What went wrong with the New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist’s workload
New York Rangers’ Lundqvist makes right decision by sitting out of IIHF
The plan coming into the season should have been to play Lundqvist less, but that was not the case, and it ended up costing the New York Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist is not a youngster anymore.
At 36 years old, it is more important than ever to control his number of starts. The Rangers should not overwork him before the games become more meaningful.
That did not happen this season, as Lundqvist played in 63 games. That is the second highest appearance total he’s had in a season since the 2011-12 season.
The injury to backup goaltender Ondrej Pavalec was a factor in that, but the Rangers shouldn’t have been put in that situation.
The Rangers had a strong backup goaltender in Antti Raanta. Many thought he would have a sizable workload in order to give Lundqvist more rest. But Raanta was traded to Arizona in the offseason and and the signing of Pavalec was a downgrade.
Pavalec was serviceable in the games that he played, maybe even playing better than some had expected. But Raanta would have put the team in a better situation.
Regardless of who the backup was or could’ve been, Lundqvist should not have played in the number of games that he did.
Another rough year by no fault of his own
He finished with a 2.98 GAA, which is well above his previous career worst of 2.74. He set that mark last season.
Henrik Lundqvist is not going to succeed if he plays over 60 games. At this point in his career he needs the rest.
The fact that he played in 63 games is even more controversial since Lundqvist admitted that he was playing most of the year with a knee injury.
He should have had the chance to heal. Instead, he played in numerous back-to-backs and was tasked with carrying the team.
Not only was Lundqvist overworked by the number of games he played, he was also overworked during the games themselves.
He faced 2,036 shots this season, setting a new career high. The Rangers averaged 35.3 shots against per game, second most in the league.
This had to have been one of the more difficult season’s for Lundqvist, and it could have been easily avoided.
If he was more rested, he most likely would have performed better at the end of the season. Maybe the Rangers would have not been in the cellar of the Metropolitan Division.
The new head coach should know that Lundqvist needs more rest for this team to have a chance.
If Henrik Lundqvist plays in over 60 games again, it could be more of the same struggle for the King.