Henrik Lundqvist wants to play again; is there a path to return to the Rangers

Henrik Lundqvist was unceremoniously let go by the New York Rangers. After 15 years starring on Broadway, he was bought out in September of last year.

It was more a matter of circumstances with the need for cap space, and the desire to keep both their young goalies going forward.

The King bounced back quickly signing a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals with one simple goal in mind – win the Stanley Cup.

Heartbreak for Lundqvist

The 39 year-old future first ballot hall-of-famer signed a one-year deal with Capitals after being bought out by the Rangers. Sadly, it was determined during camp after a series of medical tests that he had to have an Aortic Valve replacement.

Henrik issued an emotional statement that he could not play last season.

“It breaks my heart (literally) to share this news: I will not be joining the Capitals this upcoming season,” Lundqvist said in a personal statement on Thursday released via Twitter. “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, so I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.”

Lundqvist still wants to play

will henrik lundqvist play
Jan 19, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) celebrates with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) after their 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Henrik Lundqvist tried to make a comeback this past April after having open heart surgery. “Right after getting back on the ice after surgery, I made it my “stretch goal” to join the Capitals for the end of the season,” he wrote on Social Media. “Training has been going really well and I’ve been feeling good – but my heart isn’t quite ready.”

His goal remains the same. He wants to play.

Bob McKenzie reported that the legendary goalie wants to come back for the upcoming season. Heading into free agency last week, Lundqvist was not available to be signed as he’s yet to receive medical clearance.

Return of the King: A dream scenario

Is there a path for Henrik Lundqvist to return to the Rangers and rightfully play his last game for the only team he’s ever known?

There seems to be a possibility.

According to insider Frank Seravalli, Alexandar Georgiev is rumored to want a change of scenery. USA Today reporter, Vince Mercogliano reached out to Alexandar Georgiev’s agent, Mike Liut to ask about his “trade request.” The response he received was that no request was made.

“I think we’re splitting hairs here,” Seravalli responded to that report. “”Official” versus “unofficial” trade request. Is “open to a move” really all that different? Does it matter if the Rangers are equally “open to a move” because Georgiev may not be a unanimously well-liked teammate?”

So if the Blueshirts move Georgiev, there’s a growing belief they could bring back The King for one more season and give him the proper send off he deserves. Henrik already has a job with the organization when his playing career is over.

“I’ll be a part of the Rangers for the rest of my life, in one way or another. Both I and the Rangers have been clear about that. That’s how it will be,” Lundqvist said a Swedish interview. “I don’t know if the role will be small or if there will be something more. It is further ahead. It’s all about timing. It’s just not now.”

A year ago, no one imagined a scenario where his return could be on the ice with pads. Should Georgiev be traded, that would be one hurdle removed from his return. Another hurdle would be beating out Keith Kinkaid for the backup role to Igor Shesterkin.

Although in reality a much bigger obstacle to a fairy tale story remains.

Henrik Lundqvist must first receive medical clearance. A huge mountain to climb, but one that many hope he will overcome.

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