The Washington Capitals have several big decisions to make coming up this offseason, with none more bigger than determining which goaltenders will be on next season’s opening night roster. But before we can begin considering roster adjustments, it’s helpful to review where things stand as of today, with regards to the organizational depth chart.
The following table lists all of the Capitals goaltenders, their assignments this past season, and where they are currently projected to play next season. College commitments are also included. [Click to enlarge].
Obviously the most important task ahead for the Capitals is finalizing a plan for starting goaltenders next season. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are both restricted free agents and will need to be tendered a qualifying offer by July 11th if the Capitals want to retain or trade them.
It’s likely the Capitals will sign or trade for a veteran goaltender this off-season, with either Samsonov or Vanecek beginning the season in the backup position. The other will likely be traded prior to or on draft weekend.
There is a very good chance that the Capitals move on from Pheonix Copley, simply due to age and overcrowding in Hershey. Zach Fucale will likely assume the primary starter’s role to begin the season, with Hunter Shepard the backup. Clay Stevenson and Garin Bjorklund could also factor into the things, and possibly get starts.
Mitchell Gibson and Chase Clark are committed to playing college hockey next season. Gibson, who will be entering his third year of eligibility at Harvard, has stated publicly he is staying at Harvard until he gets his degree (can’t blame him). Clark has yet to make such a statement.
It’s very possible the Capitals will move on from two of the organizations top three netminders this offeseason,but the depth is there to backfill in Washington and Hershey. We will find out a lot more in the coming days and prior to or at the draft on July 7th.
For more information on each of the aforementioned prospects, you can check out our dedicated “Prospects” page in the top menu.
By Jon Sorensen