After an illustrious 15-year reign with the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist is signing a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals.
The final year of Lundqvist’s seven-year deal was bought out by the Rangers on Sept. 30 after it was reported that both sides agreed to a mutual separation.
Lundqvist made it clear that he still wants to play and it was obvious that he would seek to go to a contender while staying close to his family in New York. The Capitals were clearly the best option for him.
His connection with Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Bäckström, and former teammate Carl Hagelin along with Washington’s deep interest in him made the decision easier.
Washington’s goalie of the future is 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov, but the organization was hoping to add a strong veteran presence to back him up with Braden Holtby’s departure.
Lundqvist is still well above average and will help Washington’s goaltending become one of the better units in the league.
He’ll receive much more playing time than he would have had he decided to play out his contract in New York as the backup to Igor Shesterkin.
The fact that he’s one of the greatest goaltenders in playoff history helps his case, too, since Washington will almost certainly be a playoff team next season.
Samsonov has no experience in the postseason and the Capitals may lean in favor of the veteran Lundqvist, especially if he impresses during the regular season.
In 15 seasons, Lundqvist has a career 2.43 GAA and .918 SV%. In 130 playoff games, those numbers are 2.30 and .921, respectively.