Henrik Lundqvist underwent open-heart surgery earlier this year and was hoping to return later in the 2020-21 NHL season. However, it appears the veteran netminder will remain sidelined.
Lundqvist announced Sunday that he will not join the Washington Capitals this season because his heart "isn't quite ready." He added that his checkup last week revealed inflammation around the heart that will require a few more months of rest and recovery.
Right after getting back on the ice after surgery, I made it my “stretch goal” to join @Capitals for the end of the season. Training has been going really well and I’ve been feeling good - but my heart isn’t quite ready.— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) April 11, 2021
Last week’s checkup showed some inflammation around the heart that now requires a few months more of rest and steady recovery.— Henrik Lundqvist (@hlundqvist35) April 11, 2021
While it’s not what I hoped for, I know this is all part of the process of getting back to 100%.
Lundqvist spent his entire career with the New York Rangers before signing a deal with the Capitals in free agency during the offseason. It's unclear if he'll ever step back onto the ice again. He turned 39 last month, and the only goaltenders age 38 or older still playing are Pekka Rinne, Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson and Mike Smith.
If his playing days are over, expect the former Vezina Trophy winner to return to the Rangers in an off-ice role.