeur or Patrick Roy, who have 691 and 551 career wins respectively. However, Hank can keep on moving up in the all-time wins list.
Lundqvist is at the ripe old age of 35, but still has a few more NHL seasons in him. He is exactly 80 wins away from taking over third place on the all-time list from Ed Belfour, who has 484 career wins. If Hank can play at least 3-4 more seasons, and average 25-30 wins, he could certainly find himself there. But father time is not all too kind in professional sports, so it is not a given that Lundqvist will accomplish the feat.
But let’s backtrack a little bit, before Henrik became one of the best goalies in the game of hockey. In the 2000 NHL Draft, many scouts had Lundqvist ranked as the top goalie coming out of Europe. But Hank was still generally unproven and was not garnishing hardly any interest from NHL clubs. In fact, only one team in the NHL held a pre-draft interview with him. That would be the St. Louis Blues. The Blues would not select Hank however, but would go on to select a goaltender later in the draft, Reinhard Divis (8th round). In an interview with Sportsnet last spring, Lundqvist jokingly commented “that was apparently not a good meeting.”
To make Lundqvist’s suffering a little harder, his twin brother Joel, a fellow teammate with Henrik at Frolunda HC (Sweden) would be drafted in the third round by the Dallas Stars. Since the brother’s had the same agent, he pushed for the Stars to draft Henrik in the later rounds. The Stars originally said they would draft Henrik if he were still on the board in the fifth round, but the Stars did not follow through with it.
Finally, in the seventh round, the New York Rangers were on the clock. They were in need of a goaltender and after some discussion between management, decided to take Henrik Lundqvist with the 205th pick in the 2000 NHL Draft. Henrik would play the next five seasons in Sweden before being brought in to play for the Rangers. And the rest is history. Henrik Lundqvist will easily go down as one of the biggest draft steals in NHL history.