Henrik Lundqvist is joining MSG Network as a studio analyst for select New York Rangers games this season because the recently retired goalie wants to stay connected to the game and his former team.
Lundqvist will debut as part of the network’s pregame show prior to the Rangers home opener against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, BSSW, ESPN+, NHL LIVE).
“When I was playing, I was always interested in media,” Lundqvist said. “I’ve done a lot of different projects throughout my career, mostly overseas, but some stuff here in New York. I guess it’s a little bit of my creative side. I enjoy that part. You have to be on your toes as well. I look forward to that.”
Lundqvist said he will focus his analysis on the mental aspect of the game.
“When it comes to analyzing and talking about the performance of players, I think there are definitely people in media that are very good at describing what is happening and being very technical,” Lundqvist said. “For me it’ll be more talking about mindset, emotions and stuff that you might think in certain situations more than anything because I lived it and it’s been such a big part of my career.
“It’s definitely something I want to talk about and have fans understand what a big part of the game that really is, what you think and what you feel in certain situations. I’m a rookie here, so we’ll try to figure out as we go, and we’ll see how tough I’ll be when I sit there. I’m just going to be honest with what I feel.”
Lundqvist announced his retirement from the NHL on Aug. 20. He ranks sixth on the NHL wins list (459) and won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL in 2011-12.
His decision came after a long effort to try to come back and play after having open-heart surgery in January. A heart ailment prevented Lundqvist from playing for the Washington Capitals last season. He signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with them Oct. 9, 2020, after playing all 15 of his NHL seasons with New York.
Lundqvist had become an unrestricted free agent when the Rangers bought out the final season of his seven-year contract Sept. 30, 2020.
“We are thrilled to welcome Henrik Lundqvist, one of the most iconic and beloved figures in Rangers history, to the MSG Network family and add his engaging presence to our Rangers studio team,” MSG Network president/CEO Andrea Greenberg said. “After an exceptional and dominant playing career on the ice, Henrik will undoubtedly continue to bring that same level of excellence to our Rangers broadcasts as an analyst this season.”
He will join Steve Valiquette, a former teammate and current Rangers analyst, and host John Giannone in studio for pregame, intermission and postgame coverage. Hall of Fame play-by-play announcer Sam Rosen, analyst Joe Micheletti and in-game host and reporter Michelle Gingras are also part of the MSG Network telecast team.
“I was joking with my wife that I might go back to my pregame naps, pregame pasta,” Lundqvist said. “But no, it’ll be fun. It’ll be a team, a new team. Most of the people at the network I know because I’ve seen them over the years. Overall, it’s just great to be around people that all love the Rangers, and they all want to do a good job and put a good show on.”
Lundqvist, who was named to five NHL All-Star teams, will have his No. 30 retired by the Rangers when they host the Minnesota Wild on Jan. 28, 2022. He finished his NHL career 459-310-96 with a 2.43 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts in 887 games, and 61-67 with a 2.30 GAA, .921 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 130 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Lundqvist is the Rangers leader in wins, shutouts, games played, starts (871), saves (23,509), time on ice (51,816:51) and goalie points (27, all assists), and their postseason leader in wins, shutouts, games played, starts (130), saves (3,567) and time on ice (7,935:25).
“You have to prepare, you’re performing in a way,” Lundqvist said. “You have to get your thoughts out there the way you want to. There’s definitely some pressure involved. I can’t compare it to playing the game, but I still love the game and enjoy watching the game. That’s why I feel it’s a really good fit, for those reasons.”