The Busy Summer Ahead for the Capitals and Their Free Agents: What Will They Cost?

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After another second-round playoff exit, it will be a long summer ahead for the Washington Capitals.  The Caps two-year window with this current group of players has come to an end and there will be a few changes made to the roster over the next few months.

The Capitals have a handful of restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents and plenty of choices to make during the summer.  GM Brian MacLellan must spend his remaining cap space wisely and he must make some tough personnel decisions.

Let’s examine the Capitals upcoming restricted and unrestricted free agents.  Let’s take a glimpse as to how much they could command on their next deals.

Numbers Courtesy: CapFriendly

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

EVGENY KUZNETSOV
Age: 24
Expiring Contract: 2-year, $6 million
New Contract Projection: 2-6 years, $4-6 million per year

Analysis: Despite Kuznetsov posting back-to-back seasons of 50+ points, this next contract for him could either be another bridge deal or a long-term deal.  While Kuznetsov gets a good number of points, he is not utilized on the Capitals top powerplay unit or any penalty killing unit.  Because he is not used in all situations, that will likely keep his contract figures down a bit.

ANDRE BURAKOVSKY
Age: 22
Expiring Contract: 3-year ELC, $2.775 million
New Contract Projection: 1-3 years, $1-2 million per year

Analysis: Burakovsky ended the season with 12 goals and 35 points.  He struggled at various points during the season, and sometimes became a healthy scratch.  Like Kuznetsov, he is not used in all situations for the Capitals.  Burakovsky is likely in for a bridge deal, and should be inexpensive for the Capitals to re-sign.

BRETT CONNOLLY
Age: 25
Expiring Contract: 1-year, $850k
New Contract Projection: 1-2 years, $1-2 million per year

Analysis: Connolly was a bargain buy for GM Brian MacLellan last summer.  Connolly put up 15 goals and 23 points for the Capitals during the regular season.  While Connolly may not be in the Capitals long term plans, he may have earned a bit of a pay raise with a good performance this season.

DMITRY ORLOV
Age: 25
Expiring Contract: 1-year, $2.570 million
New Contract Projection: 2-7 years, $3-5 million per year

Analysis: Orlov made improvements to his game, and he earned more icetime from Barry Trotz’s staff.  He was 4th among Capitals defensemen in total time on ice.  On special teams, Orlov’s minutes came mainly on the Capitals 2nd powerplay unit.  Because of Orlov’s minutes increase, he is in for a pay raise and a longer deal.

NATE SCHMIDT
Age: 25
Expiring Contract: 2-year, $1.625 million
New Contract Projection: 1-3 years, $2-3 million per year

Analysis: Schmidt will likely remain on the Capitals third pairing heading in to next season.  He finished with 3 goals and 17 points in 2016-17.

PHILIPP GRUBAUER
Age: 25
Expiring Contract: 2-year, $1.5 million
New Contract Projection: 2-4 years, $2-3 million per year

Analysis: Grubauer is a possible target for Las Vegas in the upcoming expansion draft.  If he is claimed by the Golden Knights, he could end up becoming their starter and future in net.  If Grubauer remains in DC, he will likely sign a short-term deal, but receive a slight increase in pay.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

T.J. OSHIE
Age: 30
Expiring Contract: 5-year, $20.875 million
New Contract Projection: 6-7 years, $6-7 million per year

Analysis: If Oshie hits the open market, there will be plenty of suitors for him.  Oshie set a career high with 33 goals this season and finished the season with 56 points.  Comparable players that hit the open market last summer landed 6 or 7 year deals and at least $6 million dollars per year.

JUSTIN WILLIAMS
Age: 35
Expiring Contract: 2-year, $6.5 million
New Contract Projection: 2-3 years, $2-3 million per year

Analysis: Williams’ status with the Capitals is not clear.  If he remains with the club, he will likely be in a reduced role.  He finished this season with 24 goals and 48 points.

DANIEL WINNIK
Age: 32
Expiring Contract: 2-year, $4.5 million
New Contract Projection: 2-3 years, $1-2.5 million per year

Analysis: Winnik provided the Capitals with excellent penalty killing and production from the 4th line.  He set a career high with 12 goals this season.

PAUL CAREY
Age: 28
Expiring Contract: 1-year, $575k
New Contract Projection: 1-2 years, $600-800k per year

Analysis: Carey saw more time in Hershey than in Washington.  He played in 6 games for the Capitals this season, but did not register any points.

KARL ALZNER
Age: 28
Expiring Contract: 4-year, $11.2 million
New Contract Projection: 4-6 years, $4-6 million per year

Analysis: Alzner played in all 82 games for the Capitals and ranked 3rd among all Capitals defensemen in time on ice.  He eats a lot of minutes for the Capitals and is one of their key penalty killers.  He is in line for a raise, but some injuries in the last couple of playoffs have slowed him down a bit.

KEVIN SHATTENKIRK
Age: 28
Expiring Contract: 4-year, $17 million
New Contract Projection: 6-7 years, $6-7 million per year

Analysis: Shattenkirk helped spark the Capitals powerplay late in the season.  Between splitting time with the Blues and Capitals, he finished the season with 13 goals and 56 points.  He reportedly turned down a trade to Tampa Bay during the season, as the Lightning likely would have offered him a 7-year, $42 million deal.  He will have plenty of suitors if he hits the open market.

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.
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3 Responses to The Busy Summer Ahead for the Capitals and Their Free Agents: What Will They Cost?

  1. Pingback: Oshie: “I love it here” | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Solving the Brooks Orpik Puzzle | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: As it Currently Stands, Karl Alzner Has Likely Played His Last Game as A Capital | NoVa Caps

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