It’s late August with training camp right around the corner, but it looks like the Washington Capitals aren’t finished trying to add to their roster. Earlier today KHL winger, Sergei Shumakov, terminated his contract with his KHL team, CSKA Moskva, making him a free agent. He can sign with any team in any league in the world if he wishes, but the reports are he wants to play in the NHL.
The New York Rangers have been mostly connected to the 25-year-old right-handed left winger, but earlier this morning Igor Eronko, a respected reporter out of Russia, said that the Caps are possible. It certainly isn’t a definite but if the Capitals can add the talented Russian it could help boost their depth.
He’s a RH LW. Caps are possible
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) August 27, 2018
It’s more than likely that if Shumakov comes to North America that he signs with the Rangers since they are not expected to be competitive this season, meaning they can give Sergei lots of playing time. The Capitals on the other hand seem set in their roster, bringing all of their Stanley Cup Champion team back besides two players (only one being a forward). It would be hard to crack the lineup of team that just won a Cup. But it’s also hard to ignore the Russian factor in Washington and the fact that they did just win the Cup. That could be very attractive to any Russian player.
Last season, Shumakov scored 40 points in 48 KHL games, which translates into 51 points in the NHL in a full 82 game season. He tied for his team lead in points and +/- (+28), was 2nd in goals (17), and 2nd in assists (23). He turns 26 next week, so he isn’t young but he isn’t old, and those numbers are impressive. There’s always a question about Europeans adjusting to the NHL game but if he could he’d certainly be a boost to any team.
If the Capitals are able to land Shumakov then it will be interesting to see how they handle the roster. If Sergei wanted to sign here he’d probably want at least 3rd line time meaning a player like Brett Connolly would probably be demoted, as he’s the weakest player in the top nine. He would be either trade bait or bumped to the 4th line, which he might not appreciate in a contract year, which would force a trade anyways.
But it’s really not worth speculating any further as these are just reports, it’s not even close to being a fact that the Capitals will sign the Russian. But if they do get their hands on him and he can translate his skill over to the NHL then the Capitals could have found a fantastic offensive boost to their already deadly lineup.
By Luke Adomanis