Henrik Lundqvist signs 1-year deal with Capitals
The king comes to Washington: Lundqvist signs a contract with Caps that originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
It was the worst kept secret in hockey. Long-time New York Rangers goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist has signed a one-year deal with the Capitals for $ 1.5 million.
"Henrik is one of the greatest goalkeepers in NHL history and we are delighted to welcome him into our organization," said general manager Brian MacLellan. "Henrik has the competitive pressure and the ability to help our team fight for a championship. We believe he is a great fit for our team and leads our organization and our young goalkeepers."
Lundqvist and the capital cities had been linked almost immediately after the Rangers bought Lundqvist, as both sides saw a perfect fit in the other.
For the caps they gain an experienced goalkeeper who can look after and support the young Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov is likely to take over the cloak as the starter of Braden Holtby's team in the 2020-21 season.
In the Caps, Lundqvist can continue his quest for a Stanley Cup, which is pretty much the only accolade he has missed in an illustrious career spanning 15 years and 887 games, all with New York. He has won a Vezina for best netminder in the league, a world championship and an Olympic gold medal, but no Stanley Cup.
With a cap hit of just $ 1.5 million, Lundqvist really fits the Capitals perfectly. Washington needed a cheap substitute goalkeeper who could not only be a mentor but also play a significant number of games just in case the workload turned out to be too much for Samsonov.
Samsonov has only played 26 NHL games in his career. Most of the games he has played in a single season are only 37 that he played with the Hershey Bears in the AHL in 2018/19. So it would be quite a leap to expect him to make 60 or more starts. Lundqvist will certainly be in demand next season, considering what is likely to be a very compressed schedule.
The signing marks the end of Braden Holtby's time in Washington. Holtby also received a Vezina and helped the team to their only Stanley Cup in 2018. He's spent his entire NHL career with the Caps, but the appearance of Samsonov and the team's need to clear room for salary caps led to Holtby's inevitable departure.
"We would like to thank Braden Holtby for his many contributions to the Washington Capitals," said MacLellan. "Braden has built a legacy on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and our community." Winning the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the Jennings Trophy in 2017 and helping the team win the Stanley Cup with their standout game in 2018 cement his position as one of the best goalkeepers of his time. He set a good example on the ice and had a consistently positive impact on several key initiatives. We wish him and his family all the best for the future. "
Holtby's cap hit was $ 6.1 million, which means Washington will save $ 4.6 million in cap between its two goalkeepers over the next season.
Lundqvist essentially checks all the boxes for what the caps in a netminder need, and enables MacLellan to avoid the free-agent frenzy of a very busy goalkeeping market.
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