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Capitals Sign Henrik Lundqvist

The King is moving to the District.

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ask and ye shall receive. After weeks of speculation (and a groundroots campaign started right here on our Rink), the worst-kept secret in the NHL is out in the open: Henrik Lundqvist is now a Washington Capital:

And the official announcement from the team:

For the last 15 years, Henrik Lundqvist has been the backbone of the New York Rangers, appearing in 887 regular-season games (with a record of 459-310-96) and another 130 in the postseason (61-67) for the Blueshirts. Only Marc-Andre Fleury (462) has more wins than Lundqvist’s 459 since the Swede’s rookie season back in 2005-06, and no one tops his 64 shutouts over that span. He also led the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final three times and the Stanley Cup Final once (in 2014, when they lost to the LA Kings in five games).

Caps fans, of course, are familiar with Lundqvist’s work as a frequent antagonist over the years, particularly in the playoffs. The Caps have faced off against the Rangers five times since Lundqvist arrived in the NHL, and while the good guys took the first two series, New York took the next three (including erasing a 3-1 series deficit in 2015).

Lundqvist’s resume is peppered with many accolades and other shiny things throughout his career. He was named to the NHL All-Rookie team in 2006 (alongside his now-teammate Alex Ovechkin) and won gold with Team Sweden that same year at the Turin Olympics. Lundqvist was an NHL All-Star in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2018, and 2019, was a finalist for the Hart Trophy and the Lindsay Award and won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 (after being a finalist in each of the three years preceding his win).

One thing remains absent from that resume... hopefully the Caps can help fill in the gap.

Let’s sneak a peek at some highlights:

And of course, the best Lundqvist highlight of all time:

Welcome to DC, Henrik!

Team Release:

The Washington Capitals have signed goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

“Henrik is one of the greatest goaltenders in NHL history, and we are pleased to have him join our organization,” said MacLellan. “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.

“We want to thank Braden Holtby for his many contributions to the Washington Capitals. Braden has built a legacy both on and off the ice that will have a lasting impact on our organization and on our community. Winning the Vezina Trophy in 2016, the Jennings Trophy in 2017 and helping the team win the Stanley Cup with his stellar play in 2018 cements his position as one of the best goalies of his era. Off the ice, he led by example and consistently made a positive impact across several important initiatives. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

Lundqvist, 38, is 459-310-96 with a 2.43 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts in 887 NHL games over 15 seasons, all with the New York Rangers. In 130 career playoff games, Lundqvist is 61-67 with a 2.30 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and 10 shutouts.

During the 2019-20 season, the 6’1”, 182-pound goaltender registered a record of 10-12-3, a 3.16 goals against average and a .905 save percentage.

The Are, Sweden, native ranks sixth on the NHL’s all-time wins list, eighth on the NHL’s all-time appearances list, and 16th on the league’s all-time shutouts list. Lundqvist’s 459 career wins and 887 career appearances with the Rangers are the second-most a goaltender has recorded with one franchise in NHL history (trailing only Martin Brodeur with New Jersey). Lundqvist has earned more career NHL wins than any other non-North American born goaltender, and he also reached the 400-win plateau faster than any other goaltender in league history (727 appearances).

Lundqvist led the Rangers to the playoffs 11 times in a 12-season span from 2005-06 through 2016-17. The Rangers were not eliminated from playoff contention entering a game in 880 of Lundqvist’s 887 career regular season appearances with the team. Lundqvist helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, when he went 13-11 with a 2.14 GAA, a .927 save percentage and one shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In NHL postseason history, Lundqvist ranks seventh in saves (3,567), seventh in starts (130), eighth in time on ice (7,935:25), 10th in games (130), tied for 11th in shutouts and tied for 14th in wins.

Internationally, Lundqvist won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Torino Olympics and a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He also helped Sweden win gold in the 2017 IIHF World Championship and silver in 2003 and 2004 IIHF World Championship.

Lundqvist was originally selected by the Rangers in the seventh round, 205th overall, of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.