After coming off his best season in the league, Lundqvist struggled out of the gate. He was another one of the players that did not play competitively during the lockout. Because of this, he started off the season a little sluggish and slow. But boy did he turn it on for the rest of the season.
Lundqvist started the final 14 games of the regular season as the Rangers pushed towards a playoff spot. He also started all 12 playoff games for the team. He posted a goals against average 2.05 during the regular season and a 2.14 one during the postseason. He recorded five total shutouts with three of them coming in the playoffs. When the Rangers needed him the most he played his best. In two elimination games in the first round against the Washington Capitals he had back-to-back shutouts. In game 6, he was tested the entire game and rose to the occasion to win a 1-0 barn burner. Like the rest of the team though, Lundqvist and the Rangers could not overcome the speed and skill the Boston Bruins had. Lundqvist still played phenomenal but received very little help from the rest of his team.
As most Ranger fans know, Lundqvist is an unrestricted free agent next summer. During the Rangers breakup day, Lundqvist made some remarks that caused a lot of controversy. He was not open to saying that he would return to the team after next summer or if he was willing to sign an extension this offseason. He also said the team took a “backwards step” this year while former coach John Tortorella said that it was a sideways step. There is still a lot of speculation that Lundqvist’s comments might have had something to do with the Rangers firing Tortorella.
With Alain Vingeault sure to ramp up the offense, Lundqvist is going to have to be at the top of his game all year next year. With the team set to take more chances, there are sure to be more odd man rushes and scoring chances for opposing teams. Lundqvist likes challenges but this will by far be the biggest challenge of his career.
Still, Lundqvist is the cornerstone of the Rangers current team. Reports are beginning to circulate that Lundqvist and the Rangers will meet during the draft to start negotiations on an extension. Lundqvist is the Rangers best played and they would be wise to resign him long term. While 2013 didn’t end with a Stanley Cup, Lundqvist still was the Rangers best performer all season.