Capitals sign Henrik Lundqvist for 2020-21 season

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Free agent goalie Henrik Lundqvist has a new home. For the first-time, he was a free agent after the New York Rangers elected to buyout his contract.

Lundqvist will now get to play the Rangers several times a year — if he gets that option. He signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals.

Former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist makes a save from Mattias Ekholm against the Nashville Predators
Henrik Lundqvist makes a save from Mattias Ekholm against the Nashville Predators (Getty Images)

The 38-year-old will reportedly make $1.5 million to join the Capitals.

“Henrik is one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, and we are pleased to have him join our organization,” Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian MacLellan said. “Henrik has the competitive drive and the ability to help our team compete for a championship. We feel he will be an excellent fit for our team and provide leadership to our organization and our young goaltenders.

“We want to thank Braden Holtby for his many contributions to the Washington Capitals. Braden has built a legacy both on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and on our community. Winning the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the Jennings Trophy in 2017 and helping the team win the Stanley Cup with his stellar play in 2018 cements his position as one of the best goalies of his era. Off the ice, he led by example and consistently made a positive impact across several important initiatives. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

Holtby signed a two-year, $8.6 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks.

The veteran is projected to be the backup to Ilya Samsonov, who got his feet wet with the Capitals during the 2019-20 season. The 23-year-old appeared in 26 games, going 16-6-2.

It would not be surprising if Lundqvist and Samsonov split duties in the net, as the NHL has gone to goalie tandems. Having two quality goalies can help a team when one goalie is in a slump.

The most games that Samsonov has played in his young career has been 37 when he played for the Hershey Bears in 2018-19. It’ll be unrealistic to ask Samsonov to play all 65 games.

In his career, Lundqvist appeared in 887 games with the Rangers. He went 459-310-96 record with a 2.43 Goals Against Average, and a .918 Save Percentage.

Lundqvist also had 64 shutouts in his illustrious career.

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