Without Henrik Lundqvist, Caps Are Back to Plan A

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Posted December 17, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist (Caps Outsider)

Having goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on the roster, even for a year, wasn’t in the Capitals’ plans, but the opportunity popped up out of nowhere. The 38-year old goaltender had a final season remaining on his contract with the New York Rangers, while the Caps, who were expecting to lose Braden Holtby to free agency, were set to lean on youngster Ilya Samsonov, with Pheonix Copley as a backup.

Then the Rangers, who finished second-to-last place in the Metropolitan Division, decided to shred salary, buying out the future Hall of Famer. It only made sense for the Caps to swoop in and sign the veteran for $1.5 million, and Lundqvist, who is still chasing his first Stanley Cup, wanted to join up with a contender.

Lundqvist announced Thursday that he won’t be playing next season due to a heart condition. Caps fans and players, excited to have the services of one of the best goaltenders in the league, were forced to reckon with the fact that it won’t be happening.

The only good news here is that the Caps can only go back to their initial plan of having Samsonov in net. That was the plan anyway, and a year from now – whether Lundqvist played or not – it was still the plan.

Had Lundqvist never been bought out in the first place, everything would be almost exactly the way things are today for the Capitals. That said, it still sucks this happened, and we wish Lundqvist a speedy recovery.