Even though we are knee-deep in the Capitals Postseason run, with Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, there have been a few other news items that have surfaces in recent days. Here is the latest roundup of rumors and other news bites for the Capitals and the League for May 30th, 2018.
According to Elliotte Friedman in his weekly “31 Thoughts” column, one former Capital said recently, “If you could write a book about what happened internally from the minute they lost to Pittsburgh last year until now, you’d have a best-seller.” This is an intriguing comment on several fronts. Who is the former Capital that made the comment, and what kind of chaos ensued following the Pittsburgh loss last season? We’ll leave it at that, for now, but suspect some this will become clear over the summer. You can’t argue with the results.
Tom Wilson, Philipp Grubauer – We learned during Stanley Cup media day on Sunday that following Vegas’ selection of Capitals’ defenseman Nate Schmidt in the Vegas expansion draft last summer, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan contacted Vegas GM George McPhee about re-acquiring Schmidt in a trade. According to the Washington Post, McPhee set a pretty high bar, asking for Tom Wilson and Philipp Grubauer in return, knowing Washington would not accept the trade offer. Wilson (24) and Grubauer (26) are both restricted free agents at the end of the season. Nate Schmidt will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.
Barry Trotz – Barry Trotz, whose current contract with the Capitals expires at the end of this season, has gone the entire season without any negotiations for a new deal. What started as a smart play by Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has now seen power shift to the other side of the table. Trotz, who is reportedly making $1.55 million per year on his current 4-year deal, is now holding all of the cards following the Capitals deep run in the playoffs, with arguably less talent than previous seasons. There have been various reports that Trotz, 55, may retire at the end of this season. However, should he decide to continue his coaching career with the Capitals, it will likely cost the Caps a lot more money than it would have last September. It’s likely Trotz’s call from this point forward.
John Carlson – There have been a number of reports that John Carlson’s street value this summer could be around $8 million per year. Pierre McGuire said in an interview with the NHL network that Carlson will get north of $8M per cause there will be a bidding war for him, says one GM has already informed him he is out cause of the cost.
Stanley Cup Final Ticket Prices – According to CNN money, tickets for the final are the most expensive ever recorded, averaging $1,983 for the series, according to TicketIQ, which has tracked tickets since 2011. In comparison, the average price for a “get in” ticket — a metric ticket sites use to aggregate the cheapest prices — to any of the NBA Finals games cost $390. That’s the lowest they’ve been in the past four years.
Game 2 Seating Worries – Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley told a Vegas Sports Biz reporter that he wants to break up Capitals fans in their arena tonight. (More on this here). Foley has directed team management to split up ticket groupings on Stubhub, the team’s secondary ticket sales partner. Foley believes 2,000 Caps fans attended Game 1, or approximately 11.5% of the arena. T-Mobile Arena holds 17,500 for hockey. #WeAreEveryWhere
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Seattle Expansion – Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Monday that the board of governors could address Seattle’s expansion application “in the fall or early winter at the latest,” confirming that reports of a potential vote in June are “absolutely not true.” “We are not there yet,” Bettman told reporters. “There are a number of bases that we have to touch, a lot of due diligence to do and a lot of interaction with prospective ownership. Bettman was also asked about future expansion rules (for Seattle). Bettman has remained clear that the same expansion rules created for Las Vegas would be in place if there was another team added. Bettman was asked if there has been any pushback from current owners. Bettman states “No push-back whatsoever”.
Goalie Equipment – According to Elliotte Friedman, “The Competition Committee met Thursday in New York City, and out of that came news that goalies will be expected to wear the updated chest protectors in 2018–19. The tighter pants became mandatory in February 2017, and the chest pieces were supposed to follow last year. That didn’t happen because the manufacturers couldn’t get it done. Now, at last, we are there. I don’t have the specific measurements, but the new designs are sloped at the shoulders, less “boxy” overall and more contoured along the body, and have thinner elbows/forearms.”
Business and Marketing – According to Sports Business Daily, starting next season, the NHL & teams will be selling on-ice advertising in the four rink corners. The concept was tested at All-Star Game in Tampa, at preseason games in China, and has been (quietly) approved by the league for next season.
By Jon Sorensen