Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan Feels Forward Additions Bring Good Balance Of Youth And Experience

Wednesday morning Washington Capitals’ general manager Brian MacLellan held his second media availability following the start of free agency last Wednesday. MacLellan spoke about the continued reshaping of the the Capitals forward contingent, with the additions of Connor Brown, Dylan Strome and Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals acquired right winger Connor Brown via trade on the second day of free agency. Brown became a late availability after the Ottawa Senators signed Claude Giroux in free agency.

“I think our injury situation dictated some of it. We were pursuing a winger. Connor Brown became available, near the end of free agency, after they (Ottawa) signed (Claude) Giroux,” said MacLellan. “We thought it was a great fit. He’s a great player, going to bring a lot to our team, so we pursued him.”

The Capitals also signed free agent Dylan Strome on the second day of free agency. Strome went unsigned on the first day of free agency,as he had a number of suitors.

“After the first day of free agency, he was still there. We had checked on him earlier, just to see where he was at. I think the situation, the contract, the term and the number, seemed to work for us, so we pursued him, too.”

Maclellan said Strome’s appeal was partially rooted in his flexibility to play various positions up and down the lineup.

“I think he’s a flexible player, plays left wing, plays center, he’s a good power play player. Has a real high offensive IQ, can play with good players. I think he adds a lot of flexibility to our lineup,” said MacLellan. “I think the coaches can try different things, different matchups, different combinations of players. They’ll figure out what works best for our whole lineup.”

MacLellan brought in another forward, familiar face Marcus Johansson. MacLellan chose experience over age when he looked at finding someone to fill the potential void that could be left left by injured Carl Hagelin. He said he felt Johansson, who was required at the 2022 NHL trade deadline, played well for the Capitals down the stretch.

“He’s a versatile player. I thought he played well for us. I thought he was good, defensively, provided a little offense,” said MacLellan. “With the uncertainty of Carl Hagelin, we thought we needed more of a veteran guy. He’s a versatile guy, everybody is familiar with , the coaches liked him, they liked what he did last year, so we decided to bring him back.”

Capitals current organizational depth chart:

As things sit today, the Capitals will open training camp with several position battles to focus on. One will be the center position, where the Capitals currently have five centers on their roster.

Another position battle will be for Carl Hagelin’s spot, which could be filled by a number of players, including Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and fellow Swede, Marcus Johansson. There will also be stiff competition for the 3rd left defenseman position.

MacLellan’s full presser:

By Jon Sorensen


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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13 Responses to Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan Feels Forward Additions Bring Good Balance Of Youth And Experience

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Johansson re-signing is a head scratcher, with all the talk, and rightly so, about trying to get younger. Does this mean they don’t believe Axel can fill the Hagelin void?

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Mac has created position battles all over the lineup. Not sure what that means for Axel, who can’t be sent to Hershey. Still believe there will be a trade or two coming down the pike.

      • Marky says:

        I like these signings, even the new left D Carlsson. It not only gives the Caps a lot of flexibility during a long, probably injury plagued season, but Hershey could be stacked and have a real good season next year too. I don’t know why people worry about the kids not getting a spot now. They will open up after this year but they are trying to balance developing and all the while still trying to win and be playoff bound. I like how they are going about this. *Just giving a kid an undeserved spot is what AZ and Chic and rebuilding teams like them do. Not a playoff team with Cup hopes.

      • Marky says:

        Honestly, if they were to trade AJF or release him, I wouldn’t blink. There’s a Hershey player coming up soon who’s better…Beck The Reck Malenstyn!

      • steven says:

        Hopefully there will be a few trades and MoJo and Carlson and maybe TJ for young players and picks. Somehow they have to not only reduce the cap number but also get younger. Many have to remember that with experience comesa price tag (if the player is good so MoJO is just a warm body not a good player) and the higher possibility of injury.

  2. GR+in+430 says:

    Remember a couple of weeks ago when you were posting about the lack of depth in the Caps’ lineup? Well, they now have depth… quality is another question yet to be answered, as is whether all the pieces fit together, but they definitely have a lot of players with NHL experience now. That’s one reason I agree with you, Jon, that a training camp trade is pretty likely.

  3. Lance says:

    BMac has exceeded my expectations this summer. I’m excited about this forward group and the goaltending. Strome and Brown are good players. McMichael will get stronger and improve this year.

    The one thing I don’t get is that BMac appears to be satisfied with the D group. He signed Orpik and Niskanen and they anchored the D for years along with Carlson. To me this D corps is much weaker and easier to play against.

    • DWGie26 says:

      its the same dee core as last year swapping out Schultz for Gustufson while also moving TVR to his natural side. That dee was very strong when healthy (and until Fever got worn out). This is a better dee.

      I like the Carlson signing as it is another young first round pick that we got for free. With a $400k AHL salary he will be less likely to get picked up on waiver wire.

      But damn… we need to sign a RHD for depth as well.

      • Lance says:

        I like the D guy they brought in yesterday, too. Carlsson. 6’5”. He played 38 games last year with Columbus if I remember right. 1st round pick in 2015 (29th overall).

        I’m just not seeing a strong D group here overall. They’re not terrible but they’re average at best and that’s not good enough. John Carlson has been a great player for a long time and his offense is still great but he gets beat on D pretty often. I have no complaints about Fehervary. He’s not a legit top 2 D man at this point but Lavi plays him like one. Orlov was fantastic last year. He’s 31 now. How much gas does be have left in the tank? Jensen tries hard but he just gets outmuscled by top forwards at crunch time. He’s fine as a #6 D man but here again Lavi has to or wants to play him higher. I feel good about our bottom pair options. If BMac can pick up a legit #2 physical defensive D man (in the Orpik mold) I’d like the team’s chances to go on a playoff run.

  4. DWGie26 says:

    I have really come around on the Mojo resigning as things have played out. At 1.1M he can be buried in Hershey but more and more sounds like he could be on the 4th line and add veteran presence.

    I have also long professed my love for Beck (the wreck). Prefer him over AJF as he is just another wheels guy who won’t score and will frustrate us. Beck brings an added dimension that we need with Wilson out and Hathaway a FA next year.

    And as Jon mentioned twice, there will be another move or two coming so the pictures continues to evolve.

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