Henrik Lundqvist signed a one-year contract with the Washington Capitals on Friday, according to reports.
The 38-year-old goalie was an unrestricted free agent after he had the final season on his contract bought out by the New York Rangers on Sept. 30. He was 10-12-3 with a 3.16 goals-against average, .905 save percentage and one shutout in 30 games (26 starts) last season.
Lundqvist fills what Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Tuesday was a need for a veteran to back up 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov and signals the end of Braden Holtby’s tenure in Washington. The 31-year-old became a UFA on Friday after 10 seasons with the Capitals.
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With little room to fill other needs under the $81.5 million NHL salary cap, the Capitals decided not to re-sign Holtby, who helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2018. Samsonov, the No. 22 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, pushed Holtby for playing time as an NHL rookie last season by going 16-6-2 with a 2.55 GAA, .913 save percentage and one shutout in 26 games (22 starts).
Selected by the Rangers in the seventh round (No. 205) of the 2000 NHL Draft, Lundqvist went 459-310-96 with a 2.43 GAA, .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts in 887 NHL games over 15 seasons with New York. He is sixth in NHL history in wins, seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games, ninth in starts (871), ninth in time on ice (51,816:19) and 16th in shutouts.
Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy voted as the top goalie in the NHL 2011-12 and has been a finalist for the award four other times (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2012-13).
After the emergence of Igor Shesterkin, 24, and Alexandar Georgiev, 24, Lundqvist started four of New York’s final 29 games last season, finishing with the fewest games (30), starts (26) and wins of his NHL career. Lundqvist started and lost the first two games against the Carolina Hurricanes in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers when Shesterkin was unfit to play, but Shesterkin returned for Game 3 with Lundqvist as his backup in what was his last game with New York.
Lundqvist is 61-67 with a 2.30 GAA, .921 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 130 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, when they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in five games.