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Lightning Round: Henrik Lundqvist steps away from the 2021 NHL season and Anthony Duclair signs in Florida

A heart condition will prevent Hank from hitting the ice this season.

NHL: DEC 10 Rangers at Lightning
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 10: Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24) takes a shot on New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) in the second period of the NHL game between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning on December 10, 2018 at Amalie Arena in Tampa,FL.
Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Newly minted Washington Capitals goaltender Henrik Lundqvist chose to step away from the upcoming 2021 NHL season after being diagnosed with a heart condition that needs to be healed before he can play again. Lundqvist was set to make $1.5 million on a one-year deal following his buyout from the New York Rangers.

While a small number of Caps fans are upset and feel betrayed about losing their starting goalie, there has been overwhelming support for the future hall of famer from the Washington community. By all accounts, it definitely sounds like he embraced the opportunity to play in Washington fully and was really engaging with the fans.

And just to set the record straight, Lundqvist will be on LTIR for the duration of the season, giving the Capitals $1.5 million to find a starting goalie — or at least a 1B next to Ilya Samsonov — which will not be an easy task this late in the offseason. With the free agent marked dried up and a potential for taxi squads eliminating much of the action on the waiver wire, the Capitals will need to make a trade. They can’t afford a starting goaltender under their salary cap, so the reigns are likely going to go to their rookie in net. An older backup would be the way I go. Does Steve Yzerman want to give away Jonathan Bernier for a fifth round pick?

Unlike many players who have called upon an injury to save their team from cap hell, this isn’t LTIR shenanigans or cap circumvention, it’s just a really awful situation. Lundqvist was making backup money on a one year deal, on arguably the best goalie contract in the NHL. We all hope to see Hank back in the net a year from now. He has left that door open so it’s absolutely on his radar. I hope Hank’s career doesn’t end like this, it doesn’t deserve to.

In other genuine NHL news, Anthony Duclair signed with the Florida Panthers for one year at $1.7 million. Duclair is a 30-goal scorer, so this is a great deal for the Panthers who will need fire power after losing some offensive players in free agency.

In Tampa Bay Lightning content, Anthony Cirelli finished #3 in our Top 25 Under 25 prospect ranking this winter. [Raw Charge]

“The 23-year old’s rise through the Lightning’s depth chart was swift and impressive. Coaches and fans alike quickly adored the tenacity and discipline he brought to the table in and hoped 2020 would bring an offensive breakout for the young center. That didn’t happen in the manner many thought, but a 16-goal, 44-point season in 68 games was still a strong showing. Cirelli was on pace for a 19-goal 53-point season had the NHL gone a full 82 games. Given the offensive firepower the Lightning boast, a campaign like that from their number two center is acceptable.”

Curtis McElhinney is a Stanley Cup Champion. Check out his story from guest-poster Tyler Lowey. [Raw Charge]]

“As much as he still wanted to be a No. 1 option, the league was sending him messages that perhaps that wasn’t going to be the case. He spent the next two seasons with three different organizations: the Ducks, the Ottawa Senators and the Phoenix Coyotes. Over the course of those two seasons, the London, Ont. product played in 30 games, totalling a 10-13-1 record with two shutouts; produced a respectable 2.05 goals against average and a .917 save percentage.”

The NHL is threatening to move their Canadian teams from their homes to the USA if Provincial governments don’t give them special permission to play there. I think this is just politics, but lots of people made a big stink about it. This move won’t happen if the Provinces ease restrictions as they move out of a second wave, or if just one province gives way and the Canadian division moves into one hub there.

Likely targets are once again Edmonton and Toronto as they have conservative leaders who were very kind to the NHL in what they wanted over the summer. British Columbia (Vancouver) was much more strict. Currently the two other provinces with NHL teams, Manitoba and Quebec have given their NHL teams, Winnipeg and Montreal, special permission to have training camp in those cities.

The courting between the Toronto Raptors and the city of Tampa Bay is in full swing. Lots of love flowing both ways (and hopefully no COVID?). As a proud Torontonian, don’t think for a second you can steal my team! I expect them back home by the end of the season+playoffs!

Russia has been banned from using its name, flag, and anthem at the next two Olympics, or at any men’s world championships for the next two years. Junior tournaments are not included. This was in response to the doping scandal. The initial punishment was four years, but that was whittled down in court.