Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan didn’t rule out goalie Henrik Lundqvist returning to the team this season after undergoing open-heart surgery in January.
“It would be pretty incredible if he was able to come back. I guess we’ll see where he is at the end here,” MacLellan said on Friday. “Probably unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out with him.”
Lundqvist, 39, signed a one-year deal with the Capitals last offseason after spending 15 seasons with the New York Rangers. But before he played a game with Washington, Lundqvist announced he was “unable to join the team this season” and would undergo aortic valve replacement, aortic root and ascending aortic replacement surgery.
Lundqvist shared videos recently showing him back on the ice and practicing in goal.
“I think it’s impressive what he’s doing. I see the videos like you guys see the videos,” MacLellan said. “I don’t know how likely or unlikely [a return] is. I mean, he had valve replacement surgery.”
The Capitals’ training staff has been in contact with Lundqvist since his surgery, monitoring his health.
The veteran goalie tweeted on Feb. 25 that going to the rink again was a rewarding experience.
“My health is obviously my No. 1 priority. It will be months before I can make any decisions regarding my future after more tests and conversations with doctors,” he said. “The one thing I do know with 100 percent certainty is that I still love the game.”
The Capitals’ primary goalie this season has been rookie Vitek Vanecek (11-5-3), with expected starter Ilya Samsonov limited to six games after contracting COVID-19 in January. Samsonov has appeared in three games since returning and won both of his starts.
“They’re young guys,” MacLellan said of his goalies. “I think we need a bigger sample size from Samsonov to see where he’s at. We’ll monitor for the next month and see where he’s at.”
Published: 2021-03-12 23:21:01
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