Post Draft Countdown to July 1: What Do We Know Now About the Capitals?

brian-maclellan-washington-capitals

With the 2016 NHL Draft now in the history books, the Washington Capitals will look to improve their club during the NHL Free Agency Period.  The NHL free agency period begins on July 1 and it always provides plenty of excitement during the summer.

So what have we learned about the Washington Capitals after the NHL Draft?  What can we expect from the Capitals as they head into the Free Agency period?  Let’s take a look at how their lineup is shaping up, and what other moves could be made to improve the club.

MEET THE NEW 3rd LINE CENTER: LARS ELLER

During the NHL Draft, the Capitals made a deal with the Montreal Canadiens and acquired forward Lars Eller for two 2nd round draft picks (2017 and 2018).

Eller, 27, spent the last six seasons in Montreal.  In 2015-16, he tallied 13 goals and 26 points in 79 games.  He also won 50.6% of his draws.

Eller is expected to slot in the Capitals 3rd line center position, a spot that was shared by players like Mike Richards and Jay Beagle throughout 2015-16 season.  With Eller slotting in this role, it should bump Jay Beagle back down to the 4th line center spot.

Barry Trotz will most likely utilize Eller in all kinds of situations.  He will become a fixture on the Capitals penalty kill, and he might get some powerplay time on the Capitals 2nd unit.

NEWS ON THE RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

The Washington Capitals have a few restricted free agents that are up for contract renewals.  Today, the Capitals announced that qualifying offers were not given to Michael Latta, Ryan Stanton, and Caleb Herbert.  These players will become unrestricted free agents.

Meanwhile, the Capitals qualified Marcus Johansson, Tom Wilson, and Dmitry Orlov.

CAP SPACE

With the recent acquisition of Eller, the Capitals are sitting with close to $11 million in cap space.  This remaining cap space will mostly be eaten up by the contracts of the restricted free agents.

PROJECTED CONTRACTS FOR RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Marcus Johansson: 4-6 years; $4-5.5 million cap hit
Tom Wilson: 1-3 years; $1-2 million cap hit
Dmitry Orlov: 1-2 years; $2-4 million cap hit

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES

-Marcus Johansson and Dmitry Orlov have arbitration rights.  This process could stretch out a few weeks for both players.  Johansson will likely be seeking a long term deal, while Orlov will probably take another bridge deal.

-Jason Chimera’s status with the Capitals is still up in the air.  He is an unrestricted free agent this summer and he is coming off a solid 20-goal campaign.  Could he be on the outside looking in as the Capitals continue to tweak their bottom-six rotation?  Chimera will most likely have to take a huge discount on his next contract if he wants to stay in Washington.

-With Michael Latta’s departure, the Capitals will most likely keep his roster spot open for players like Chandler Stephenson, Riley Barber, or Jakub Vrana.  There is a good chance that one or two of these players could make the Capitals opening night roster.

-When free agency opens, the Capitals will probably stay fairly quiet.  If they make any more moves, they will look to add depth guys to their forward and defense group.  The Capitals need to get a little quicker in both areas of their lineup, but they do not necessarily have to make a major splash in order to improve their roster.

By: George Foussekis

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
This entry was posted in Salary Cap and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Post Draft Countdown to July 1: What Do We Know Now About the Capitals?

  1. jonmsorensen says:

    Good update, George. As per Eller, Two second-round picks seems a bit much, but if this truly is the last year in our window, we need to load-up.

  2. Michael Fleetwood says:

    I agree that Eller will see some penalty kill time but I think it’s unlikely he’ll get to play on the power play, especially if Chimera returns and/or Burakovsky gets some chances. I have a feeling Chimera won’t ask for too big a raise, considering he is 37. He brings everything the Caps want: speed, solid offensive play, and would continue to stabilize the bottom-six.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.