Fixing the Bottom-Six Conundrum: The Washington Capitals Have Plenty of Work To Do in the 2019 Offseason


Another regular season is in the books for the Washington Capitals.  The 2019 campaign was cut short for the Capitals in the postseason, as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Washington Capitals are looking to get back into the postseason in 2019-20.  After falling a tad short in 2019, the Capitals will want to find some magic in 2020 that they had in 2018 when they took home the Stanley Cup.

There is plenty of work to do in the offseason for General Manager Brian MacLellan and his staff.  The Capitals have some tough roster decisions to make and most of them will involve the bottom-six forward group.


This area of the club is the biggest concern of the offseason facing Capitals management.  Besides Lars Eller, Nic Dowd, and Travis Boyd as the bottom-six forwards already locked in, most of the other bottom-six forward positions are still up for grabs for anyone.

The Capitals have a handful of restricted and unrestricted free-agent forwards.  With limited cap space, the Capitals must be very selective in who they choose to bring back and who they choose to let go.


Devante Smith-Pelly
Brett Connolly
Carl Hagelin


Andre Burakovsky
Dmitrij Jaskin
Chandler Stephenson


Travis Boyd
Lars Eller
Nic Dowd


The Jakub Vrana contract-extension is likely going to dictate how the Capitals handle things in their bottom-six forward group.  Vrana is likely going to seek a long-term deal and a significant pay-raise coming off his entry-level deal.  Vrana’s new contract will eat up a good chunk of the Capitals $10+ million they have remaining.

Vrana’s new contract will cause a trickle effect no matter the term and dollar since the Capitals are right up against the salary cap going into the offseason.


With the NHL Draft getting closer, the NHL General Managers will become more active in the next few weeks.

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan is not shy on making a move at the NHL Draft.  He will likely look at all possibilities when considering the Capitals lineup for 2020.

The good news for the Capitals is that they do not need to search for any top-end talent in free-agency.  The Capitals are loaded with top-end talent at the forward and defensive positions.

If the Capitals management team does not see anything in free agency or the trade route, they can always try to promote from within and try to fill some of the remaining spots with players from Hershey.  It will not hurt the club to have some depth players on the roster on cheaper entry-level deals.

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.
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1 Response to Fixing the Bottom-Six Conundrum: The Washington Capitals Have Plenty of Work To Do in the 2019 Offseason

  1. Day One Caps Fan says:

    George Foussekis, a great article!
    I agree that the Caps’ bottom-six will be “Brian McLellan Territory” as he attempts to stitch together a good bunch. I thought that benching D. Jaskin for seven-eighths of the season showed, primarily, coaching cluelessness about how to utilize checking forwards. DSP is UFA and OMG probably SOL.
    Hey NovaCapsFans leadership! We’re waiting for that candid discussion about the Caps’ Coaching Staff! Many of us think that fixing the Caps’ personnel problems will be routine business for the dapper and deft GMBM. Admitting that the Head Coach and his assistants are NHL Bottom 30%, well that’s much tougher! And the owner is NOT hot on paying mucho buckos for coaches. How about it?

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