Get ready for the insanity – free agency officially opens tomorrow, and while the Capitals and Bears have already made moves to shore up their restricted free agents, there are 11 others who are poised to test the waters of free agency. We will keep you updated on signings, so be sure to check back often, but until then, here’s a guide to the current status of notable Caps and Bears.
Who has signed
Before we get ahead of ourselves, here’s a look at who has already signed contracts and the basic terms of those contracts. Nathan Walker was the first to sign his new contract, but his was followed by the big news that TJ Oshie re-signed. Additionally, Hershey players Christian Djoos, Pheonix Copley, and Chandler Stephenson have all signed new deals. Finally, it was reported just about everywhere (except by the Capitals) that Brett Connolly has been re-signed as well.
- Walker – 2-years, 1.3 million (both years are two-way deals) Details
- Oshie – 8-years, 46 million Details
- Connolly – REPORTEDLY 2-years, 3 million Details
- Djoos – 2-years, 1.3 million (2017-2018 will be a two-way deal with 2018-2019 a one-way deal) Details
- Copley – 2-years, 1.3 million (2017-2018 will be a two-way deal with 2018-2019 a one-way deal) Details
- Stephenson – 2-years, 1.3 million (2017-2018 will be a two-way deal with 2018-2019 a one-way deal) Details
- Dmitry Orlov – 6-years, 30.6 million Details
- Evgeny Kuznetsov – 8-years. 62.4 million Details
RFAs who have offers
- Liam O’Brien – O’Brien is only 22 (seems like he’s been around much longer) and has seen time with the Capitals. His contract is more than likely going to look like Walker’s.
- Travis Boyd – The waivers-exempt forward who has not missed a game in two years is eligible for arbitration, but one would expect his contract to be nearly the same as the ones signed by Djoos, Copley, and Stephenson.
- Philipp Grubauer – Expect Grubauer to get a pretty big payday, but in light of the terms of Copley’s contract, it’s now got us wondering why the German has yet to sign. He is eligible for arbitration, which could be holding up the process.
- Andre Burakovsky
UPDATE – As expected, lots of money was thrown at Kuznetsov. What that means for the rest of the free agents remains to be seen, but the Caps are able to go over the salary cap during the summer, so Burakovsky and Grubauer can still get their money as well. Some roster changes will have to come before the season starts though.
- Justin Williams – As reported, Williams has apparently narrowed his list.
- Daniel Winnik – With Stephenson and Boyd both back in the fold, it’s highly unlikely that Winnik will return to the Caps. That said, an experienced third-line center is hard to replace with somewhat unproven youth.
- Karl Alzner – As reported, Alzner is drawing significant interest.
- Kevin Shattenkirk – Citing FanRagSports, Shattenkirk is likely to wind up in Dallas or the Big Apple.
- Darren Dietz – One of Hershey’s steady, but not flashy, defensemen, Dietz was not given a qualifying offer by the Caps and became a UFA.
- Tom Gilbert – Gilbert has a love for the game like no other. He doesn’t care where he’s playing, as long as he’s playing. He served as a big-time mentor for the youngsters (Djoos, Lewington, and Bowey) upon his arrival in Hershey.
- Christian Thomas – Thomas is the son of former NHL’er Steve Thomas who is currently an assistant with St. Louis. The younger Thomas has an ability to score and should find himself a contract – somewhere.
- Paul Carey – Carey is no doubt testing the waters, but this would be one guy the Caps may be interested in getting back. He’s proven that he can hold his own, but the travel between Hershey and DC is more than likely something he’d love to eliminate by earning a spot on the Caps roster full-time.
- Stan Galiev – Galiev’s career in hockey has been the equivalent of any of the roller coasters that sit adjacent to Giant Center. Originally in Hershey, he spent time in the ECHL, returned to Hershey, spent time in Washington, and ended up back in Hershey. There have been unconfirmed rumors the Russian will be in the KHL next season, but Galiev’s time with the Capitals organization has almost certainly come to a sad end.
- Garrett Mitchell – The lovable captain of the Bears is the one guy that Bears fans definitely want to see back (now that they have Bourque back in the fold). A great ambassador off the ice, Mitchell’s NHL debut touched the hearts of just about everyone.
- Cody Corbett – A relative unknown, Corbett more than likely will be headed elsewhere.
Assuming that the RFAs all sign their offers, that leaves the Capitals with two spots for forwards and one on defense. While the terms of the offers to the RFAs are still not known, CapFriendly.com puts Washington’s current cap space at 4.6 million (after Orlov’s and Kuznetsov’s signings). If O’Brien and Boyd are given offers akin to the other Hershey players, there’s still room for Washington to potentially find one more big fish (pardon the reference to the catfish from Nashville) for the roster.
For other top free agents, you can check out George Foussekis’s recent post here.
By Julie Beidler