The 2023 off-season could see the largest change in player personnel for the Capitals in recent memory, as no less than 13 players on the Capitals current 22-man roster have expiring deals at the end of the season. 14 of 23 if you include Carl Hagelin, who is currently on injured reserve.
That’s approximately 60% of the roster that are in the final year of their current contracts. It’s also important to note that Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette has an expiring deal at the end of this season.
The Capitals current forward group has a total of eight expiring deals at the end of this season, or approximately 57% of the group.
- Connor Brown (UFA)
- Lars Eller (UFA)
- Garnet Hathaway (UFA)
- Connor Sheary (UFA)
- Marcus Johansson (UFA)
- Carl Hagelin (UFA)
- Dylan Strome (RFA)
- Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (RFA)
With the exception of John Carlson, all other defensemen currently on the Capitals roster have expiring deals at the end of this season.
- Dmitry Orlov (UFA)
- Nick Jensen (UFA)
- Trevor van Riemsdyk (UFA)
- Erik Gustafsson (UFA)
- Matt Irwin (UFA)
- Martin Fehervary (RFA)
It’s difficult to ascertain with certainty if Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan shaped existing contracts with a general intention for a planned “rebuild” following the 2022-23 season, although the situation certainly has all the markings for planned restructuring. Either that or it’s simply a huge coincidence that a majority of the team’s contracts expire after this season. Some of it is certainly happenstance.
Regardless, what MacLellan does and doesn’t do over the next 10 months will have a long-lasting affect on the organization for the next five years or so. And that should be considered a good thing, if MacLellan can make the right moves. The timing will allow for the team to move on from older players, inject additional youth, update skill sets and give MacLellan another chance to improve the Capitals standing within the league’s salary cap structure.
It should also be mentioned that the Capitals could re-sign a decent percentage of the aforementioned free agents, although it’s likely a good percentage will be gone in free agency.
A “rebuild” can span more than one off-season. However, as we’ve stated here before, many fans and pundits won’t formally classify a “rebuild” until Alex Ovechkin retires, even though there could be very few (if any) other changes that coincide with his retirement. One could make a case for saying the rebuild has already begun.
I reached out to several of the agents for players with expiring contracts, to try and get a sense of who, if any, of the players have begun (re)negotiations with the team, but didn’t received replies prior to the time of this writing. I’ll keep you posted.
The Capitals open training camp on Wednesday with off-ice activities and get to work on the ice starting on Thursday.
By Jon Sorensen