Former New York Rangers goaltender and franchise legend Henrik Lundqvist announced on Thursday afternoon that he will be unable to participate in the 2021 season for the Washington Capitals because of a heart condition.
“It breaks my heart (literally) to share this news. I will not be joining the Capitals this upcoming season. After many weeks of tests and conversations with specialists around the country, it’s been determined that a heart condition will prevent me from taking the ice. Together, we have decided that the risk of playing before remedying my condition is too high. So I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.
For the past two months, I’ve been so inspired by the opportunity to play in DC and committed to my game. Spending every day at the rink to prepare for the upcoming season, the news was very difficult to process but after the last test result earlier this week we knew there was only one way to go from here.
I want to thank the entire Capitals organization for not only giving me this opportunity but also for their support throughout this challenging time. I will take the next few weeks to be with my family and I’ll be back to share the next steps.”
Lundqvist spent 15 seasons with the Rangers where he became the greatest goaltender in team history, ranking first in wins, saves, save percentage, and shutouts.
The 38-year-old former Vezina Trophy winner made the playoffs 12 times with the Blueshirts, winning an Eastern Conference championship in 2014 before losing to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final.
With the arrival of Igor Shesterkin from Russia and his quick jump to the NHL, Lundqvist quickly became the third option under head coach David Quinn behind the netminder of the future and backup Alexandar Georgiev.
The Rangers bought out the remainder of Lundqvist’s contract in September before signing a one-year deal with the Capitals.