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On the emotional day he was bought out by the only organization he’s known since debuting in 2005-06, Henrik Lundqvist thanked the New York Rangers and the fans of the greatest city.
It might be goodbye. But King Henrik has a great attitude and loves being a New Yorker. He gets it. It won’t be the last time we see him. That’s a good thing.
Goodbye’s are hard. Especially when it comes to a great athlete you love. The way Lundqvist embraced New York City and took pride in wearing the Broadway Blueshirt jersey, made him special. For fifteen years, he gave his blood, sweat and tears to our team. I wish it had resulted in a Cup. That’s the only thing missing.
I still wouldn’t trade what this prideful and passionate man gave to the franchise. Lundqvist brought back respectability to the Blueshirts. From the early days with Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka, Michael Nylander, Petr Prucha, Marek Malik, Michal Rozsival and company, Hen-rik as he was affectionately known was the brightest star who played on Broadway.
It’s ironic that both Lundqvist and Marc Staal, who were such a integral part of those classic Black and Blueshirt teams, are no longer here. The two longest tenured Rangers are gone. Staal landing in Detroit and Lundqvist still up in the air. Whatever he decides, it’ll be interesting.
Thinking back on those teams that made three deep runs, all that’s left is Chris Kreider and hopefully Jesper Fast now stays. It’s astonishing how much the roster changed. What started with Derek Stepan sent to the Coyotes started a chain of events over the past few years. While the future looks bright thanks to a nice overhaul by Jeff Gorton and John Davidson, it could be a while before we see meaningful hockey come back to 33rd and 7th.
With the NHL Draft a week away, Alexis Lafreniere will be added to a new core that features Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Kreider, Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, Brett Howden, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Igor Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev. We will wait until we see what happens with Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo. Ditto for Fast, who if re-signed would be one of the team leaders.
Like a fast train ride, so much can change in a New York minute. That’s how it’s been for the Rangers and the fans who love this team the past three years. Hopefully, better days are ahead. We need it.