“Henrik is one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, and we are pleased to have him join our organization,” Capitals GM says
Henrik Lundqvist joins a team he has tormented for years in the playoffs, Braden for Holtby is leaving the franchise he drove at the Stanley Cup, and Anton Khudobin stays at home after all.
The goalkeeper carousel runs in free agency NHL, with several top goalies finding new homes on Friday.
Lundqvist will continue his chase for the cup with the Washington Capitals after signing a $ 1.5 million one-year contract with one of the New York Rangers’ main rivals. The 38-year-old Swede was signed by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and will now play with Alex Ovechkin and help Washington win it all again.
“Henrik is one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, and we are pleased to have him join our organization,” said Brian MacLellan, Capitals CEO. “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.”
The longtime Rangers will share the tasks in the net with future 23-year-old goalie Ilya Samsonov. Washington added Lundqvist to replace the 2016 Vezina Trophy and 2018 Stanley Cup winner Braden Holtby, who left to sign a two-year $ 8.6 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks.
“Braden has built a legacy both on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and our community,” MacLellan said. “Winning the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the Jennings Trophy in 2017 and helping the team win the Stanley Cup with their stellar game in 2018 solidifies their position as one of the best goalkeepers of their era. Off the ice, he led by example and consistently had a positive impact on several important initiatives. “
Holtby will count $ 4.3 million at the salary cap the next two seasons and maybe a better option for the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 expansion project because Vancouver has Thatcher Demko.
Khudobin, shouting in the Dallas Stars locker room after winning the Western Conference, “We’re not going home!” signed for three years and $10 million to stay. The 34-year-old goaltender led the NHL with a 0.930 save rate during the regular season and led the beaten Stars to the Cup final in the Edmonton Bubble with a .917 and 2.69 goals against the middleweight playoffs.
Dallas, with pay limits, has returned to Khudobin after testing the free agency market.
“Anton’s play over the past two seasons has been nothing short of exceptional,” GM Jim Nill. “The immense skill and unmatched work ethic we’ve known Anton possess were on display for the entire hockey world to see during the Stanley Cup playoffs. His impact on our team has been immeasurable, and we’re excited for Anton to continue his success with the Stars.”
Cam Talbot left the Calgary Flames to sign a three-year, $ 11 million contract with the Minnesota Wild in another goaltending movement. Minnesota traded former starter Devan Dubnyk for San Jose earlier this week.
Jacob Markstrom would be close to joining Calgary. That leaves Thomas Greiss, Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, and two-time Cup winner Corey Crawford among the best goalies around.
Lundqvist did not last as long as a free agent. The 887 regular-season NHL veteran and 130 playoff games in his career are still trying to win the cup for the first time. He supported Sweden with an Olympic gold medal in 2006 and a silver medal in 2014 and won the Vezina as the best goalkeeper in the league in 2012.
He led Rangers to the cup final in 2014, a rare year in which he did not face the playoffs’ capitals. After losing playoffs to them in 2009 and 2011, Lundqvist knocked out three times: 2012, 2013, and 2015.
While Washington won it all with Holtby in 2018, Lundqvist endured a Rangers rebuild that saw him rotated in a three-goalie carousel with Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. He hadn’t played in the playoffs since 2017 until two games in the qualifying round of the expanded, 24-team playoffs this past summer.
“A new journey begins with ONE goal in mind,” Lundqvist tweeted. “I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity.”