The King dethroned: Rangers buy out star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's contract

The Rangers parted with one of the greatest netminders in franchise history on Wednesday when they paid off the final year of Henrik Lundqvist's contract.

38-year-old franchise icon had 1 year remaining on deal

Henrik Lundqvist (30) is pictured in 2018 celebrating one of his 459 wins in a Rangers uniform. (Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers have bought out the contract of star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

The Rangers parted with one of the greatest netminders in franchise history on Wednesday when they paid off the final year of his contract.

Since joining the team in 2005-06, Lundqvist has won the Vezina Trophy (2011-12), led the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals (2014), and been selected to the all-star game five times. He also helped Sweden win gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics.

The 38-year-old Lundqvist played in 887 games, posting a 459-310-96 record with a 2.43 goals against average. The man referred to as "The King" was limited to 30 games in this past season and had a 10-12-3 record with a career-worst 3.16 goals-against average.

Lundqvist's time with the Rangers was shortened by the play of goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, who are in their mid-20s.

New York also is clearing salary cap space. The team traded veteran defenceman Marc Staal and a second-round draft choice to Detroit in the last week.

"Few players have been as important to the Rangers franchise as Henrik Lundqvist, and we are incredibly grateful for all he has done for our organization," said James L. Dolan, executive chairman, MSG Sports. "Over his 15-year tenure, he not only established himself as one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game, he has also been one of hockey's fiercest competitors and most effective ambassadors. He will always be a part of the Rangers family."

Lundqvist was a fan favourite at Madison Square Garden and the chants of "Hen-rik" reverberated in the arena after one of his countless spectacular saves.

"We would like to thank Henrik for his immeasurable contributions to the New York Rangers," Rangers president John Davidson said. "From the time I met Henrik when he first came to New York in 2005, he has been the consummate professional. His tireless work ethic, passion for the game, and love of the Rangers and New York City enabled him to become one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey and one of the best players in the history of our franchise. We all wish Henrik and his family the best going forward."

WATCH | Lundqvist makes ridiculous stick save:

See it to believe it: King Henrik's heist

4 years ago
Duration 0:17
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made a remarkable return to the highlight reel, robbing Chris Wagner with his stick on Wednesday night.

Lundqvist owns almost every record for goalies in Rangers history, including victories, shutouts (64), playoff wins and games played. He also has excelled under pressure. Lundqvist set an NHL record by winning six consecutive Game 7s, a streak that was broken by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Eastern Conference final. He set an Olympic record for longest shutout streak (172:34) between the 2006 and 2010 Games.

Lundqvist, who plays guitar and has been known to play charity events with tennis legend John McEnroe, was a finalist for the NHL Player Foundation Award in 2014-15 for his work with the Garden of Dreams Foundation in New York. His Henrik Lundqvist Foundation strives to create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services.

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