Vegas Golden Knights should hijack the Caps’ bid for The King

Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images) /

There should be a last ditch attempt by the Vegas Golden Knights to lure The King to Sin City.

Future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist is set to hit NHL Free Agency for the first time in his career on Friday, and he could be a perfect fit for the Vegas Golden Knights.

After being bought out by the New York Rangers last week, Lundqvist is now a UFA and, according to multiple reports, the icon will sign with the Washington Capitals once Free Agency opens at noon ET on Friday.

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Now, granted, Washington is a logical landing spot for Lundqvist given that he could mentor Ilya Samsovov with Braden Holtby set to become a free agent himself.

But the Golden Knights and Lundqvist could also work perfectly as a short-term marriage.

Let us explain why…

Why it makes sense

The whole reason Henrik Lundqvist was bought out by the New York Rangers in the first place was because they are set for the future in goal with studs Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev.

And, while Lundqvist clearly isn’t at the peak of his powers anymore, he still has plenty to offer teams in a backup role while he has made it abundantly clear that he still harbors a burning desire to win.

Both of those factors tick big boxes for the Golden Knights who are in the middle of their Stanley Cup window, while they will be on the hunt for a backup goalie this off-season.

Robin Lehner was signed to a five-year, $25 million extension over the weekend, a move that has all but sealed the divorce between Vegas and face of the franchise Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury is now actively being shopped and it is almost certain that he and his $7 million AAV will be traded at some point this off-season.

If that is indeed the case then the Knights will carve out some cap space, while they are also kicking the tyres when it comes to trading other players according to reports.

Therefore, the Golden Knights should have room to go out and sign Lundqvist to a team-friendly deal, with the netminder likely to take a discount in order to join a team that gives him the best chance of adding a Stanley Cup to his already sublime resume.

Furthermore, there is already a tangible link connecting Lundqvist with the Golden Knights in that the 38-year-old shares a relationship with Lehner.

According to long-time New York Post writer Larry Brooks, who was on the VGK Insider Show, Lundqvist has known Lehner since Lehner was a kid and Lehner’s father was also Lundqvist’s goalie coach in Sweden.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist # 30
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist # 30 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

So, based on that nugget of info, Lundqvist and Lehner already share a pretty close relationship which would translate to a good fit both in the locker room and on the ice.

There needs to be a good relationship between starter and backup, and it would also be beneficial for Lehner to be able to study from one of the very best at his position.

Plus, at a time where starters just don’t rack up 60 plus starts anymore, it has become even more paramount for contenders to have backups they can trust and rely on and Lundqvist would be a high-end backup.

He could easily take on a 25, 30 game workload and his experience would be a huge asset in that room for the Golden Knights.

Plus, while he doesn’t have a ring Lundqvist knows what it takes to win having taken the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, three Eastern Conference Finals and 11 postseason appearances in 12 years.

He also proved in 2019-20 that he can still produce clutch saves, while his wealth of experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs could be a secret weapon for the Golden Knights too.

Ranked 6th on the NHL’s All-Time Wins list with 459, 8th all-time in games played (887), 16th all-time in shutouts (64), sixth in most career saves (23,509) and a Vezina Trophy winner in 2011-12, Lundqvist boasts one hell of a resume and there’s still something left in the tank.

And, again, he would likely accept a team-friendly deal in order to try and finish his career with a championship and a ring, so a short-term deal would make a lot of sense for both player and team.

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As such, the Vegas Golden Knights should do everything within their power to hijack the Washington Capitals and try to sign Henrik Lundqvist themselves in Free Agency.

It would be a low risk, high reward kind of deal, especially if it resulted in a Stanley Cup for the Golden Knights and The King.