The 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame induction is Monday. This class includes Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon, Caroline Ouellette. Ken Hitchcock and Pierre Lacroix. Here senior writer Dan Rosen profiles Lundqvist.

NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist remembers watching the Swedish national team in the 1980s. Peter Lindmark, nicknamed "Pekka," was Sweden's top goalie, competing in the IIHF World Championship, Canada Cup and Olympics. Lundqvist was enamored.

"It was something about the role," Lundqvist told "I was a soccer goalie too. I just loved it. I loved the equipment. I played a few games as a forward, but pretty much from the first opportunity I had when they asked if anybody wanted to be a goalie, I was a goalie."

He became one of the greatest, a legend for Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League, the Swedish national team and the New York Rangers, who helped Lundqvist become royalty at Madison Square Garden.

Lundqvist will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2023 with Mike Vernon, Tom Barrasso, Pierre Turgeon, Caroline Ouelette, Ken Hitchcock and Pierre Lacroix (posthumously) on Monday.

"When I played, I wanted to try to be the best and to be inducted, I feel like you're part of a very special group and you accomplished something special over a long time," Lundqvist said. "That feels good because you put in so much of your soul."

NHL celebrates 2023 HHOF Inductee Henrik Lundqvist

From Frolunda superfan to superstar

Henrik and Joel were 5 years old when their father, Peter, took them to their first Frolunda game. It was their first live hockey game of any kind. Gothenburg, where Frolunda plays, is close to 550 miles from Are, their hometown.

"It was a big trip," Lundqvist said. "It was a lot to take in, but that was when we knew hockey was what we wanted to do."

It's when they knew Frolunda would be their favorite team.

"Super fans," Lundqvist said. "Then when we got an opportunity at 16 to move there and play for Frolunda, that was a big moment."

Lundqvist developed into Sweden's top goalie by the time he was 22, leading Frolunda to the Swedish league championship, breaking records and being named the top goalie and the league's most valuable player along the way.

He was selected by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Draft (pick No. 205), but it wasn't until five years later that the NHL became less of a dream and more of a reality.

"When I was 20, 21 and I started to feel like I'm taking these next steps every year, but I was so focused on playing in Sweden, winning championships there, playing for my country that I didn't get ahead of myself," he said.

It meant that much to him to play for Frolunda.

"It was a big deal," he said. "That was a dream of mine. I didn't want to rush it.

"When I reached that point to be No. 1 in Sweden, that was when I knew now the next step should be the NHL."

Becoming "The King" of New York

Lundqvist rushed to fame in New York and a royal nickname to boot with how he played as a rookie for the Rangers in 2005-06.

He played in 53 games and went 30-12-9 with a 2.24 goals-against average, .922 save percentage and two shutouts. The Rangers made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nine years.

Fans started calling him "The King" and "King Henrik," a play on his royal Scandinavian name.

"I was laughing it off for a few weeks, months, because I didn't think it would stick," Lundqvist said. "But the way you embrace coming here [to New York], so many new opportunities, a new life, I tried to have fun with it. I mean, I'm pretty sure if my name wasn't Henrik it would be a different nickname, but it is an old royal name. Obviously, you can never live up to a nickname like that. But I didn't pick it and don't take it too seriously. But you've got to have fun with it."

He teamed with Bauer to create logos with crowns and his No. 30 on his masks and pads and hats and shirts. Lundqvist lived up to his end by playing like royalty in net and becoming a star who thrived under the bright lights of New York City on the big stage at the Garden.

He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie in his rookie season. He would become a finalist in the next two seasons, and finished in the top six in the voting in each of his first 10 seasons.

Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12, when he was also third in the Hart Trophy voting as League MVP.

He broke Dominik Hasek's record for most wins by a European-born goalie when he won his 390th game on Dec. 31, 2016. Lundqvist won his 400th game on Feb. 11, 2017.

He is sixth all-time in wins with 459 and ninth in games played at 887. He finished with a 2.43 GAA, .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts. He holds the NHL record for most consecutive Game 7 wins with six.

Lundqvist owns almost every important goaltending record in Rangers' history, including games played, wins, shutouts, playoff games played (130), playoff wins (61) and playoff shutouts (10).

He also won the Olympic gold medal with Sweden in 2006 and took home silver in 2014. He won gold at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

"Probably the most important part of my game was the intensity and focus because I was not the biggest guy or the quickest guy," Lundqvist said. "It was the focus that helped me execute my plan how I wanted to play. I constantly thought about how I need to play to have success."

Henrik Lundqvist selected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Dealing with Lundqvist's intensity and focus

Lundqvist said he knows he could be a difficult teammate on gameday.

"Especially now when I'm done playing, it comes up often how I used to act," Lundqvist said. "I was so intense. I was not always the easiest guy to be around going into a game because I was so focused on the game."

His teammates learned his ways. They appreciated why he was the way he was.

"So competitive," said Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who played 484 games with Lundqvist from 2010-18. "His competitive spirit would come out in the room at times when we were losing or on a losing streak. That was just the nature of him. He wanted to win so bad and he worked so hard at his craft that he expected a lot of his teammates, which was fine."

Lundqvist said there were times in practices throughout the seasons that goalie coach Benoit Allaire had to tell him to calm down or ask him if he was having a bad day.

"I think that brought out the competition side of me even more in practice," Rangers center Mika Zibanejad said. "Going down to try to score on him it was a challenge every time and he made sure it was a challenge. It was chirping back and forth. If I scored, I let him know. If it was a save and a good save, he'd let me know. He was that way with a lot of guys and in a sense of setting the standard."

Lundqvist was known to yell at New York's defensemen if he thought they made a mistake.

"Sometimes he'd come back to the bench yelling and screaming and I'd have to tell him to go back into the net and shut up," said Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Marc Staal, who played 767 games with Lundqvist from 2007-20. "He got so revved up and he was so into the game. It was part of the relationship. It was never anything that was bad. It was part of who he was as a goalie."

Lundqvist isn't the same way away from the rink, especially since retiring. But he misses having the need to be that intense and focused on anything.

"People ask what do you miss about playing and that's one of them, the pressure, the expectations and the intensity," Lundqvist said. "You do a lot of different things now where you're like, 'This is nice, it has a little edge to it, a little adrenaline, but there's not the same pressure."

On his heart's terms

Lundqvist was hoping to keep playing after the Rangers bought out the final year of his contract following the 2019-20 season. He signed with the Washington Capitals for one year. He never played for them.

A heart ailment that led to open-heart surgery and subsequent chest pain as he was working to come back prevented Lundqvist from ever suiting up in the NHL again. His last game was Aug. 3, 2020. He announced his retirement through his social media channels on Aug. 20, 2021.

"I was at peace with that the day it happened," Lundqvist said. "I was in a very good place and very grateful for what I did experience. And, to me, in a way it felt like it was not meant to be to play more elsewhere. This was my story and it was time to move on."

Lundqvist never won the Stanley Cup. He lost in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, and in the Eastern Conference Final in 2012 and 2015.

"Missed opportunities," Lundqvist said.

Not enough to change how he feels about his career.

"What feels good is there's no regrets," Lundqvist said. "I committed as hard as I could with the time I had. Are there things I could have done differently? You could always stop more pucks. But I feel really good about the path I took."

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