I know, he hasn't retired yet and he hasn't won a Cup, but he's still pretty much unanimous as a future HHOF member, regardless, on this forum. I think he's worthy of discussion today, since the quality of many threads aren't that high. This thread will be of better quality than most. Above average.
So, he was drafted in the 7th round and was supposed to be the backup of Kevin Weekes in 05/06. Weekes was injured in November and Lundqvist was now the Rangers #1 goalie - and #1 player for over 1½ decade. Constant MVP trophies, especially since he was so above anyone else on the team that they were merely worth mentioning. Even in their playoff runs. The question was never difficult, ever.
That isn't his most impressive part. The impressive part is he carried so many dysfunctional teams to achievements they wouldn't have been even close to, if he wasn't there. He prolonged a NYR rebuild that should've happened around the time when he arrived. Lundqvist changed the entire NYR strategy for very long, it didn't happen until over 10 years later. And they even had a cup final because of it. So close.
Let's talk his regular seasons. On HF, it was always Lundqvist, goalie x, goalie y and maybe goalie z for a long, long time. Flash in the pans, declining superstars or whatnot. The only remaining constant was Lundqvist. Pascal Leclaire, Luongo, Nabokov, Kipprusoff, Brodeur, Mason, Miller, Ward, or whoever, or Lundqvist that specific? Well. Guess who was always in the discussion? Lundqvist.
Guess why Lundqvist is considered as a HHOF member without a Cup? Because he was - and still to a greater extent is - incredibly consistent. He's extremely competitive and keeps it very serious, while he's smart enough to figure out HOW to keep it serious, every minute of every game, more than anybody. He doesn't weigh much and isn't that big, he has his muscles, sinews and mind.
Guess when he lost his mojo? When Vigneault ran a defensively suicidal system without barely any players - especially at defense - to suit his play. It was a total disaster. Then the official rebuild and the fire-sale happened. It's pretty tough to be a competitive star goalie on a team that openly doesn't want to win. He has been quoted to express that time was the toughest he had ever faced in the NHL. So he played like crap during the second half when the franchise mailed it in. Not weird to see.
But here comes the impressive part. Watch ANY advanced stats historically on goalies and you see Lundqvist everywhere. When they first started measuring quality chances and the goalie who stopped the most breakdowns, guess who was always up there to save the day? Well...
Statistically measuring the number of saves that statistically should've been goals, Lundqvist is up on Mount Everest, while any goalie - ANY goalie - is down at half the mountain he has built. It doesn't matter if it's the eye test or the statistical reading, Lundqvist's career has been damn, damn impressive.
He hasn't been a workhorse goalie, he has been a terminator goalie. Don't even get me started on his performances in the playoffs compared to his teammates, coaches and organization.
According to me, he is a modern day legend. He did what Hasek tried to do, but Hasek was smart enough to not stay in Buffalo, while having the consistency of Brodeur. So yeah, he's worthy of being in the HHOF. No, I don't say his peaks were as dominant as Hasek, but I compare their situations as the only true superstar on the team, to try to single handedly win the Cup. That's why I say he's a hybrid between Hasek (brilliance) and Brodeur (consistency).
Henrik Lundqvist: The epitome of elite consistency among goalies.