Report: Capitals Are “The Frontrunner” For UFA Henrik Lundqvist’s Services

Photo: Blue Line Station

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Washington Capitals are the frontrunner to sign unrestricted free agent goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on a “short-term, bargain contract” ahead of free agency, which will open on Friday at 12 PM ET.

The 38-year-old had the final season of his seven-year contract (which carried an $8.5 million cap hit) bought out by the New York Rangers last week.

The Capitals are preparing for goaltender Braden Holtby test the unrestricted free agent market and him not returning.

The team could use a veteran back-up goalie to help sophomore Ilya Samsonov through his first season as the team’s starter after the 23-year-old went 16-6-2 with a .913 save percentage, a 2.55 goals-against average, and one shutout in his rookie season and is expected to be the Capitals’ goalie of the future.

After a 15-2-1 start to his NHL career where he posted a .927 save percentage and a 2.06 goals-against average, the 22-year-old is 1-4-1 with an .873 save percentage and a 4.11 goals-against average since the All-Star break. He started only three of the Capitals’ final 13 games before the pause after getting pulled for the first time in his career in the team’s 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on February 11 when he allowed five goals on 20 shots. Samsonov tweaked a nerve during the NHL Pause and missed the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lundqvist, 38, went 10-12-3 with a .905 save percentage, a 3.16 goals-against average, and one shutout in his final season on Broadway. He stopped 64 of 71 shots (.901 save percentage) while playing two games during the Rangers’ three-game qualifying round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. In 887 career NHL games, all with the Rangers, he has gone 459-310-96 with a .918 save percentage, a 2.43 goals-against average, and 64 shutouts. Though, he has not finished with a save percentage above .910 in three of the past four seasons.

The free-agent market opens on Friday and the Capitals are also reportedly interested in adding a defenseman and a forward.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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11 Responses to Report: Capitals Are “The Frontrunner” For UFA Henrik Lundqvist’s Services

  1. hockeydruid says:

    OK now everyone…..go to your window and shout…..GMBM Sign HIM…….Ted Get him signed!! He would make the best backup and teacher/mentor for our young goalies and after his contract is up I would like to see them ask him if he has any interest in coaching. He could join the staff and continue to work not only in Washington but also Hershey!

  2. Marky says:

    He will be splitting time I assume 40-60 in Samsonov’s favor? I would like Lundy but to me it depends on the price. We have to be careful with him on term and price but 1 year for 2 – 2.5 would be fine with me.

    • hockeydruid says:

      I see him playing about 20 games and the rest 60/40 Samsonov and Vanecek. And yes I think the Caps will carry 3 goalies this coming season. As they have to expose one to the expansion draft it will be Lundqvist. That way they get both young goalies experience and get to keep both of them. After all Vanecek if they try to stash him in Hershey is not waiver free. Best of all possible worlds. Now just have to get rid of Panik, Hagelin, Kempny and or Jensen and sign Demelo the roster would be nice. And hopefully Orlov or Oshie go i the expansion draft to give more salary cap refeif.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Exactly, Marky. Great mentor, share some of the load, but price needs to be right.

  3. Scottlew73 says:

    Not sure who dumbest is on this…. GM,Fans,or both combined! Why the hell would you go after a guy who’s a couple or more years older than current(although leaving #1),& is same amount of money per season?!?! A smarter person would go after younger cheaper player thus free up money to sign your Franchise/First ballot HOF’mer @ the end of season when his contract is up? Especially when the cap is not expected to increase much in next two seasons!

    • hockeydruid says:

      First he will be a lot cheaper then Holtby. Second he will com in knowing that he is a backup where Holtby still wants to be the starter. Third he will serve not only as a backup but as a great mentor and teacher for the young goalies and I think that was just to hard for Holtby to do. Finally he will only be here 1 year as he will be exposed to the expansion draft next year. All-in-all a good signing if they can do it.

  4. Scottlew73 says:

    You know if your under the thought that it’s up to veteran to teach young one how to do the job,that thinking went out of the game about the mid 80’s! The person who moulds/frames goalies role on teams now is goaltending coach! Even with HL coming in at 2-3 million less than last contract,he coming to take #1 not be 2-3 stringer. He would go back to Sweden & play for less & be starter on any Club team in SHL than sit on end of the bench or in press box in NHL

    • hockeydruid says:

      But a veteran goaltender can help with the young goalies and unlike your primitive thinking yes player do help each other for the good of the team and that is what he would be brought in to do and he knows that. And he knows on a good team, which the Caps still are, that it is better to be #2 than 0 number and not play at all. And how do you know he has any interest in going back to Sweden to play for LESS. Somehow I think you have drunk to much of your own kool-aid! Here he would be the #2 goalie with the other 2 goalies rotating as #1. And many older goalies, yes even today not just in the 80’s, are brought in to mentor a younger goalie. You are right about one thing that the goalie coach at a low level started molding and framing the player a a goalie and that happened at all levels. But an older goalie can serve as a good mentor. There is a difference between being the coach and teaching and being a veteran goalie and helping teach and mentor a young goalie. Didnt you ever play any sport and have an older player help you?

  5. Scottlew73 says:

    How do I know he’d rather go back to Sweden easy about 95% of Swede’s that play in NHL,return and play 1-2 years with either club team they started with or another that will be top team that’s contending for title. The other 5% may either go back & coach or will be involved on managment side,do some home work on Swedish born players for the Cap’s & get back to me how many follow that route! I’ve been fan for 40 out of 46 years of life & have followed goalies especially because was position me,my brother,my nephew,couple of cousins sons have played so probably know little more than you on position & what kind of mentality it takes to play & be good @! Yes played hockey & have had family play @ every level NHL included!

    • hockeydruid says:

      Well bully for you. Any your personal biases come through. Look at what would be best for the Caps not what has happened in the past. And just because players go back home to play doesn’t mean anything for a particular player. Not interested in “doing homework” as you call it as I look what would be the best for the Caps. When players can not play in the NFL and retire here whatever they do for themselves is great but in going to Sweden, Russia, or any other country to play or coach is cool but of little interest or concern to the Caps or the majority of their fans.

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