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 30th), Lundqvist grew to become 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 but it surely nonetheless was a shock when it grew to become official. The deal ought to work out effectively for each the group and Lundqvist; nevertheless, there are two parts that would impression whether or not it actually ends as all of them hope — with a Stanley Cup.
Sporting Information breaks down why the transfer to Washington works and why it would not for Lundqvist.
Why it really works
It is smart economically for the Capitals, who have been up in opposition to the cap and did not have a lot room to spend on a netminder. They purchase a Corridor of Fame backstop to push their younger stud in web, Ilya Samsonov. In 26 video games (22 begins), the 23-year-old posted a 16-6-2 report, a .913 save share and a 2.30 Targets Saved Above Common.
For his half, Lundqvist is coming off an honest 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, effectively, ever, so there is a good likelihood the 38-year-old can be well-rested come the beginning of the season, every time that’s.
Alongside together with his ridiculous resume, the Capitals are getting a participant who’s as meticulous together with his work ethic as he’s together with his trend and finely tailor-made fits.
“He works tougher than anyone else,” his former teammate Martin Biron informed Sporting Information not too long ago when discussing Lundqvist’s Rangers profession. “Henrik might be the very best response goaltender I’ve ever had an opportunity to look at. 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 capable of 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 typically we hope it’ll catch our shoulder or we’re fortunate to react to it as a result of possibly we anticipated effectively. 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. However 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 every little thing else . . . and he by no means stopped,” famous NHL Community analyst Kevin Weekes, one other former teamamte, to Sporting Information. “[His game] was all based mostly 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 Jap Seaboard to D.C.
“There’s so many issues that goes into this choice for me, beginning with an opportunity to win. I feel at this level in my profession, that is a very powerful factor,” he stated, including that he has been skating. “I need to have an opportunity to win.”
However how lengthy is Washington’s window open? That is the large query proper now.
Regardless, it would not harm that there can be just a few acquainted faces ready to welcome Lundqvist with (socially distanced) open arms. He has skated with Nicklas Backstrom (gained Olympic silver in 2014 and World Championship gold in 2017 with him for Sweden), performed in various All-Star video games with Alex Ovechkin and been a teammate of Carl Hagelin.
“I talked to all three,” Lundqvist stated Friday. “All of them say it is a tight group of men. I heard that even earlier than I signed. I heard plenty of good issues in regards to the group but in addition speaking to the fellows. They have been via so much collectively, and also you develop as a gaggle whenever you undergo all of the issues they have been via. And likewise they’ve an older group, skilled group. That basically attracted me.”
Why it would not
Lundqvist stated on the name with reporters that he is open to no matter function new bench boss Peter Laviolette doles out. However let’s be sincere, he needs to play. As Weekes stated, he is hypercompetitive and Lundqvist tweeted on Oct. 4: “I nonetheless like to compete. I nonetheless love the sport and I nonetheless need to WIN!”
I nonetheless like to compete. I nonetheless love the sport and I nonetheless need 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 chance to play if I do rather well, however I additionally perceive Washington has a extremely younger goalie in Samsonov, a fantastic goalie,” Lundqvist stated. “He performed rather well final 12 months. So I embrace the entire thing coming right here and attempt to assist and help him, however clearly additionally carry out rather well.
“Regardless of the function can be, I’m prepared for it. However 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 form 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 are not any ensures his programs will fall completely into place within the first 12 months. And, as talked about above, Washington’s window to win might also be closing. In fact, 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 will be robust for Rangers followers to see Lundqvist 4 instances a 12 months — twice on the Backyard — in one other staff’s jersey. Many anticipated him to signal out west to keep away from seeing the MSG trustworthy (so long as followers are allowed again within the constructing, in fact) so typically and with a division rival, in addition.
Regardless, he’ll get the Eddie Giacomin, Mark Messier and Brian Leetch remedy 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 sport again,” he stated as he goals to show his gaze ahead. “Now it is extra, put together for Chapter 2. It has been an extended Chapter 1 in New York that I’ll always remember. I’ll all the time respect that point. It brings me a lot pleasure pondering again of all of the recollections and gamers I performed with and the alternatives they gave me so endlessly grateful for that.
“I additionally felt prepared for the subsequent step as a result of I spotted how a lot I like the sport, how a lot I like to compete. After which wanting on the totally different choices I had and taking a look at Washington and the way excited I acquired serious about going to Washington. Clearly it has been a fairly emotional week, but it surely’s thrilling instances forward right here. That is the place we’re at.”