The Washington Capitals have reportedly signed goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year contract that was previously reported to have a cap hit of around $1.5 million. The 38-year-old goaltender became an unrestricted free agent at 12 noon ET.
Henrik Lundqvist’s deal is done in Washington. https://t.co/I6ICEWnzJB
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 9, 2020
“Henrik is one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, and we are pleased to have him join our organization,” said Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan. “Henrik has the competitive drive and the ability to help our team compete for a championship. We feel he will be an excellent fit for our team and provide leadership to our organization and our young goaltenders.”
Lundqvist had the final season of his seven-year contract (which carried an $8.5 million cap hit) bought out by the New York Rangers on September 30.
— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) October 9, 2020
Goaltender Braden Holtby, who is currently an unrestricted free agent, signed a two-year contract that carries a cap hit of $4.3 million with the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
“We want to thank Braden Holtby for his many contributions to the Washington Capitals. Braden has built a legacy both on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and on our community. Winning the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the Jennings Trophy in 2017 and helping the team win the Stanley Cup with his stellar play in 2018 cements his position as one of the best goalies of his era. Off the ice, he led by example and consistently made a positive impact across several important initiatives. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”
As a result, the team was in need of 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 signing Lundqvist for 1 year $1.5M, the #ALLCAPS have $4.575M Projected Cap Space for 18 players (11F/5D/2G) including $420K bonus carryover overage.
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) October 9, 2020
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. He owns the sixth-most wins among goalies in NHL history, just seven behind Marc-Andre Fleury. In 130 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Lundqvist is 61-67 with a .921 save percentage, a 2.30 goals-against average, and 10 shutouts.
After signing Lundqvist and defenseman Brenden Dillon to a four-year contract (which carries a $3.9 million cap hit) this week, the Capitals currently have a hair more than $3.5 million in cap space but could clear some as they could still use a top-four, right-handed defenseman and a middle-six right-winger.
If, as expected, the one-year deal is $1.5M, it would be fitting. That would make Lundqvist “whole” on $4.5M salary he was scheduled to get for 20-21. $3M of it would be in his buyout from the Rangers (paid out over two years) but $1.5M would top him back up to $4.5M total.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2020
By Harrison Brown