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Tag: Henrik Lundqvist

Washington Suddenly Needs A Goalie; Could A Deal With VGK Make Sense?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The hockey world was dealt some unfortunate news yesterday morning when Henrik Lundqvist announced he was going to have to sit out the entire season due to a heart condition.

The former Ranger star signed with the Capitals for a paltry $1.5 million against the cap this offseason. The only other NHL quality goalies, and it’s debatable in both cases, on the Washington roster currently are 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov and 28-year-old Pheonix Copley.

Clearly, the Caps felt they needed help at the position and shored it up by signing Lundqvist, but without him, one has to wonder if they are in the market for another goalie to hold down the fort.

Meanwhile, the Golden Knights remain in a situation in which they are trying to unload a future hall-of-fame goalie and his $7 million cap hit. Could there be a potential match between the teams to kill two birds with one stone?

I was asked this question quite a bit following Lundqvist’s announcement and my initial thought was absolutely not. That was mainly based on the fact that the Capitals are pushing up against the cap and simply don’t have the space to take on half of Fleury’s salary, let alone all of it like Vegas would prefer. But, when I dug a bit more into the idea, if a third team were to step in and “broker” the deal, it could make sense for everyone.

So, what does that look like? Teams like New Jersey, Nashville, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Ottawa, and a few others could be potential options to step in as the third party to broker the swap. Let’s use Detroit as an example because I think they fit best based on their rebuild status and expected willingness to buy draft picks.

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Henrik Lundqvist To Vegas?

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The goaltender carousel has yet to start spinning, but when it does, the Golden Knights are likely to have a ticket on the ride. The probability of Vegas re-signing Robin Lehner and moving on from Marc-Andre Fleury remains incredibly high which means the Golden Knights would suddenly be in the market for either a backup to Lehner or at the very least an AHL starter if the job is handed to Oscar Dansk.

If indeed they are to keep Lehner, that would eliminate Vegas from the top names soon to be on the market like Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, and Darcy Kuemper but it would be an intriguing place for anyone willing to play for less money but a greater shot at a Stanley Cup.

Enter Henrik Lundqvist.

After being kicked to the curb during the season in favor of Igor Shesterkin, Lundqvist’s time in New York officially came to a close yesterday when he was bought out by the Rangers.

That makes him an unrestricted free agent who is still being paid by his previous organization. He’s made no indication whether or not he even wants to continue his NHL career, but if he does, there’s a connection to Vegas that could make sense.

I wonder about Vegas. If they move Fleury I would think that spot would be an interesting one because Lundqvist has known Robin Lehner since Lehner was 12-years-old and Lehner’s father was Lundqvist’s¬†goalie coach and instructor in Sweden before he came to New York. I think the fit it the room would be there. –Larry Brooks, NY Post on VGK Insider Show

Brooks told the VGK Insider Show that he has not spoken to Lundqvist and thus he is speculating but he named Vegas without being prompted (though I’m sure he knew he was on a Vegas-based radio station).

Lundqvist was far from elite a year ago, but there’s no question there’s still some hockey left in his Hall of Fame career if he so chooses to continue it.

As a backup, the Golden Knights could certainly do much worse and his cost against the cap could be minimal considering he’s made almost $100 million in his career already and has still yet to win a Stanley Cup.

Maybe he sees Vegas as a place that could give him that one last chance. Maybe he’s tight enough with Lehner that it would make for the perfect drama-free duo. Or maybe this is all for naught and he closes up shop on an unbelievable career.

A lot is about to go down in the next seven to ten days, especially between the pipes. We’re fairly certain the Golden Knights are going to part ways with one future Hall of Famer, maybe they can save the day by bringing in another.

Backup To Vegas: Antti Raanta

Backups, like Rodney Dangerfield, get no respect. Although, Las Vegas fans shouldn’t disregard backup goaltenders. Chances are one of the NHL’s secondary netminders will play a much bigger role for the Golden Knights. Which brings me to a series focusing on potential VGK goaltenders. We’ve heard many scenarios surrounding certain NHL teams, Pittsburgh and Tampa being two of them. Let’s start with a situation involving a high profile name, and a backup that’s been dominating recently. Off to New York!

The shutout machine from Madison Square Garden is not who you think. While Henrik Lundqvist rests his old bones, backup Antti Raanta is playing like a number one. The 27 year-old Fin created a two-headed monster for the New York Rangers. Raanta is 8-1 with an outstanding 1.52 GAA, and he’s a backup. In ten starts, Hank’s backup let in less goals than Jimmy Howard, Thomas Greiss, Calvin Pickard and Andrei Vasilevskiy. All goaltenders who are expected to be left unprotected. Raanta’s a brick wall, stopping 62 of 63 shots over the past three games. An insane run that makes Alain Vigneault look a genius for benching his all-world goaltender. With a healthy Lundqvist sitting, Raanta allows New York a chance to keep their number one fresh. Which some believe has been a problem for Handsome Hank in the postseason.

In Finland, Raanta was an elite goaltender in the Liiga, the Finnish Elite¬†League. His team won the championship in 2013 and he was named league and postseason MVP. After his award-winning season he signed as an undrafted free agent with Chicago. Battling it out with Scott Darling as Corey Crawford‘s backup, the Fin was traded to New York in 2015. Coming in clearly as a backup, Raanta has now created a sports radio type goaltending controversy. Vigneault slightly hinted towards one after Raanta’s third straight start.

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