The last two months of the season must have been exactly what Henrik Lundqvist envisioned at the 2018 post-Letter deadline purge when he chose to remain with the Rangers after he was given the chance to opt out of an embryonic rebuild program and pursue his Stanley Cup dream somewhere else.
Because here were the Blueshirts, powered to a great extent by kids and big-money free agent and trade acquisitions, storming into the playoff race by going 16-6 under just the type of accelerated rebuild program that the King foresaw two years earlier when he pledged his heart to New York.
Which made it even more cruel that Lundqvist was more apart from it than a part of it. As much The Franchise as Tom Seaver ever was in Queens, the goaltender essentially was airbrushed out of the team picture and watched as the pair of 24-year-olds, Igor Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev, took his job and ran with it.
When the NHL season came to a sudden halt following the March 11 match in Colorado, Lundqvist had started one of the Rangers’ last 19 games, and he got that one because Shesterkin was injured and Georgiev needed a break.