Henrik Lundqvist's future with the Rangers was up in the air as the NHL trade deadline approached on Monday, but that wasn't on his mind in the slightest.
Instead, the news of the car accident involving fellow goalie Igor Shesterkin and C Pavel Buchnevich was the main topic of concern for the Rangers at practice. Luckily, no one was severely injured, but team president John Davidson told reporters earlier that Shesterkin suffered a non-displaced rib fracture, while Buchnevich was considered day-to-day after being "quite shaken up."
"It's been a weird day today," Lundqvist said. "The energy, obviously, for different reasons but first concern is obviously how they feel and everything is under control. Yeah, it's scary always when you hear something like that."
With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror now, Lundqvist can focus on trying to make an impact for the Rangers in his new role as a backup. This isn't how he wanted to get more playing time, but with Shesterkin out indefinitely right now with his injury, the 37-year-old should be seeing more time on the ice.
And that still includes backing up Alexandar Georgiev. Lundqvist called it a "unique situation," but he isn't letting that hurt his work.
Hank still out there making saves at practice today pic.twitter.com/4cQgvHE204- Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) February 24, 2020
"For me personally -- moving forward here at practice, playing -- my obligation, my job is to come here and give it my all," he explained. "That's what I've been trying to do over the last few weeks and just be ready when I get an opportunity to play. And if I'm not playing, trying to be as supportive as possible to the guys that are playing. I think that's what you should do.
"My situation after the season will obviously have things to talk about your role and if you fit in this role. Right now, my focus is to work hard and be ready."
Lundqvist still has one year remaining on his massive seven-year, $59.5 million deal he signed back in 2014. But, with Shesterkin's stellar play before the injury and Georgiev in place, the Rangers may want to move on from the goalie that has been within their organization for the past 15 seasons.
And Lundqvist understands that fact. He knows a conversation is coming after the season on his Rangers future, and he'll be willing to talk about it when the time comes.
"I've been very open with management over the two years I've been, you know, through this process that if there comes a day they feel I'm not a good solution or 'let's talk about it,' let's be open about it, he said. "I know we're going to sit down after the season."
Until that day, Lundqvist will continue to work. He said he won't be starting for the Rangers on Tuesday when they face the Islanders, but with four games in the next six days, his playing time will come.
Lundqvist's last start came on Feb. 3 against the Stars, where he was pulled after two periods following four goals against.