Simply greater than every week after the Rangers purchased out the final yr of his contract, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist signed with the rival Washington Capitals on Friday, the primary day of N.H.L. free company. Lundqvist, 38, had performed his total 15-year profession with the Rangers, setting practically each franchise goaltending file together with 459 wins and 64 shutouts in 887 video games.
Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Capitals, whom he defeated within the playoffs thrice, together with a seven-game collection in 2015. He’ll turn out to be teammates with Alex Ovechkin, who has scored 706 objectives over his 15 seasons with the Capitals. Each gamers had been rookies — together with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby — within the 2005-6 season after the earlier season was canceled due to a labor dispute.
“At this level in my profession, I need to have an opportunity to win,’’ Lundqvist stated throughout a Zoom information convention. “I’ve to say the Capitals checked each field; a crew that understands successful, an awesome teaching workers and a chance to play some video games. These had been the principle components for me.”
Lundqvist turned an unrestricted free agent after the Rangers determined to purchase out the ultimate yr of his contract on Sept. 30. He’ll share goaltending duties in Washington with the 23-year-old Russian Ilya Samsonov, who received 16 video games as a rookie in 2019-20. Braden Holtby, who helped the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018, left for the Vancouver Canucks through free company.
“Henrik is without doubt one of the biggest goaltenders in N.H.L. historical past, and we’re happy to have him be a part of our group,” Capitals Basic Supervisor Brian MacLellan stated. “Henrik has the aggressive drive and the power to assist our crew compete for a championship. We really feel he might be a superb match for our crew and supply management to our group and our younger goaltenders.”
Lundqvist stated an abundance of thankfulness for the Rangers helped him by way of the method of claiming goodbye to the group, which he led to the Stanley Cup finals in 2014.
“I reached a stage of a lot gratitude in direction of the Rangers and truthfully I really feel like gratitude is the very best feeling you’ll be able to have ever,” he stated. “It was a great distance attending to final Wednesday, for me to work on that. It was a really emotional day for me and my spouse nevertheless it was a good looking day. I might really feel the love and help coming in from in all places.”
Lundqvist supplied way more than glove saves and acrobatic stops throughout a tenure with the Rangers the place his philanthropic efforts had been quite a few and notable. Although soft-spoken off the ice and relaxed speaking about music, his favourite automobiles or trend tendencies, Lundqvist was a whirlwind of depth on the ice.
He performed 5 seasons for the Frölunda Hockey Membership in Sweden earlier than becoming a member of the Rangers, who had chosen him within the seventh spherical of the 2000 draft after 21 different goaltenders had been chosen. Lundqvist arrived in New York at age 23 and rapidly turned the starter, resulting in considered one of his 11 seasons of 30 or extra victories.
Lundqvist might nonetheless attain 500 profession wins and third place on the profession checklist. Solely 12 different goalies within the N.H.L. have reached the 400-win threshold, a listing led by Martin Brodeur (691).
Lundqvist stated he was trying ahead to being Ovechkin’s teammate as an alternative of going through his laser slap shot. Lundqvist may even have fellow Swedes Nicklas Backstrom and former Ranger Carl Hagelin on his aspect beneath new coach Peter Laviolette. Amid the swirl of feelings and ideas Lundqvist is bound to be feeling as he modifies dwelling cities, he stated that hadn’t but thought in regards to the first recreation he would play at Madison Sq. Backyard for the opposition.
“It’s extra making ready for chapter two,” he stated. “It’s been a protracted chapter one in New York that I’ll always remember.”