Henrik Lundqvist is heading to the DMV.
After being purchased out by the Rangers on Sept. 30 (sure, as a result of he wore No. 30, it occurred on the thirtieth), Lundqvist turned an unrestricted free agent after which signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Capitals on Friday.
It was lengthy speculated that he’d proceed his profession within the Beltway nevertheless it nonetheless was a shock when it turned official. The deal ought to work out nicely for each the group and Lundqvist; nevertheless, there are two parts that would influence whether or not it really ends as all of them hope — with a Stanley Cup.
Sporting News breaks down why the transfer to Washington works and why it would not for Lundqvist.
Why it really works
It is sensible economically for the Capitals, who have been up towards the cap and did not have a lot room to spend on a netminder. They purchase a Hall of Fame backstop to push their younger stud in internet, Ilya Samsonov. In 26 video games (22 begins), the 23-year-old posted a 16-6-2 file, a .913 save share and a 2.30 Goals Saved Above Average.
For his half, Lundqvist is coming off a good 12 months the place he solely performed in 30 video games (26 begins) and had a .905 save share and minus-4.16 GSAA. It was his lightest workload, nicely, ever, so there is a good probability the 38-year-old can be well-rested come the beginning of the season, at any time when that’s.
Along along with his ridiculous resume, the Capitals are getting a participant who’s as meticulous along with his work ethic as he’s along with his style and finely tailor-made fits.
“He works more durable than anyone else,” his former teammate Martin Biron informed Sporting News not too long ago when discussing Lundqvist’s Rangers profession. “Henrik might be the most effective response goaltender I’ve ever had an opportunity to observe. I all the time thought that the sport slowed down [for him] to a degree the place, if the man shot the puck, in his head it slowed proper down that he was in a position to go and react with both the blocker or the glove or the leg pad and make the save.
“For me and for almost all of goalies the sport would not decelerate and generally we hope it may catch our shoulder or we’re fortunate to react to it as a result of perhaps we anticipated nicely. He would not cheat and he would not anticipate all that a lot . . . reflexes have been off the charts, and I used to be all the time amazed by that.”
As famous by Biron, Samsonov will now have a premier mentor who sees the sport at one other stage. But he’ll even have a teammate who will need begins between the pipes simply as a lot as he’ll.
“He was pushed to be nice and let his greatness drive the whole lot else . . . and he by no means stopped,” famous NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, one other former teamamte, to Sporting News. “[His game] was all primarily based on [a] hyper, hypercompetitive spirit and hyperdrive to be nice and [a] dedication to excellence.”
That was evident as Lundqvist spoke to reporters Friday after the ink was dry and defined his reasoning for heading just a few hours down the Eastern Seaboard to D.C.
“There’s so many issues that goes into this determination for me, beginning with an opportunity to win. I believe at this level in my profession, that is an important factor,” he mentioned, including that he has been skating. “I wish to have an opportunity to win.”
But how lengthy is Washington’s window open? That’s the large query proper now.
Regardless, it would not damage that there can be just a few acquainted faces ready to welcome Lundqvist with (socially distanced) open arms. He has skated with Nicklas Backstrom (received Olympic silver in 2014 and World Championship gold in 2017 with him for Sweden), performed in quite a few All-Star video games with Alex Ovechkin and been a teammate of Carl Hagelin.
“I talked to all three,” Lundqvist mentioned Friday. “They all say it is a tight group of men. I heard that even earlier than I signed. I heard a whole lot of good issues concerning the group but additionally speaking to the blokes. They’ve been by way of rather a lot collectively, and also you develop as a bunch once you undergo all of the issues they have been by way of. And additionally they’ve an older group, skilled group. That actually attracted me.”
Why it would not
Lundqvist mentioned on the name with reporters that he is open to no matter function new bench boss Peter Laviolette doles out. But let’s be sincere, he desires to play. As Weekes mentioned, he is hypercompetitive and Lundqvist tweeted on Oct. 4: “I nonetheless like to compete. I nonetheless love the sport and I nonetheless wish to WIN!”
I nonetheless like to compete. I nonetheless love the sport and I nonetheless wish to WIN!
— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) October 4, 2020
So can he deal with taking a again seat if Samsonov’s trajectory continues to rise?
“I do know I’ve a possibility to play if I do rather well, however I additionally perceive Washington has a very younger goalie in Samsonov, an incredible goalie,” Lundqvist mentioned. “He performed rather well final 12 months. So I embrace the entire thing coming right here and attempt to assist and assist him, however clearly additionally carry out rather well.
“Whatever the function can be, I’m prepared for it. But proper now, I can solely management my preparation and the coaching and the mindset going into subsequent 12 months after which we’ll simply take it from there.”
What that function can be is to be decided and that is sort of the crux of the matter. Laviolette is model, spanking new in D.C. and whereas he has had success in his earlier stops, together with a Stanley Cup in Carolina and two extra journeys to the ultimate spherical, there aren’t any ensures his methods will fall completely into place within the first 12 months. And, as talked about above, Washington’s window to win can also be closing. Of course, Lundqvist may re-sign for extra time, though let’s not get too far forward of ourselves.
Time will inform on that one, however one factor that’s particular is that this: It’ll be powerful for Rangers followers to see Lundqvist 4 instances a 12 months — twice on the Garden — in one other workforce’s jersey. Many anticipated him to signal out west to keep away from seeing the MSG devoted (so long as followers are allowed again within the constructing, in fact) so usually and with a division rival, in addition.
Regardless, he’ll get the Eddie Giacomin, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch therapy when he does step into the crease throughout the best way from the place he performed for 15 years.
“I have not thought that far taking part in the one recreation again,” he mentioned as he goals to show his gaze ahead. “Now it is extra, put together for Chapter 2. It’s been an extended Chapter 1 in New York that I’ll always remember. I’ll all the time recognize that point. It brings me a lot pleasure considering again of all of the reminiscences and gamers I performed with and the alternatives they gave me so without end grateful for that.
“I additionally felt prepared for the subsequent step as a result of I noticed how a lot I really like the sport, how a lot I like to compete. And then trying on the completely different choices I had and Washington and the way excited I obtained fascinated about going to Washington. Obviously it has been a fairly emotional week, nevertheless it’s thrilling instances forward right here. That’s the place we’re at.”