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Rangers Sign Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a Professional Contract

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Seventh Choice from the 2000 NHL Entry Draft Agrees to Terms

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms on a professional contract with the club's seventh selection in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

"Henrik was the dominant goaltender in Europe last year competing against many of the NHL's best players," stated Sather. "He has risen to a championship caliber player on both the Swedish professional and international level. We are excited for his transition to North American hockey and look forward to him bolstering our strong group of goaltending prospects."

Lundqvist, 23, appeared in 44 games with Frolunda Indians of the Swedish Elite League last season, posting a 33-8-3 record, along with a 1.79 goals against average and a .936 save percentage. He ranked among the Swedish Elite league goaltending leaders in several categories, including: wins (33, first), goal against average (1.79, first), save percentage (.936, first), shutouts (6, first) and minutes played (2641:51, second). In his standout season, he allowed one goal or less in 19 of his victories and all but three of his 33 victories came while allowing two goals or less. Lundqvist recorded an unbeaten streak of 15 games between December 28 and March 1, going 13-0-2 over the span with a .939 save percentage, a 1.80 goals against average and two shutouts. During that stretch, he also posted a shutout streak of 172:71 from January 30 through February 3. In March, he was named the Player of the Month when he allowed just 11 goals in nine games during the month, while stopping 240 shots in recording 3 shutouts.

In the 2004-05 post-season, Lundqvist continued his high level of play, posting a record of 12-2 with a 1.05 goals against average, a .962 save percentage and six shutouts. His stellar efforts led Frolunda to the Swedish Elite League Championship after eliminating Farjestads in the Finals, 4-1. Lundqvist closed out the series with a 25-save shutout performance in Frolunda's Game Five, series-clinching 1-0 OT victory. In each of Frolunda's four victories in the series, he surrendered just one tally.

Throughout the course of last season, Lundqvist was tabbed with several top rankings within the hockey world. In December, The Hockey News rated him the sixth European prospect and the lone goaltender in their European top 10 list. Also in December, Lundqvist joined fellow Rangers prospect Al Montoya on McKeen's list of top goaltending prospects, where he was ranked seventh amongst that group.

The 6-1, 187-pounder appeared in 144 career contests with Frolunda, posting a 2.02 goals against average. In post-season play, he appeared in 44 career contests, posting a 1.75 goals against average. Lundqvist captured his first Swedish Elite League championship with Frolunda in 2002-03, posting a 2.11 goals against average in 12 post-season contests en route to the title. While playing for Frolunda's junior team in 2001-02, he was named the League's Junior of the Year.

Lundqvist has represented Sweden in several international tournaments. As a member of Team Sweden at the 2004 World Championships, he backstopped the club to a silver medal finish. In the tournament, he appeared in all eight contests, posting a 5-1-2 record, along with a 1.64 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. Following the tournament, he was named to the Media All-Star team, as well as one of Sweden's top three players for the Championships. Within the past season, he also represented his country at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2005 World Championships. In addition, Lundqvist participated in the 2001 and 2002 World Junior Championships and the 2003 World Championships.

The Are, Sweden native was the Rangers seventh selection, 205th overall, in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
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