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Rangers got Lundqvist because Maloney ‘happened to glance’ at scout’s book

Jun 3, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist Getty Images

For nearly a decade now, the New York Rangers’ greatest strength has been goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. He’s played a big role in the team making the playoffs in eight of their last nine seasons and is the single biggest reason the Rangers have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

But it was never a mortal lock that the Rangers would get Lundqvist. He wasn’t highly regarded going into the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. When the Swedish goaltender made the trip to Calgary for the draft, the thinking was that he might get taken in the fourth or fifth round.

“When it got to the sixth round, I thought maybe coming to Calgary hadn’t been such a great idea,” Lundqvist told the New York Post.

“I mean, all my buddies had been taken and were kind of looking at me. We were all sitting in the same row. Nobody knew exactly how to act or what to say. It was kind of like, ‘Come on, Hank.’ It was not a great feeling.”

He was then told by someone in Dallas that they were going to take him in the sixth round. His twin brother, Joel Lundqvist, had already been selected by the Stars in the third round, so it made some sense. He was excited when the Stars turn came up, but they took forward Ladislav Vlcek instead.

Of course, the Rangers ended up taking him in the seventh round with the 205th pick overall, but it’s not like it was all part of some grand strategy. Rangers scout Crister Rockstrom thought highly of Henrik Lundqvist, but director of scouting Martin Madden didn’t.

That might have been the end of it, except between the sixth and seventh rounds Don Maloney, who was the Rangers’ assistant GM and in charge of the draft, “happened to glance over at (Rockstrom’s) book that had all of his rankings of the eligible players going into the draft.”

Maloney noticed that Rockstrom had listed Lundqvist as his top European goaltender, but the scout hadn’t been pushing Maloney to select him because Madden had already shot him down.

“I didn’t know Henrik Lundqvist from Joe Smith,” Maloney said, but he respected Rockstrom’s opinion and decided to draft Lundqvist anyways.

And the course of the Rangers changed as a result.

  1. barkar942 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Sincere thanks to Crister Rockstrom.
    Sincerely,
    All Ranger fans!

  2. patthehockeyfan - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    And the rest, as they say, is history.

    The photo’s caption: What would the team be like now if he didn’t? No way to speculate; however, I suspect we wouldn’t be talking about the NYR in the SC Finals today.

    Strange story. Strange and interesting. How many teams are kicking themselves all these years later for not having chosen Henrik?

    Kings’ fan here; but, Lundqvist is a premier, elite goalie. One of the best, and a joy to watch play. Can’t wait to see the Quick – Lundqvist match-up.

    GKG!!!

    • 7mantel - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      Hey pat ,a LA fan the Charm City ?

      • 7mantel - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        *In

      • patthehockeyfan - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:19 PM

        You bet, 7mantel! Went to Chicago for games 5 & 7. Talk about a charming city!

        GKG!!!

        P.S. Still have those crabcakes on the brain. :)

      • 7mantel - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        My youngest said the same thing about Chicago when she went to the NYY /Cubs series a few years back .We’l be down in Balt. this July and will defiantly going to Barracudas ! Those cakes are calling me ! This should be a good series , sorry but the NYR’s will be SC CHAMPS ! :)

      • patthehockeyfan - Jun 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Ah! July in Baltimore. The three H’s. Hazy, Hot, Humid. Bring extra antiperspirant.

        I don’t do predictions. Of course, my hope is that the Kings win it in four straight. If not, and if they can do it in 6, that would be good, too. A friend in NY is working on getting me a ticket to that game.

        Should be a great series. My hope #1 is that the Kings win. Hope #1A is that the players all stay safe.

        Enjoy the crabcakes!

  3. hrudey - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Nice story and it worked out well, obviously. Certainly a much better tale than “We got Crosby, Malkin, Fleury because we happened to suck for a long time.”

  4. stepanup - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Great leadership from Maloney. You have to be able to trust the people you have in place. Kind of boss that people can enjoy working for.

  5. djshnooks - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Happens every year…both Miller and Hasek were drafted past the 5th round.

    Hindsight is always 20/20.

    Every single team has a story like this.

    • moarjam - Jun 3, 2014 at 3:25 PM

      uhhh every team’s franchise player was taken in the 7th round?

      interesting!

    • stakex - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:54 PM

      Hasek was a different case, as teams back than didn’t like drafting players from Soviet territory. Often times those players didn’t want to play in the NHL, or wouldn’t be allowed to by their country. As it were, Hasek didn’t come to North America until almost 8 years after he was drafted.

  6. bcisleman - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Should add that Sather obviously had NOTHING to do w/ getting HL. If you want to know what Sather thought of HL as a prospect, look at his subsequent picks. He used two top ten picks on goalies. Absent that pick, NYR 7 year dnq streak likely would’ve continued despite all Sather’s costly signings and trades.

    • bcisleman - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:21 AM

      Put it another way. If it had been left solely to Glen Sather, Al Montoya would be the NYR franchise goalie!!!

  7. j22j - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:15 AM

    I have to wonder….where is the Martin Madden now?

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