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.
BOTTOM-SIX FORWARDS RE-TOOL
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.
UNRESTRICTED FREE-AGENT FORWARDS
RESTRICTED FREE-AGENT FORWARDS
ALREADY UNDER CONTRACT FOR 2019-20
THE VRANA EFFECT
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.
FREE AGENCY AND TRADES
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