Henrik Lundqvist forced to back out of 2020-21 season due to heart condition

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Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will not be joining the Capitals after all, sharing the heartbreaking news Thursday that a heart condition will keep him sidelined in 2020-21.

“It breaks my heart (literally) to share this news,” Lundqvist began a social media post. “I will not be joining the Capitals this upcoming season. After many weeks of tests and conversations with specialists around the country, it’s been determined that a heart condition will prevent me from taking the ice.”

“Together, we have decided that the risk of playing before remedying my condition is too high,” he continued. “So I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.”

The 38-year-old goaltender signed a one-year deal with the Capitals in October, after being bought out of his previous contract with the Rangers.

Lundqvist was expected to play in a more limited role than he’s accustomed to in Washington, serving as the primary backup and veteran mentor to 23-year-old netminder Ilya Samsonov, who’s entering his second season with the Capitals.

This is a shocking blow to the Capitals, who had strong chances to contend for the Stanley Cup this season. Washington allowed longtime goaltender Braden Holtby to depart in free agency. Lundqvist's arrival on a much more affordable deal is a big reason why.