Summer To-Do List: Capitals Management Has Some Tough Decisions To Make As They Manage the Salary Cap


The Washington Capitals management team is gearing up for long summer once again.  After spending last summer with the Stanley Cup, the Capitals front office brass will look to improve a club that was bounced early in the first round of the postseason.

While the Capitals were certainly one of the best teams in the league, changes to the roster will need to be made for the club to get back to the Stanley Cup Final.  Every NHL General Manager makes the tough decisions during the NHL Draft and Free Agency periods.

The Capitals have a roster that is built to contend and built to win now.  The Capitals window for winning a Stanley Cup is still open, but they must tweak the roster a bit for next season.

General Manager Brian MacLellan and his staff must make some tough decisions on some of the Capitals key roster players.

What are some of the biggest decisions Brian MacLellan must make?  Which players will need new contract extensions?  Which players might the Capitals lose in free agency?

Let’s dive in to some of the biggest decisions of the Capitals offseason:


It is a no-brainer that Vrana is a lock to remain on the roster for next season and beyond.  Vrana will likely need a lengthy contract extension that will keep him in the mix for the foreseeable future.  Vrana’s contract is priority #1 for the Capitals, as Vrana is a young core piece moving forward.


This is where it will get dicey for the Washington Capitals.  On July 1, Holtby and Backstrom will be eligible for contract extensions.  Holtby will be 30 years old next September, and Backstrom will be 32 years old next November.

Both players are a part of the Capitals core, and both will likely seek raises on their current deals.  The tricky part to each respective player’s deal will be the term.  The Capitals must be careful with these new deals as both players will likely hit the down-swing of their careers at some point in the future.


Orpik has been a leader for the Capitals ever since his arrival.  It is still unknown if Orpik will choose to retire or continue his hockey career.  Orpik was offered a performance incentive-based contract last summer to remain in DC, so if he does choose to continue his hockey career, he could likely face the same kind of deal this summer.


Burakovsky and Connolly were key contributors to the Capitals Stanley Cup run in 2018.  Connolly posted career numbers in 2019, as he recorded 22 goals and 46 points.  Burakovsky has continued to struggle with on-ice consistency, but he is a restricted-free agent.  Connolly will likely be in line for a nice payday on the open market as an unrestricted free-agent, but the Capitals management will certainly make him an offer to try and retain him.

The salary cap is likely to be set around $84 million next season, so the Capitals are going to have to be careful with every dollar they spend on players.

By: George Foussekis

About George Foussekis

I am a sports fanatic. I love hockey and football, and I enjoy writing about my two favorite sports. I am a proud Old Dominion University alum.
This entry was posted in Draft, Free Agency, Lineups, Management, News, Roster Moves, Salary Cap, Teams, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Summer To-Do List: Capitals Management Has Some Tough Decisions To Make As They Manage the Salary Cap

  1. Anonymous says:

    We’re going to have these articles til contracts are done but its simple really..

    Bye bye Conno go get your $$$ 4-5 years 4mil+ from some team needing a 20 goal guy in the top 6. Oilers, 1 of those types. Burakovsky he will be non tendered bc 3mil for 12goals or whatever is too expensive. Now if GMBM can get him to agree to a deal like 2mil or so he might be back, but again Im thinking a Oilers type team sees a top 6 sniper and will pay 4mil+ and give him 18-20minutes per game and he’ll snipe 20+goals.

    Brooks Orpik thats simple, either he wants to play or not. And if he does Caps would have him back for 1mil, 1yr. You still need vet presence, leadership on and off the ice especially playoff time. More then worth it for 1mil.

    Hofrs- Ov,Backy,Holtby. Ov is next year but you give him a 5 year extension at similar 9-10mil rate.
    Goal scoring does not go away. Every year I listen to idiots who cover this team, who supposedly know hockey&sports say OVs dead etc yet he wins Rockets. Get it through your moron skulls all of you. Jagr played til 43-44, Thornton is 40 playing, Tom Brady, Drew Brees into their 40s playing arguably hardest position in sports, QB. Ov still has a couple 50 goal seasons left& multiple 40 goal seasons.
    As far as Backy you extend him 7-8 years around 7mil, til 38-39 and like goal scoring, a great passer doesnt go away. Nick will crank out 50 assists a year& around 20 goals aslong as hes splitting time between 1st 2 lines& getting that OV&Backy connection. Then Oshie&Vrana.

    As for Holtby extend him 5-6 years 7mil-ish. Great goalies prime years we’ve seen go to 35-36 Lundqvuist, Rinne, Bobby Lou, these guys play late into their 30s 55-60 games. Holtby is that guy a hof caliber netminder, 5 straight 30 W seasons, most wins since becoming starter in nhl, 4 straight divison titles&SC.. All this doesnt happen without 70. So you dont hand the franchise over to a u known bc hes a hot prospect. I said this look at archrival pit, they havent been the same since losing Flower hof goalie to Vegas. As good as murray is, hes been shaky where Flower has been dominant. So if you have a hof goalie& caps have 1 you pay him.

    Now if Holtby goes rogue& asks for 10mil ok maybe you cant do that but I think Backy&Holtby know the cap situation here&OV wilk always be highest paid until he retires. So they would be more then fine with numbers in 7mil range

    • hockeydruid says:

      Winning Rockets is nice but the game is about Winning Stanleys!! I dont know if Ovie has a couple of 50 goal seasons left. If he cant go to the All Star game because he needs the rest yet he can go play in an International Tournament after the season I think his priorities are wrong. I see him playing out his contract here and going back to Russia and playing in the KHL for mega tax free bucks. After all the Caps would have to offer him $11 or 12 mil a year and that would break the bank and the cap and rally hurt the team. YOu have to play and pay 23 players not just a couple and the rest get minimum salary. And Ovie isnt going to go from making $10 mil a year to $7 a year just to stay here in DC. Offer Holtby a 2-3 year deal and it does not include a no trade clause and then put him up for the expansion draft next summer. Start the 20-21 season with Vanecek and Samsonov in goal. Carolina showed what youth and speed can do. This team has to make some changes and get younger, faster and try some new things on the power play and get better defensively. Finally Bruce orpik should be asked to become a coach.

  2. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Hi George, excellent analysis!
    The Caps’ major decisions are on defense. Caps defense let them down this season. The “Locks” on Caps defense are Carlson, Orlov, Kempny and Jensen. Whence come the other two or three? N and O from Pittsburgh have done great work in DC, but they need to move on, either to the Penguins’ Hall of Fame or rebuilding teams. Much hand-wringing that Caps have few “scoring forward prospects” but they have a CRUSH of defensive ones in the Minor Leagues / Junior. The NHL defenseman free-agent and trade market will be warm-to-hot this summer. GMBM: Let’s bring in some fresh D-men, the next terrifying D-monster that the Caps haven’t had since Scott Stevens.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would trade H… Nisky could go to the Oilers… Conno will go to Van

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  5. hockeydruid says:

    I agree in trading Holtby BUT after the expansion draft. You have to put up one goalie and let them put up Holtby and go with Vanecek and Samsonov the following year. As for Connolly if the price is right. Varna is a must sign. Guys like Burakovsky, Orlov, Nisky, Stephenson and Boyd are trade bait. The last two really have not impressed so far. DSP is gone and hopefully forgotten. Time to look at giving guys like Barber, O’Brien, Gerisch, Pinho, Sutter and Sgarbossa a shot. Sadly you cant keep resigning players to contracts for big money and still be competitive in this league. Yes I like the guys we have and would miss seeing Ovie, Holtby and Backy playing however with the salary cap the way it is you cant keep giving players big contracts and have nothing left for the rest of the team except entry level amounts. Maybe with expansion coming we can dump a BIG contract and get some relief. Yes players are playing longer but are they playing longer and being productive? In Jagr last 7 years he played for 8 teams (several multiple times) and was traded 8 times. Thornton although playing for only 1 team he past several years his stats are up and down. I dont know if Ovie has a couple of 50 goal seasons left. If he cant go to the All Star game because he needs the rest yet he can go play in an International Tournament after the season I think his priorities are wrong. I see him playing out his contract here and going back to Russia and playing in the KHL for mega tax free bucks. Winning Rockets is nice but the game is about winning Stanleys!!

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