Caps Free Agency Update – Who’s Coming? Who’s Going?

Photo: Washington Capitals

Dear Free Agency – enough already! In a roller-coaster of highest of highs and lowest of lows, this year’s Free Agency (including the Expansion Draft) just might be the best eight days or the worst eight days, depending on your perspective and favorite players. Here’s a look back at what has transpired so far. Departures are in red while additions are in blue to make it a bit easier. Additionally, check out the article links for more information on the contracts and tributes.

Nate Schmidt – The beloved, always smiling defenseman was selected by Las Vegas for the expansion draft. Schmidt, projected to be a top-4 defenseman for the Caps this season, has left a gaping hole in Washington’s defense that may or may not be filled with a youngster from Hershey. Schmidt becomes a Golden Knight.

Christian Djoos – The Hershey d-man has really come into his own this season. He was one of Hershey’s top scorers and one of the top scoring defensemen in the AHL after just his second season as a pro. Originally slated to be brought along a bit more slowly, Djoos along with Madison Bowey and Tyler Lewington were thrown into the fire last season as the Bears suffered blue-line injuries and all three cut their teeth and played admirably for rookies. Signing him to a relatively cheap two-year deal with a two-year clause the first year was a win for the Caps. Link to Djoos update is here.

TJ Oshie – Ohhhhshie!!!!! Wow, the 8-year deal got done and what a deal it was. By far and away the biggest news out of Caps camp for a bit. The 46 million dollar contract left some a bit worried about signing other players and the cap, but the organization was absolutely thrilled (as was Oshie’s daughter) that he was staying in Washington. Our report on Oshie re-signing is here.

Pheonix Copley – The Hershey net-minder also got a two-year deal with a one-way clause in the second year leading many to suspect that Philipp Grubauer’s days in Washington are indeed numbered. Copley has little NHL experience (two games with the Blues), but his arrival back in Hershey sparked the Bears on their playoff push. An injury in the post-season left many wondering his status, but the organization repeatedly said they were not concerned with it. Report on Copley’s new contract

Chandler Stephenson – Another Hershey contract that is a two-year deal. His contract also has a one-way clause in the second year. Stephenson, a steady-as-he-goes centerman, has seen time with the Capitals already, so the club knows exactly what they are getting with him. Full details of Stephenson’s contract

Stan Galiev – The 3rd round pick by the Capitals in 2010 announced that he intended to sign with the KHL. Our story on Stan’s departure.

Darren Dietz – He also departed for the KHL.

Dmitry Orlov – How do you follow-up the big Oshie news? Re-sign Orlov to a six-year extension. Orlov’s 30.6 million contract over the next six years also caused many to wonder how the Caps were going to come in under the salary cap. Orlov’s signing points to a possible continuation of the Niskanen-Orlov pairing. Our report on Orlov’s new deal

Anthony Peluso – This signing somehow got buried in all the hype with Orlov’s signing and the insanity of the Kuznetsov/Johansson news the following day. Not much is known about the former Winnipeg Jet, but the deal is a one-year, two-way deal. Report

Kevin Shattenkirk – The d-man signed a four-year, 26.6 million dollar deal with the New York Rangers.

Paul Carey – Carey also signed a deal with the New York Rangers. His is a two-year deal. Report on Carey’s departure

Brett Connolly – Perhaps the worst-kept secret in the organization. Reports of Connolly’s signing were out about a week before the club officially announced it Saturday. Early report on Connolly’s deal

Karl Alzner – Alzner reached a five-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens, a move that left many Caps fans saddened, but happy for Alzner to have a shot somewhere else. Click here for our fan tribute to Alzner.

Justin Williams – Mr. Game 7 rejoined the Carolina Hurricanes in a deal that is reportedly for two-years and 9 million. Williams departure story  and tribute

Evgeny Kuznetsov – Just when you think the big news out of Washington can’t get any bigger – Kuzy’s contract for 8-years and 62.4 million got the hockey world buzzing. How in the world were the Caps going to sign the remainder of their team with so little wiggle room under the salary cap. The answer came pretty swiftly. Signing of Kuznetsov 

Marcus Johansson – In an effort to make cap space, the Caps sent their 1st round pick from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to the New Jersey Devils for a pair of picks (2nd and 3rd rounds) in next year’s draft. Less than 24 hours later, Brian MacLellan explained via conference call that the Caps only options were to sign Kuzy and trade away some salary cap or allow Kuzy to leave. Fan tribute to MoJo and Press release

Devante Smith-Pelly – Early Monday morning, with the dust still settling on the Kuznetsov/Johansson news, word came that Smith-Pelly signed with the club. It is a one-year, two-way deal. The Caps will be the fourth NHL team that Smith-Pelly has played for since being drafted in 2010 by the Anaheim Ducks. Click here for our report on Smith-Pelly signing.

John Albert – Picking off another rather cheap former Winnipeg Jet, the Caps signed the forward to a one-year, two-way deal just like Peluso. Our report on John Albert signing

Andre Burakovsky – signed 2-year/$ 6 million deal Our report

Travis Boyd – The Hershey center who has not missed a game in two full seasons with the Bears and has scored over 50 points both seasons returns with a one-year/two-way deal. Our article (with links to previous articles concerning Boyd including an interview with him) is here.

Additionally, Nathan Walker renewed his contract back in June and the Caps also signed former Minnesota Wild center Tyler Graovac right before the Expansion Draft.

By Julie Beidler

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