The Capitals made some beneficial moves this summer that should help the team contend for the Stanley Cup. While they did lose longtime defenseman Mike Green, right-wing Joel Ward, center Eric Fehr, and traded right-wing Troy Brouwer, they added some other big pieces as well.
Down on the Farm
Fine tuning of the farm system also took place. On June 2, the Capitals said goodbye to Forward Tim Kennedy and Centerman Casey Wellman, but signed Right-Winger Garrett Mitchell to a two-year, two way deal for $575,000 and $600,000 per year. On June 19th Tomas Kundratek signed a one year deal with Dinamo Riga. And on June 29th, the Capitals announced that Patrick Wey was retiring, and Goalies Brandon Anderson and Edward Pasquale would be pursuing Free Agency and not be returning to the organization.
Caps Sign Philipp Grubauer to a two-year contract
Analysis: On June 15th, the Capitals signed Goalie Grubauer to a two-year, one way deal for $650,000 and $850,000 per year. The signing made it clear that Grubauer was now the number two Goalie behind Braden Holtby, and that backup Goalie Justin Peters would likely be relegated to Hershey.
Caps sign RFA Nate Schmidt to a two-year contract
Analysis: The Caps rewarded defenseman Nate Schmidt for his perseverance through an unfortunate shoulder injury with a two-year contract shortly before July 1st. Schmidt will see regular playing time with Dmitry Orlov with the departures of Mike Green and Tim Gleason.
Capitals sign free agent right-winger Justin Williams to a two-year, $6.25 million deal
Analysis: In Williams, the Caps get a three-time Stanley Cup champion who will provide the team with a second-line right-wing to replace Brouwer. Williams recorded 41 points last season and will give head coach Barry Trotz an experienced playoff veteran. Known as Mr. Game 7 for his clutch-scoring in the bigger situations, Williams will be counted on to help the Caps get over the hump.
Capitals send right-wing Troy Brouwer, goalie prospect Pheonix Copley, and a 2016 third-round pick in exchange for right-winger TJ Oshie.
Analysis: Oshie is best-known for his Olympic heroics for Team USA in the Sochi games, but he brings more to the Caps than just shootout moves. Oshie is a good two-way player who solidifies the Caps’ top-line. Posting 55 points last year, Oshie has two more years on his current contract. At 28, he is in the prime of his career and will give Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom the right-wing they’ve lacked for so long.
Caps sign defenseman Taylor Chorney to a one-year, $700,000 contract
Analysis: Chorney is strictly a depth defenseman for Barry Trotz and the coaching staff. If need be, Chorney will be called upon to fill in for either Nate Schmidt or Dmitry Orlov if one is injured. Chorney has spent the majority of his career in the AHL but did play in seven games with the Pittsburgh Penguins last season.
Goalie Braden Holtby signs a five-year, $30.5 million contract
Analysis: The Caps had been searching for the franchise netminder they’d been lacking since Olaf Kolzig left in 2008 and they got it in Holtby. The former fourth-round pick emerged in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs as a viable successor to Kolzig. Holtby set a career-high with 41 wins this past season and his playoff performance was one of the best in recent memory. After going to arbitration, Holtby and the Caps agreed to a new deal before a ruling was made.
Capitals sign forward Zach Sill to a one-year contract
Analysis: Sill, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs, signed with Washington to a one-year, two-way contract. Sill is known for being an enforcer-type player and gives the Caps depth up front. Sill will likely bolster senior leadership in Hershey for 2015-2016.
Caps sign defenseman Ryan Stanton to a one-year, two-way contract
Analysis: Stanton posted seven points last season with the Vancouver Canucks. He was signed as a veteran defenseman for the Hershey Bears, whose blueline is filled with youngsters such as Madison Bowey and Tyler Lewington. Stanton will provide Bears’ coach Troy Mann with a veteran presence to help lead the younger players.
Capitals draft Ilya Samsonov, Jonas Siegenthaler, Connor Hobbs, and Colby Williams
Analysis: All of these players are a long way from playing in the NHL but will provide the team with young talent down the road. Hobbs is a right-handed offensive-minded defenseman who looks to be a good player in the future. Williams and Siegenthaler also offer a lot of promise as does Samsonov, whose playing style has been compared to Sergei Bobrovsky.
Caps sign forward Marcus Johansson to one-year, $3.75 million contract
Analysis: After a long, excruciating arbitration process, Mojo and the team were able to come to terms on a settlement. Johansson’s future in Washington seems a bit cloudier after this season. However, Mojo has a definitive third-line role this year and he must prove he’s worth more than his new salary if he wants to get paid handsomely. It should be an interesting year for Johansson.
Summary of Free Agent Transactions
by Michael Fleetwood and Jon Sorensen