Washington Capitals goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said in December that he would miss the 2020-21 NHL season because of a heart condition that caused him to undergo open-heart surgery to repair the issue.
The 39-year-old said in late February that it would be “months” until he decides on his playing future, but Washington general manager Brian MacLellan explained on Friday that he could welcome the goalie back for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It would be pretty incredible if he was able to come back. I guess we’ll see where he is at the end here,” MacLellan said, per Greg Wyshynski of ESPN. “Probably unlikely, but I wouldn’t rule it out with him.”
Lundqvist spent his first 15 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers and signed a one-year deal with the Capitals in October. On Feb. 23, he tweeted a video showing he was back on the ice facing shots during a simulated practice session.
“I think it’s impressive what he’s doing. I see the videos like you guys see the videos,” MacLellan added. “I don’t know how likely or unlikely [a return] is. I mean, he had valve replacement surgery.”
It’s unknown if Lundqvist could pass a league or team physical if he wanted to return or if COVID-19 concerns would keep him sidelined through the summer months despite ongoing vaccine rollouts.