Newly-acquired Washington Capitals goaltender Henrik Lundqvist announced that he won’t play during the 2020-21 NHL season due to a heart condition.
Lundqvist, who signed with the Capitals on a one-year deal this offseason after spending the first 15 seasons of his career with the New York Rangers, made the announcement Thursday on Twitter.
Some tough news I need to share with you all.. pic.twitter.com/y7ZtAoo39Q
— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) December 17, 2020
“Today is a pretty tough and emotional day for me. For several weeks now, I have been undergoing different types of tests related to a heart condition. After lots of discussions with doctors around the country, and finally receiving the last results earlier this week, I unfortunately won’t be able to join the team this year,” Lundqvist said in a heartfelt video released via the Capitals’ Twitter account.
A message from Henrik: pic.twitter.com/JJDe2lKAXz
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 17, 2020
It may be too early to speculate, but one hopes this doesn’t spell the end of a spectacular career for Lundqvist, who featured as one of the best goaltenders of his generation. Lundqvist was nominated for the Vezina Trophy five times, eventually capturing the award in 2012, and earned five All-Star selections. The stalwart goaltender was also named Rangers’ team MVP nine times.
With Lundqvist out of the mix, and Braden Holtby joining the Canucks during free agency, the Capitals now turn to Ilya Samsonov as their starting goaltender. Samsonov, a 2015 first-round pick, very well could’ve emerged as the starter in 2021 even if Lundqvist was healthy, but the role is unquestionably his now. The 23-year-old recorded a 16-6-2 mark with a .913 save percentage, 2.55 GAA and a 2.30 GSAA (goals saved above average) last year.
Lundqvist posted a 10-12-3 record, with a .905 save percentage, a 3.16 GAA and -4.16 GSAA (goals saved above average) during the 2019-20 season. If we’ve already seen the last of Lundqvist, it’s time to start seriously considering his case for Hall of Fame induction when he’s eventually eligible.
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