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