I’m sure I told you my boss is a pretty serious Rangers fan. So he was one of the happiest guys on the planet Monday and, still, Tuesday.
In speaking to his smiling self, he made a point that I couldn’t argue.
He told me, and asked if I agree, that Henrik Lundqvist is now the best goalie in hockey.
You know what? He is.
He’s probably the best on breakaways. His glove has improved a lot this year. He plays behind a team that defends well and blocks a ton of shots, but one that is outshot often and, despite the Rangers’ success, he has had to steal a bunch of points—including the Winter Classic.
You want to tell me Tim Thomas? Well, he’s been great for a while now, and was superhuman last year. But I still don’t buy it. Brian Elliott is having an amazing season in St. Louis. So are Jimmy Howard in Detroit and Jonathan Quick in L.A.
But I wouldn’t trade Lundqvist for any of those … and probably wouldn’t trade Lundqvist for one of those guys AND a first-round pick. Remember, the great goalies hit their primes later, and those primes last longer, than forwards and defensemen.
Lundqvist is third in goals-against average (1.92), fourth in save percentage (.937), fifth in wins (17), fifth in shutouts (3). In the first two categories, one of those ahead of him is Tuukka Rask, who has only played 13 games. In the second two categories, the guys ahead of him have played more games.
If the season ended today, or soon, he’d win the Vezina Trophy.
Here are some other things about Lundqvist.
There isn’t a more competitive guy in the NHL at any position.
He’s a leader; could easily be the Rangers’ captain if goalies held such positions.
He’s a great person, unbelievably smart, thoughtful and articulate. There’s not a better interview in the league, nor a more willing interview.
He gets it. He just gets it. All the stuff about where his team is, where it’s headed, how it plays, how it needs to play, how it and he need to prepare. Everything.
Plus he’s a great dresser.
And my mom’s got a serious crush on him.
AP photo, above.