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With Chandler Stephenson and Christian Djoos now signed to new contracts, the Washington Capitals are slightly over the NHL’s maximum salary cap. While they are over the cap, their cap situation is fixable with a few minor roster adjustments. The Capitals can remain over the salary cap through training camp so they can let things play out through the preseason games.
The Capitals overhauled their bottom-six forward group over the summer. They brought in Garnet Hathaway, Richard Panik, and Brendan Leipsic during free agency. Panik and Hathaway are two locks for the club to make the roster, but Leipsic will most likely have to earn a spot to remain on the roster.
In addition to the new additions, Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd will be in the mix for the final spots on the Capitals fourth line. One would think that Nic Dowd will hold the fourth line center position to begin the new season.
With new additions and some established veterans, the Capitals could also look deeper in the organization for some younger talent to take a roster spot. Shane Gersich, Brian Pinho, and Garrett Pilon are some of the younger prospects that might get some more looks during training camp and preseason games.
There are likely just two spots to fill to round out the Capitals opening night lineup. With several forwards competing for minimal spots, competition should be intense and the Capitals coaching staff will have tough choices to make.
With Christian Djoos now signed, the Capitals are likely set on the blueline for the upcoming season. However, it is still possible that Djoos could be moved to shed some cap space if the cap crunch becomes too much.
Djoos did not have the best season a year ago, but it was tough for him to crack the Capitals lineup on a nightly basis. The 24-year old Swede only played in 45 games for the Capitals a season ago.
Djoos must have a better season coming up if he wants to earn more ice time. Organizationally, the Capitals likely do not have many younger candidates ready to make the big jump to the NHL yet to challenge for a final defensive roster spot.
Some notable players that could possibly challenge for a defensive roster spot include Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs. These players have been in the Hershey ranks for some time now, and have shown positive steps in their professional developments.
By: George Foussekis