Here is the latest from the Washington Capitals rumor mill and other assorted musings from around the league for June 6th, 2018.
John Carlson – News broke this week that the Arizona Coyotes are working hard to re-sign their star-defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, with current contract negotiations around $8.25 million per year. The Coyote’s hard-push for OEL will likely impact John Carlson’s offers this summer, as the two defensemen are quite similar in stats and value. Most believe Carlson will rightfully be valued north of Ekman-Larsson’s final deal value. As we stated in last week’s rumors roundup, GM’s are already bowing out of the pending Carlson bidding war, claiming he’s already “too rich for my blood”.
Barry Trotz – Caps Head Coach Barry Trotz held a conference call with members of the press before the team departed for Las Vegas on Wednesday. On the call, Trotz referenced last summer as a defining moment in his coaching career. “I went through a few things last summer that gave me some real good clarity on how I define myself or how I define people. It’s given me a real clarity. This is a time to enjoy,” Trotz said Wednesday. “Live in the moment.” Trotz has kept the details of what he personally endured last summer private. According to Sportsnet, “In the summer of 2017, the Presidents’ Trophy–winning Capitals were ousted in Round 2 by playoff nemesis Pittsburgh for the second consecutive spring. There were rumblings that Trotz’s decision to dress seven defencemen when things started going sideways in the Penguins series did not sit well with everybody. Reirden was reportedly prevented from interviewing for the head jobs in Florida and Buffalo.”
Devante Smith-Pelly – According to the National Post’s Michael Traikos, Devante Smith-Pelly re: visiting the White House should the Capitals win the Stanley Cup: “The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist. Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross … It hasn’t come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up.” Brooks Orpik was asked who will decide if the team visits the White House. “Probably Ovechkin,” said Orpik. “After all, he’s the team’s leader.” “If the best person on the team comes out and says (he’s going), even if there was a smaller guy on the team who didn’t agree with it, he doesn’t have the platform to stand up to him,” Orpik said. “It will definitely be interesting to see how it would play out.”
Philipp Grubauer – The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are both eyeing the Washington Capitals in hopes of solving their goaltending woes. Both teams have already shown interest in Capitals backup Philipp Grubauer, a source indicated to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. Grubauer is a restricted free agent at the end of this season. With the signing of top goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov in the past month, the writing is likely on the wall for Grubauer. It will come down to what the Capitals want in a sign/trade scenario, and if they are willing to trade him within the Metropolitan division.
Todd Reirden – According to ESPN, Reirden is a potential candidate for the coaching vacancy with the Islanders. “In a NHLPA player poll, Reirden finished second to D.J. Smith (Maple Leafs) as the current assistant coach who should be a head coach next. And hey, the Capitals agreed — they were clearly grooming Reirden as Trotz’s successor. Washington had been territorial over the 46-year-old Reirden, blocking him from interviewing for head coaching vacancies last offseason (the Caps promoted him to associate head coach a year earlier).” “It might be too awkward for Reirden to stay on under Trotz if the latter is re-upped. Reirden has seen what it takes to win the Metropolitan Division; perhaps he can use that intel to boost the Islanders.” Its still not clear if Reirden would be allowed to interview.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Karl Alzner – So how does Alzner, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft by Washington, feel about watching his former team move within one win of glory? According to Sportsnet, “Super jealous,” he told Dean ‘Boomer’ Molberg on 960 the FAN in Calgary. “You’re jealous of any team that wins the Cup regardless of if you know anybody on the team, don’t know anybody, lost against them, doesn’t matter. You want it to be you that’s got that chance.” Alzner said “I know pretty much everybody on that team, but I’ve got legitimately 10-15 really good friends on that team. To be able to see them most likely win, I think at least, that’s gonna be a pretty cool feeling. I know the struggles the team and the city have gone through with some upsets so I can only imagine how happy everybody is going to be. That, to me, is a little bit of a bonus, something that puts your mind at ease.”
Stanley Cup Television Ratings – According to Sports Media Watch, “Despite the first decline of the series in Game 4, Stanley Cup Final ratings continue to trend above previous years. Game 4 was the first of the series to decline from last year. The first three each hit three-year highs. Despite the drop, ratings and viewership were the third-highest for a Game 4 since 2002 (Red Wings-Hurricanes: 3.5, 5.1M), behind last year and 2013 (Blackhawks-Bruins: 3.8, 6.5M). Keep in mind it was only the ninth Game 4 on broadcast television over that span.”
Salary Cap – According to Pierre Lebrun, A recent “hearing that projected escrow for this season could drop to 8 percent; players have been paying 11.5 escrow all year. If it does end up at 8 percent, that’s a big drop from the 13.4 percent escrow rate of 2015-16 season. The Final HRR math still not finalized for 2016-17 season.” If the numbers hold true, the salary cap for the coming season could be on the higher end of the $78-82 million recently estimated.
By Jon Sorensen