Henrik Lundqvist's time with the Capitals has ended before it could even really begin. The veteran netminder announced via social media on Thursday that he will not be joining the team for the 2021 season due to a heart condition that will require further treatment.
"It's still very hard for me to process all of this and kind of shocking to be honest," Lundqvist said in a video. "But with the experts involved, I know this is the only way of action."
Signing Lundqvist in the offseason was considered a coup for Washington as the team managed to get a viable tandem option to play with Ilya Samsonov at a reasonable price tag of just $1.5 million. Though he was coming off a down year with the New York Rangers, Lundqvist was still seen as a strong tandem option and a possible mentor for the 23-year-old Samsonov.
Lundqvist did not say that he would be retiring which means he can be placed on long-term injured reserve and there should be no major cap implications for the team.
With Lundqvist's departure, the time is now for Samsonov who was viewed as the team's future starter. He will be leaned upon as the No. 1. The real question is who the Caps will use as their No. 2. Vitek Vanecek and Pheonix Copley are two options within the organization. There are also some veteran free agents still available such as Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard and Ryan Miller.