Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, part of the class of 2023 to be announced Wednesday afternoon.
Lundqvist backed Sweden to an Olympic gold medal in 2006 and led the New York Rangers to the playoffs in 11 of 12 years. That included a trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2014 and two appearances in the Eastern Conference final.
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A seventh-round pick in the 2000 draft, Lundqvist ranks fifth on the NHL’s career wins list with 459. He won 61 more in the playoffs before halting his hockey career in 2020 due to a heart condition.
His compatriot Henrik Zetterberg, Canadian women’s hockey stars Jennifer Botterill and Caroline Ouellette and veteran executive David Poile are among the other top candidates being considered by the board chaired by Hall of Famer Mike Gartner, who was inducted into 2001.
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The long wait could also be over for Russian winger Alexander Mogilny and goalkeeper Curtis Joseph, who won just five fewer games than Lundqvist. Moginly, who won the Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 2000 and Olympic gold with the Soviet Union in 1988, has been eligible since 2009 and Joseph since 2012.
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If Lundqvist and Zetterberg go in together, it will be a second straight Swede-focused Hall celebration. Twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin and veteran Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson were inducted last year.
The ceremony is on November 13 in Toronto.