Last week, the Washington Capitals lost Vitek Vanecek in the Expansion Draft to the Seattle Kraken, creating an unexpected hole at the goaltending position.
One player that could possibly fill it, like he hoped to do last year, is Henrik Lundavist, who missed all of the 2020-21 campaign due to open-heart surgery.
But according to Bob McKenzie, Lundqvist is not eligible to be signed, at least at the start of free agency, because he hasn’t been cleared by doctors yet.
👑 Henrik Lundqvist is, of course, UFA and most certainly wants to return to active NHL duty for 21-22 but, in the short term anyway, isn’t in a position to sign a contract because he’s still awaiting some medical clearances.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 27, 2021
Lundqvist, a likely future Hall of Famer, signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Capitals last October after being bought out by the New York Rangers. Weeks after doing so, Lundqvist learned that a heart condition that he had been managing throughout his career had gotten worse, forcing to him undergo surgery in January.
The King attempted to return to the Capitals for their playoff run but ultimately was shut down by doctors when it was revealed he had inflammation around his heart. Vanecek ended up getting a majority of the starts last season after Ilya Samsonov landed in COVID protocol twice.
The good news is that Lundqvist recently resumed light workouts around the end of June and beginning of July. It’s unclear if Lundqvist will ultimately make it back to the NHL to end his career on his own terms, but one thing’s for sure: it sure would be cool to see him do it in a Washington Capitals jersey if he can.
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