Sure, the 2016 NHL Entry Draft is behind us. And yes, the Capitals made a few interesting moves, trades, and picks. Of course GM Brian MacClellan has stated for the umpteenth time that the Capitals will not be key players in free agency, nor should we expect trades of existing players, and that he (GMBM) wants to lock up the four RFAs currently lingering in the wind (Wilson, Latta, Johansson, Orlov).
Given all of the factors and ruminations above, here’s a look at the Capitals opening night 2016-2017 roster possibilities and how they all fit under the $73M salary cap. The standard active roster rules apply: 23 man roster, LTIR may be replaced, must be under $73.0M (ceiling), must be above $54.0M (floor).
So without pursuing another center (i.e., Darren Helm), or a 25-30 goal scoring Left Wing for the second line (Andrew Ladd, Thomas Vanek, Loui Eriksson), and no changes to the defense; here goes this Armchair GMs view (given what we’ve heard from the team and media).
Note: I’m going to slot folks where I think they belong in the depth chart, so feel free to comment. Format is: Position – Name, cap hit, and UFA/RFA Status Year.
Left Wing – Alex Ovechkin, $9.538M, UFA 2021
Center – Evgeny Kuznetsov, $3.000M, RFA 2017
Right Wing – TJ Oshie, $4.175M, UFA 2017
Left Wing – Marcus Johansson, $4.500M, (assuming re-signs 4 year deal) UFA 2020
Center – Nicklas Backstrom, $6.700M, UFA 2020
Right Wing – Justin Williams, $3.250M, UFA 2017
Left Wing – Andre Burakovsky, $0.894M, RFA 2017
Center – Lars Eller (acq. 2016 Draft trade with Montreal), $3.500M, UFA 2018
Right Wing – Tom Wilson, $1.643M, (assuming re-signs 2 year deal) RFA 2018
Left Wing – Daniel Winnik, $2.250M, UFA 2017
Center – Jay Beagle, $1.750M, UFA 2018
Right Wing – Stan Galiev, $0.575M, RFA 2017
Forward Depth / Scratches:
Nathan Walker (LW), $0.635M, RFA 2017
Chandler Stephenson (C), $0.726M, RFA 2017
Karl Alzner, $2.800M, UFA 2017
Matt Niskanen, $5.750M, UFA 2021
Brooks Orpik, $5.500M, UFA 2019
John Carlson, $3.967M, UFA 2018
Nate Schmidt, $0.813M, RFA 2017
Dmitri Orlov, $2.790M, (assuming re-signs 2 year deal) UFA 2018
Taylor Chorney, $0.800M, UFA 2018
Braden Holtby, $6.100M, UFA 2020
Philipp Grubauer, $0.750M, RFA 2017
Total Roster Size: 23 active players
Total Salary Cap Hit: $72,405,629 (bonuses due: $137,500)
Remaining Cap Space: $594,371
Key Changes from 2015-2016:
- UFA Jason Chimera not re-signed
- RFA Michael Latta not tendered qualifying offer
- Acquired Center Lars Eller from Montreal during 2016 Draft for two future 2nd Round Picks
- Promote forwards Nate Walker and Chandler Stephenson from Hershey (AHL)
You can check out this roster view by clicking here.
Plus, you too can play armchair GM with all the tools and tips at www.CapFriendly.com.
If GM MacClellan doesn’t budge from here, and the existing RFAs can make a friendly deal, this is pretty close to where the Capitals will enter next season.
ENJOY and LET’S GO CAPS! #IsItOctoberYet
By Scott Zweibel
In my mind, Walker is a stretch at this point. I think we need one more.