In a story that veteran beat writer Rick Carpiniello broke via Twitter by translating a Swedish article, it looks like Henrik Lundqvist will indeed land in Washington.
The all-time Rangers leader in wins (459), games (887), shutouts (64) and saves (23,509) and minutes played (51,818), is expected to sign with the Capitals on Friday. That’s the first day of free agency. On October 8. Strange times indeed in a crazy year.
The Caps were one of the front runners to land Lundqvist. Especially with the departure of former Stanley Cup and Vezina winner Braden Holtby. Washington needs a veteran goalie to share duty with Ilya Samsonov. A young Russian who had a good rookie season in DC. He went 16-6-2 in 22 starts with a 2.55 GAA, .913 save percentage and a shutout over 26 games.
In what proved to be the final season of a brilliant 15-year career as a Ranger, the aging 38-year old Lundqvist appeared in 30 games while making 26 starts. He finished 10-12-3 and posted career lows in GAA (3.16) and save percentage (.905). His lone shutout came against the Red Wings to add to his franchise record of 64. Something that likely won’t be matched.
If Washington is indeed where he continues his NHL career for a year on a inventive laden contract that shouldn’t hurt their cap, it’ll pair up two of the game’s biggest stars since the lockout. Lundqvist and the brilliance of Alexander Ovechkin, whose chase of Wayne Gretzky continues. The electrifying 35-year old Russian sniper added 48 more goals to tie for the league lead in goal scoring with David Pastrnak. He has 706 for his career.
Of course, Ovechkin finally won the Stanley Cup in 2018 that has eluded Lundqvist. They sure faced off a lot in the playoffs with Lundqvist winning the final three series versus Ovechkin after the Great Eight had owned him and the Rangers in ’09 and ’11.
The most memorable being the final one in the second round five years ago when Lundqvist and the Blueshirts rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to stun the Ovechkin Caps, thanks to late game heroics from Chris Kreider and overtime magic from Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan.
The idea of King Henrik and Ovi on the same side is strange. Picture the number 30 with Lundqvist in a Capitals jersey facing his former team. It is sure to be odd. They are a old rival.
The thing is this. No one knows when next season will begin and if or when we could see fans back at arenas. That’s the new abnormal we now live in. With so much uncertainty.
So, who’s ready to see Lundqvist play for the Caps and face heir apparent Igor Shesterkin on Broadway? It’s definitely a storyline we could soon get.