Top 5: Henrik Lundqvist Jerseys
Welp, the NHL is now officially a little less handsome. New York’s King, Henrik Lundqvist, recently announced his retirement after a Hall of Fame worthy 15-year career with the Rangers. Prior to the 2020-21 season Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals, but unfortunately was never able to take the ice for the Caps after being diagnosed with a heart condition that kept him on the sidelines all of last season.
Lundqvist battled through an open-heart surgery and attempted a comeback, but ultimately decided to hang up the pads and call it a career in August of 2021. That same day, the Rangers wasted no time at all in announcing that his #30 would hang from the rafters in Madison Square Garden.
King Henrik leaves a lasting goaltending legacy and exits the game as the face of New York hockey. He’s the all-time franchise leader in wins, shutouts, playoff wins, saves…and pretty much any other stat a netminder can accumulate. He also won the Vezina Trophy in 2012, an Olympic Gold Medal in 2006, was a 5-time NHL All-Star and racked up the most wins ever by a European-born goalie in NHL history. There isn’t a current hockey fan in the world (most likely) that doesn’t immediately think of Lundqvist when they see the red, white and blue sweaters of the New York Rangers. So which one of Henrik’s Rangers’ looks over the years was the best? Find out after the jump.
Lundqvist was a model of consistency over the years for New York, much like the Rangers jerseys…which have only seen slight updates and evolutions over the last several decades. But before we dive into all things New York, let’s take a detour to Sweden to kick things off…
Checking in at #5 on our list is the Gold Medal winning look of Team Sweden from the 2006 Olympics. There are a couple of reasons why this jersey kicks off our countdown:
1. Variety: In reality, there’s only so many different Rangers jerseys that Lundqvist sported during his career…and there was no way that the 2014 Stadium Series jersey was going to make this countdown.
2. It’s really good: Like, in a simplistic Swedish way. Team Sweden has rocked the blue and gold with the Tre Konor on the chest forever, and it works really well. It’s a clean and bold look that doesn’t need any extraneous detailing, basically a model of efficiency in the form of jersey design. Some say that the Swedes know a thing or two about minimalistic and efficient design…and it definitely shows here.
Next up is the Rangers third jersey from 2010-17. It’s a navy retro-inspired jersey that essentially kicks off a trio of well-executed fauxback designs. The countdown from here on out also really starts to mirror our previous Worst to First Jersey Rankings for the Rangers. Which, in a lot of ways, is a testament to the overall brand and consistent visual history of the Rangers. Lundqvist’s 15-year career of jerseys doesn’t stray very far at all from what the franchise has looked like for nearly 100 years. Wow.
Now back to this particular jersey…for this iteration the angled chest lettering switches to a condensed “New York” vs. the usual block serif “Rangers” across the chest. Royal blue is traded for a darker navy blue and white is switched out for a “vintagy” off-white. It’s a great rendition of what the Rangers could have looked like 50 or 60 years ago had they ever gone through evolutions of their primary look. Overall it does a good job of achieving a classic look.
Tell me you’re a vintage Rangers jersey without actually being a vintage Rangers jersey. That’s pretty much the story for the #3 jersey on our countdown. New York delivered another great look for the 2012 Winter Classic, an event that always presents a unique opportunity for the teams involved to fuel creative nostalgia via franchise history in terms of branding, jersey/logo design, etc.
For this jersey, the vintage off-white takes center stage as the base color of the jersey and is accented nicely by very Rangers-esque shoulder yokes and sleeve and tail striping. The iconic angled chest lettering is replaced by a vintage Rangers crest and the execution is done so well you’d think the Rangers had a long history of wearing a version of their primary logo front and center. Additionally, bonus points and a big tip of the cap to Lundqvist’s special set of Bauer pads that incorporated the vintage off-white color and darker blue and red tones. It really helped complete the overall retro look.
Is that a broken record playing? Another Winter Classic and another really great Rangers Winter Classic jersey. There’s so much to like with this look. It still carries the Rangers brand DNA; and does so with the juxtaposition of both a fresh/modern look that is also simultaneously steeped in retro vibes. The striping patterns are simple and bold and pair very well with the single-color numbering and condensed sans serif “Rangers” across the chest. There are no frills here at all, but man oh man do all of the individual elements within this design work so well together.
Someone may have previously argued that the small NY crest logo on the upper left chest was an unnecessary addition. In this case, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as it’s a welcome addition in this countdown. It counterbalances the Winter Classic shoulder patch and it’s executed in a bold, simple way that compliments the other elements of the jersey. Additionally, smaller details throughout like chain stitching and the usage of felt add unique touches to complete the overall aesthetic. This is a case study in how placement, scale, contrast and balance come together in jersey harmony.
Iconic. Fit for a King. Enough said. The Rangers home and away jerseys have remained largely unchanged for nearly a century. I know, I know…there was that two season blip in the late 70’s and yes, they’ve had some minor tweaks over the decades via striping details or template tailoring adjustments, but in terms of an overall look these have really stood the test of time.
There’s a good reason why: they are simply great and they’re unique to New York. In addition to the block drop shadow on the letters and numbers, the Rangers absolutely own the look of horizontal lettering across the chest. Have you ever seen another team try to achieve that look and not immediately think, “oh, they’re trying to mimic the Rangers.” Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
For Lundqvist, sporting these two jerseys for his entire career was basically the equivalent of Don Draper alternating between a grey or navy suit. Impeccable style.