Lundqvist Signs with Washington Capitals


By — Joey Hudson

On October 9, 2020, the NHL Washington Capitals announced that Braden Holtby, one of the goaltenders for the team since 2009 and the starting goaltender for the Capitals 2012-2013 season, would no longer be a part of the team. Holtby would be signed over as a free agent to the Vancouver Canucks shortly after the announcement. The same day, the franchise also announced the replacement for Holtby with the one year contract signing of 38-year-old Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist, also known to many as “The King”, was a goalie for the New York Rangers prior to becoming a part of the Capitals for 15 years, wearing the number 30 with the franchise. Throughout his career in the NHL, Lundovist played a total of 887 games, winning a total of 459 games and losing 310 games as well as 96 overtime losses. Everything was looking up for the Capitals franchise after the 2019-2020 season where the team was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Islanders.

However, on December 17, 2020, the Capitals and Lundqvist would post the shocking and sudden news that Lundqvist will not be playing for the Capitals during the 2020-2021 season. The Capitals goalie said, “After many weeks of tests and conversations with specialists around the country, it’s been determined that a heart condition will prevent me from taking the ice. Together, we have determined that the risk of playing before remedying my conditions is too high, so I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.” Lundqvist continues in his announcement to thank the Capitals organization for allowing him the opportunity and the support he received from the franchise during his testing. 

The news came as a shock to many NHL fans across all franchises. Lundqvist seemed completely healthy throughout the past few months and would continue to show up for practice with the other players. The Capitals franchise posted a response to Lundqvist’s announcement and showing their full support for Lundovist and his family.

Lundovist’s former team, the New York Rangers, also showed their support for Lundqvist, saying, “We have no doubt that Henrik Lundqvist will face this challenge with the same fierce determination and grace that made him one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game of hockey.” The Rangers franchise also sent their thoughts and support to Lundqvist’s family in their response as well. As of now, the information is still vague on whether Lundqvist will continue his career in the 2021-2022 season or if Lundqvist will retire as a result of his heart condition. It’s also still unknown if a new goalie will be signed in order to fill in for Lundqvist this season or if the Capitals are only going to have Ilya Samsonov, who was drafted 22nd overall in 2015 and signed by the franchise in 2018, be their only goalie this season.

Sportsnet put together a list of potential goalies that the Capitals organization may sign in order to fill in Lundqvist. However, there are only a few free agents left to choose from. One potential signing would be Craig Anderson, 39, who played for the Ottawa Senators last season and had a .902 save percentage and 3.25 GAA last season. Another signing could be Ryan Miller, 40, who previously played for the Anaheim Ducks and had a save percentage of .907 and G.100 GAA. Other two signings could be Cory Schneider and Jimmy Howard, however both are unlikely to be chosen.  

While Lundqvist won’t be able to play this season, hopefully the NHL will get the pleasure to see the veteran goalie on the ice during the 2021-2022 season before his retirement from hockey.