When it was announced last week that the New York Rangers would be buying out the contract of veteran goalie Henrik Lundqvist, speculation that he could end up with the Capitals for the 2020-21 season quickly filled the airwaves. So much so that the photoshopping has already begun.
In recent days, the idea has turned into a potentially growing certainty. TSN's Bob McKenzie noted early Tuesday morning that Washington was the "clear frontrunner" for the 15-year veteran. During the 2020 NHL Draft, McKenzie doubled down on the statement, explaining that the two sides were a perfect fit.
“It’s possible. Obviously, bought out by the New York Rangers. But there’s a strong sense that the logical landing place for Henrik Lundqvist, the King, would be to be with the Washington Capitals, platooning with Ilya Samsonov this coming season," McKenzie said on NBC Sports during the draft.
For Washington, the team will be looking for a veteran goalie that can become a mentor to the young Ilya Samsonov, who is set to become the main man in net come next season with Braden Holtby expected to depart in free agency. Still, the Capitals will need that backup goalie to be able to play a decent amount of games, and having big-game experience would help. Lundqvist checks all those boxes.
The 38-year-old will be looking for a team that will still give him opportunities to be on the ice, as becoming a No. 1 goalie once again would be a challenge. A Stanley Cup title has eluded him, so Lundqvist will most likely be looking for a contender. These are both things Washington can most definitely offer.
All in all, it's a potential signing that at least warrants exploration, if not more.
The more factors that are considered, the more likely it seems that the Lundqvist could be headed to Washington, D.C. in the near future. Nothing can become concrete until Friday at 12 p.m., the official beginning to free agency, but when considering what both sides are looking for, McKenzie likes the chances of the rumor becoming a reality.
"Stay tuned on that when we get to Friday. Nothing can be agreed to until Friday," McKenzie said. "But it’s a good bet that The King ends up in D.C."