As a pending unrestricted free agent, Capitals’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was unlikely to be selected in the Expansion Draft, but now the NHL has made it official that he’s ineligible anyway.
According to Cap Friendly, Lundqvist is one of 18 NHL players that are exempt from being selected by the Seattle Kraken due to injury. Lundqvist spent the entire season on Washington’s long-term injured reserve list after undergoing open-heart surgery in January.
The league has identified 18 players that are exempt from the Expansion Draft due to Injury
All 18 players are displayed below
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 21, 2021
Most of the players, such as Ryan Kesler, Marian Hossa, Brandon Dubinsky, Brent Seabrook, Andrew Shaw, Stephen Johns, Henrik Zetterberg, Matt Niskanen, and etc., are no longer playing and have announced their plans to retire once their contracts end.
It’s unclear if Lundqvist will return next season or retire after having his comeback bid with the Capitals ended in April due to inflammation around his heart.
The Capitals will be allowed to protect only one goaltender — likely Ilya Samsonov after Brian MacLellan said the Russian goalie would get another chance to reclaim his starting spot next season — in the Expansion Draft. The Caps will also be able to protect either seven forwards and three defensemen or eight skaters overall. RMNB’s Chris Cerullo ran through his analysis on who the Capitals could end up protecting over the weekend.
The Expansion Draft will be held on July 21. The Kraken will choose 30 players total – one from each team excluding the Vegas Golden Knights.
Headline photo courtesy of @hlundqvist35
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