Washington Capitals: Henrik Lundqvist hangs up his skates

Henrik Lundqvist, Washington Capitals (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist, Washington Capitals (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

We sadly never got to see Henrik Lundqvist suit up in a Washington Capitals uniform but in the end health comes first. After sitting out the 2021 season due to open heart surgery, Lundqvist was working out back on the ice but ultimately decided to call it a career. And what a storied career it was.

Let’s first get the basics out of the way. Lundqvist is the only goaltender in Capitals history to have never lost a game. He was brought on by the team last offseason when they said goodbye to Braden Holtby. It was a one year deal worth $1 million. Lundqvist couldn’t wait to mentor a young Ilya Samsonov but unfortunately those plans fell through.

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In December just weeks before the season, Lundqvist announced he would be sitting out to have the open heart surgery. His road to coming back became a challenge. In the end, he decided it was best to remain with his family. Lundqvist announced his decision this morning during a press conference in Gothenburg and confirmed it on his Twitter and Instagram.

Lundqvist tweeted:

"“For the last 30 years I have devoted my life to the game of hockey. Now it is time to walk away from the game I love and begin a new chapter.”"

Haling from Sweden, Lundqvist was drafted by the New York Rangers in 2001 and made his NHL debut in 2005. He finished his rookie season breaking a franchise rookie record for wins with 30 and immediately established himself as one of the best goalies in the game.

Lundqvist was named to the NHL All Star team five times and was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender in 2012. In 2020 he played his final game with the Rangers before he was signed by the Caps that offseason.

Lundqvist sadly never won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers but guided some good teams to the playoffs including an appearance in the Finals in 2014 before falling to the Los Angeles Kings. Lundqvist lost some playoff series but later on won playoff series against the Capitals. Both teams rallied from 3-1 series deficits, the Caps doing so in 2009 and the Rangers in 2015.

That 2015 comeback by the Rangers was all thanks to Lundqvist as well as some lucky goals and questionable calls. The Caps were practically 100 seconds away from going to the third round but the King wouldn’t allow his team to go down that easily.

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Everyone at Stars and Sticks would like to wish Henrik Lundqvist a happy retirement! Please feel free to visit D.C. anytime.