2023 Washington Capitals Offseason Trade Tiers: What’s On The Table In A Period Of Change?

With a busy offseason looming for the Washington Capitals, a lot of balls are in the air as the team will try to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2024 hoping to squeeze as much juice out of the core led by captain Alex Ovechkin as possible while also attempting to get younger. NoVa Caps does their annual offseason trade tiers:

Note: Any player in the organization who played at least one NHL game this season is included


  • Alex Ovechkin (three years left on contract, $9.5 million cap hit) — The captain, who will turn 38 on September 17, shows no signs of slowing down after tying ninth in the NHL with 42 goals and posting 75 points in 73 games this past season. With just 73 more goals until Wayne Gretzky’s goal record is broken, it is almost impossible to see it not happening with Washington.

Untouchable (if healthy)

  • Nicklas Backstrom (two years, $9.2 million cap hit) — Even though the 35-year-old did not look like the Backstrom Washington knows and loves after returning from hip resurfacing surgery, the organization and player wants him to retire as a Capital. Though, if Backstrom, who tallied seven goals and 21 points in 39 games, decides to hang them up, it would not be a shock if Washington traded his contract to another team trying to scrap to the NHL salary cap floor for some flexibility.

Staying barring ridiculous offer

  • Tom Wilson (one year, $5.167 million cap hit) — The 28-year-old tallied 13 goals and 22 points in 33 games after returning mid season from a procedure to repair a torn ACL. Though Wilson is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, both sides have publicly expressed interest in working out an extension before training camp opens.

  • Rasmus Sandin (one year, $1.4 million cap hit) — The 23-year-old fit in well after being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 28, tallying three goals, 15 points, 46.87% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 43.97% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 42.82% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 19 games. Sandin averaged 22:59 per game with Washington, second on the team, including 2:17 on the power play (ninth). Given that the team just dealt a first-round pick to acquire him and is looking for players like him to add, Sandin will almost certainly stay put.

  • T.J. Oshie (two years, $5.75 million cap hit) — The 36-year-old finished third on the team with 19 goals and fifth with 35 points despite playing just 58 games. Oshie has missed significant time due to health over the past two seasons but is viewed as a leader and energy booster on the team.
  • Dylan Strome (five years, $5 million cap hit) — Washington signed the 25-year-old, who was second on the team with 42 assists and 65 points in 81 games, to a long-term team-friendly extension in February. Strome was the only 20-goal scorer on the team besides Ovechkin, something that the team needs more of this offseason.

Probably staying

  • Alexander Alexeyev (pending restricted free agent) — The 23-year-old got more opportunity on the NHL squad after the team dealt Dmitry Orlov to the Boston Bruins on February 23. While averaging 16:27 per game, including 1:07 on the penalty kill, the 31st overall pick from 2018 finished with five assists, a -2 rating, 44.89% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 45.72% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 43.48% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage. Alexeyev, who also earned an assist and +1 rating in four AHL games, is likely in line for a bigger role next season.
  • Nick Jensen (three years, $4.05 million cap hit) — The soon-to-be 33-year-old signed a contract extension just prior to the trade deadline and finished with five goals, 29 points, a -1 rating, 49.3% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 49.79% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 48.84% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage while averaging 20:37 per game, including 2:29 on the penalty-kill (second among Washington defenseman). Jensen is relied upon as Washington’s shutdown blueliner.
  • Sonny Milano (three years, $1.9 million cap hit) — The 26-year-old signed an extension in February in the midst of a solid season where he tallied 11 goals and 33 points in 64 games. Milano provides secondary scoring for incredible value — not the type of players a team just trades.

  • Trevor Van Riemsdyk (three years, $3 million cap hit) — While averaging 19:04 per game, including a team-high 2:35 on the penalty kill, the 31-year-old set career-highs in goals (seven) and points (23), tied his career-best with 16 assists, and led the team with a +10 rating. Van Riemsdyk tallied a 51.12% Corsi-for percentage, 52.38% expected goals-for percentage, and 52.3% scoring chances-for percentage at five-on-five. He signed a contract extension last month and is clearly a player that Washington values.
  • Nicolas Aube-Kubel (one year, $1.225 million cap hit) — The soon-to-be 27-year-old was a great fit in Washington as he tallied four goals, 12 points, and a 52.91% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage. Aube-Kubel inked an extension after the trade deadline and is viewed as a big piece of the fourth-line.
  • Aliaksei Protas (one year, $789,167 cap hit) — The 23-year-old put together a strong campaign with four goals, 15 points, and a 53.18% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage in 58 games. Protas could be a regular next season and see his role increase as Washington hopes to get younger.

Preferably staying but a move isn’t impossible

  • Darcy Kuemper (four years, $5.25 million cap hit) — Kuemper, who will turn 33 in a couple of weeks, finished the season with a 22-26-7 record, .909 save percentage, 2.87 goals-against average, and five shutouts (which tied the NHL lead). Kuemper faced an average of 31.2 shots-per-game behind a team that averaged just 2.75 goals-per-game in front of him, suggesting that he did not get a ton of run support.
  • Martin Fehervary (pending restricted free agent) — The 23-year-old posted six goals and 16 points in 67 games during his sophomore campaign but struggled defensively, earning a -11 rating, 46.66% Corsi-for percentage, 46.63% expected goals-for percentage, and 46.83% scoring chances-for percentage. Fehervary averaged 20 minutes per game (sixth among Washington defensemen), including 1:37 on the penalty-kill (fourth). Perhaps the coaching change could benefit Fehervary but given his defensive struggles, he isn’t completely off of the table.
  • Vinny Iorio (two years, $845,000 cap hit) — The 20-year-old played three NHL games this season, posting an assist, even rating, 39.08% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 26.77% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 38.3% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage while averaging 14:21 per game. The 55th overall pick from 2021 also earned two goals, 22 points, and a +17 rating in 63 AHL games.
  • Joe Snively (one year, $800,000 cap hit) — The 27-year-old tallied two goals and four points in 12 NHL contests plus nine goals and 27 points in 32 AHL outings.
  • Nic Dowd (two years, $1.3 million cap hit) — The 32-year-old set career-highs in goals (13) and points (25) in 65 games in 2022-23 and is viewed as a critical part of Washington’s defensive scheme, leading the team’s centers in faceoff-winning percentage (50.8%) and forwards in shorthanded ice time-per-game (2:22). While Dowd has done well, could Washington go younger and sell him at high value, especially since he carries a team-friendly cap hit?

Available but wouldn’t just give away

  • John Carlson (three years, $8 million cap hit) — The 33-year-old notched nine goals, 29 points, a -7 rating, 51.04% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 51.95% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 50.49% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 40 games where he averaged a team-high 23:23 per game (including 3:58 per game on the power play, second; 1:36 on the penalty kill, fifth among defensemen). After acquiring Sandin, Washington has two offensive-minded defensemen and the team needs to make changes as well as get younger. Could Carlson be on the table in discussions with other teams this summer?

  • Evgeny Kuznetsov (two years, $7.8 million cap hit) — The soon-to-be 31-year-old scored just 12 goals and 55 points (though, led the team with 43 assists) in 81 games, which frustrated GM Brian MacLellan at his end of season media availability. While there were reports of a trade request by Kuznetsov dating back to 2021, perhaps the team would be better off hanging onto him with the chance of a bounce back season and his possibly lower trade value right now especially with a player as talented as he is.

Willing to discuss

  • Connor McMichael (one year left, $863,333 cap hit) — The team appeared to lose trust in the 22-year-old 25th overall pick from 2019 as he played in just six NHL games before Thanksgiving and then played the rest of the year in the AHL, tallying 16 goals and 39 points in 57 games. The coaching change could boost McMichael and he had a strong finish to the season but with Washington in need of a top-six scoring wing, could he be on the table in a possible move?
  • Beck Malenstyn (one year left, $762,500 cap hit) — The 25-year-old recorded a goal and an assist in nine NHL games on top of six goals and 10 points in 40 AHL outings.
  • Lucas Johansen (one year left, $762,500 cap hit) — The 25-year-old appeared in two NHL games and tallied one goal, seven points, and a -5 rating in 40 AHL contents.
  • Charlie Lindgren (two years left, $1.1 million cap hit) — After a strong start to his first year in Washington, the 29-year-old finished with a 13-11-3 record, .899 save percentage, and 3.05 goals-against average in 31 games. Washington did not appear to trust him down the stretch, starting Kuemper in both games of back-to-backs at the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning. In his final 10 starts of the season, Lindgren posted an .876 save percentage and 3.80 goals-against average.

  • Gabriel Carlsson (pending restricted free agent) — In six NHL games, the 25-year-old tallied two assists, a -1 rating, 39.84% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 33.6% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 36.92% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage. Carlsson averaged 13:46 when up in the NHL, including 1:21 on the penalty kill. He also notched a goal, 15 points, and +22 rating in 59 AHL games.
  • Henrik Borgstrom (pending restricted free agent) — The 25-year-old, the 23rd overall pick from the 2016 NHL Draft, appeared in one NHL game late in the season and tallied eight goals and 21 points in 55 AHL outings.

Pending UFAs

  • Conor Sheary — The soon-to-be 31-year-old tallied 15 goals and 37 points in 82 games but just four goals and nine points over his final 40. Sheary can play almost anywhere in the lineup as he averaged 1:07 (ninth among Washington forwards) on the power play and 1:41 (fourth) on the penalty kill. However, Washington will likely move on due to his weak finish and the need to get younger.
  • Matt Irwin — The 35-year-old finished with two goals, five points, a -8 rating, 47.99% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 46.1% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and 46.67% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 61 games, where he averaged 13:02 per game (51 seconds on the penalty kill)
  • Connor Brown — The 28-year-old played in just four games before tearing his ACL and missing the rest of the season.
  • Craig Smith — The 33-year-old earned nine goals and 16 points in 64 games, including five and six, respectively, in 22 after Washington acquired him from Boston.
  • Carl Hagelin — Hagelin, who will turn 35 on August 23, has not played since February 28, 2022 after undergoing multiple procedures on his eye and hip.
  • Dylan McIlrath — The 31-year-old earned an assist and -6 rating in six NHL contests in addition to 13 and a +6, respectively, in 60 AHL games.

For Sale

  • Anthony Mantha (one year left, $5.7 million cap hit) — After a hot start to the season, the 28-year-old finished with eight goals and 23 points in his final 60 and 11 and 27, respectively, in 67 overall. Mantha sat as a healthy scratch on occasion. Perhaps, the coaching change will benefit him and the team gives him a chance.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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28 Responses to 2023 Washington Capitals Offseason Trade Tiers: What’s On The Table In A Period Of Change?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what we can get for Mantha. That’s going to be key. Credit Mac, he got a second for Eller, so who knows.

    • hockeydruid says:

      Problem with Mantha is he has not been productive for 2 years so that cuts down on what he could bring. With his salary for next year you are either going to have to take back a bad contract or give up a draft pick or prospect. Better to keep for 1 last year and then let him walk.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Trade Kuzy.

    • hockeydruid says:

      From your lips to the GM’s ears and that he moves him. Could get a 1st and a 3rd and a prospect for him. That would be a nice haul that this team could use.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, that’s stretching it. If he’s really that good and expected to be that good next year, why not keep him?

        • hockeydruid says:

          Because like Samsonov he needs a change in coaching and environment. Sometime players just need a change to get better and Kuzy if one of those players. And sometime you move on from players when their value is high and you are retooling/rebuilding to get other pieces.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I want to see Protas and Becks on the 4th with Nic D….CMM can play on the 3rd line… or Snively… I would offer C Brown 1M USD for 1 year …

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Malenstyn certainly has a shot at 4LW, but Protas has worked really well there this past season. It will be interesting to see who wins the job. 4RW is a lock for NAK.

      • Anonymous says:

        They can use the physical play and penalty killing Malenstyn brings. Protas is a different type of player, very soft and not as strong on the pk.

      • dwgie26 says:

        I think Beck is the better 4LW. Size, speed, grit, and very good defensively. Rather see Protas up higher but knowing we have a capable backup to Beck who has been injured often.

  4. GRin430 says:

    I’d quibble with a few of these characterizations:

    Fehervary almost certainly is going nowhere, so he belongs in the “staying barring ridiculous offer” pile. He’s the most obviously physically gifted of the Caps’ 3 young LD, and giving up on him at age 22-23 would be even stupider than giving up on Chandler Stephenson. His stats weren’t great this year, but that was true for most of the team, and he was put in more tough situations than the Caps’ other young D. Does he make mistakes? Yeah, but to my ancient eyeballs he also makes a lot of really good defensive plays. If he doesn’t correct the mistakes over the next few years, then you can judge his defense as lacking.

    Same with Iorio. While it is possible he could be dealt as part of a huge, multi-player deal to bring back major assets, he won’t be traded on his own, and that huge deal would have to have a huge return. The Caps RDs are all over 30, and they really have nothing behind those 3 in DC or Hershey other than Iorio, who at age 20 showed he could play in the NHL in his limited time with the big club. So barring a blockbuster, Vinny will be staying.

    Carlson isn’t going anywhere either. First, he’s a part of the core, and the Caps have shown no inclination to move any part of the core. Second, despite all the hate on some fan boards, his absence this year showed how much they depend on him — not having him out there eating key minutes clearly hurt the team. He’s not flashy, but he’s a very effective player. Third, he has a NTC, making it difficult to move him even if they wanted to.

    Kuznetsov is likely on the block for any reasonable offer, so belongs in the “for sale” pile with Mantha. GMBM made that pretty clear in the exit interview. Just freeing up his cap space would make it worth it even if all they got back was a decent pick or prospect. The real hiccup in getting rid of him is his no-trade clause, which will limit the Caps’ options for dealing him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fehervary has hit a ceiling and did not have a great season. I’d package him for solid top 4 LHD.. definitely not in a “do not trade” category you suggest..

      Carlson’s contract is a boat anchor and getting worse by the day. With Samson’s scoring I would be more than willing to flipJC for any kind of solid return.

      • GRin430 says:

        Hit a ceiling at age 23? For an NHL defenseman? Nope. Had some tough moments playing with multiple partners who themselves were having tough years? Yup. Fehervary has size, strength, speed, decent vision and pretty good hands for a defenseman. The tools are there, he just needs to mature under the right coaching, system, partners, and maybe some left wings actually playing D during his shifts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed. With all the people on these sites screaming about getting younger, Fever is someone you want around. As you said, he has all the tools and definitely hasn’t reach his ceiling at 23.

          After the trade deadline moves and the hysteria that the team got younger, their average age didn’t.

        • dwgie26 says:

          Yeah… Fever is a keeper for sure. And so is JC74 for the reasons you mentioned. That said, I would love to bring in a physical LD to pair with JC74. Let Fever play 3LD and Alexyev as the 7th. For good measure Carlsson at 7th and Iorio as 8th dee for depth in hershey.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here’s where I see it realistically because they need to have the hard conversations..

    Keep No doubt!
    Ovi, Carlson, Backy or Backy Retire bc Health..
    All 3 HOF Level players and caps drafted and core pieces, SC&Franchise was built on.

    Likely keep, but open if you get a younger equivalent level player back or higher.
    Wilson, Kuzy, McMichael, Oshie.

    Again all Likely back but if GMBM can flip 1 or 2 for Austin Mathews if Leafs have early exit or a young in their 20s HOF type player. You give up McMichael or Kuzy or multiple.

    Most likely traded

    If you have to package him with a pick or eat a bit money do it just to rid yourself of him

    • Anonymous says:

      Not very “realistic”

    • hockeydruid says:

      LMAO…..neither Carlson or Backy is a HOFer. Double LMAO on the Leafs trading Austin 1 or 2 players that the Caps have. Especially from the bunch you mentioned: Oshie, Kuzy, Wilson and McMichael. You would have to package all 4 and multiple 1st round picks and maybe even some young players like Lapierre and AA and Im sure that would be enough. Basically you would have to strip this team of its future and that still might not be enough! Dream on fantasy Boy!! Go back to playing your fantasy hockey and stop suggesting such ridiculous trades. Besides Matthews has 1 year left on a contract that pays him over $11.6 mil. For that package of players and picks you might get Nylander but once again he has 1 year left on a $6.9 mil contract and would not only he want to resign here but could this team afford either players on a multi year deal? Finally as for Mantha the pick used to trade him would be of better use to this team. And to get rid of him means taking on an equally bad contract which this team does not need.

      • Anonymous says:

        What’s your standard for HOF then? Because Backy surely is a HOFR. If he retired today. 1k+ points. 700+ assists. You can argue and factual argue because he ranks on most lists top 3-4 on all Swedish NHL players all time I’m NHL history. Right behind Forsbergs, Lindstroms etc. That stuff matters. 1k points matters. Lofty assists matters.

        As far as Carlson. I would say. If retired today he’s not but he’s nearing 700 career points. And you all are delusional if you don’t think him getting to 850-900pts career wise puts him in HOF.. When you look at HOF no.1 pp Dman.. historically are in the 900pt range. Oh and guys like Letang likely HOFR and he’s on the same level as Carlson.

        Caps fans need to take out there Carlson hate. And appreciate his greatness

        • hockeydruid says:

          What post season awards, Calder, Conn Smyth, Hart, Norris, Art Ross, Selke, Lady Bing, King Clancy, Ted Lindsay, Mark Messier Awards or Trophies has either Carlson or Backy won? The answer: 0. Yes the both have nice stats and 1 (repeat 1) Stanley Cup ring. They deserve to have a flag hanging from the rafters like Hunter and Bondra but not in the HOF in Toronto. There are many players with their stats not in the Hall as stats alone do not get you there. they had good careers but not HOF careers.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, you make some amazing statements. Why wouldn’t they be considered potential HOFers?

        And I am in the camp that Mantha is like an anchor. He’s had the same problems he had in Detroit, actually probably worse. As bad as he is for the team, partially due to his contract, it’s better to move on from him if possible.

        • hockeydruid says:

          The cost of moving on from Mantha is way to high right now. With his lack of production for 2 years and his high contract next season to move him will take either a pick and a prospect or taking back an equally bad contract. So let him be the 13th forward and sit in the rafters eating cheetos all season and then walk after the season.

  6. Prevent Defense says:

    T. J. Oshie said a mouthful in his “exit interview” with Mike Vogel last week: “I saw more this year – and more than I’ve probably seen in my entire career – is guys, and whether they did or not, but guys who looked like on the ice that they didn’t necessarily care that much anymore, that they were maybe in a way, checked out. And I’ve seen people do that throughout my career, and sometimes maybe someone will check out for five games.”

    This was the first admission I saw from a major Caps player that teammates had “checked out” during the HCPL final weeks. I saw “checked out” Caps just like Oshie did. Even if HCPL didn’t “lose the locker room,” some of his guys didn’t put-out like professionals, especially after the trade deadline.

    So: The “Checked out” guys should disappear. Having watched most of the Caps’ games this year, I evaluated three obvious “check-outs”: Kuznetsov, Mantha and Orlov (already traded). My list of “must go” Caps players would consist solely of Kuznetsov and Mantha. The “what are you smoking?” award goes to folks who wish to trade Tom Wilson and John Carlson

  7. Doc S says:

    If they could dump Ovechkin and move him, Backstrom and Kuznetsov, the team could move forward. Ovechkin is a one dimensional player who routinely turns the puck over with errant passes and who never plays defense. He obviously couldn’t care less about the team. It’s all about him. Send him to Vegas where the Ovechkin clown show can continue. You have to wonder how his teammates really feel about him and his lack of effort. He’s a bloody embarrassment and everyone in the league knows he doesn’t try at both ends of the ice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reality check dude! Ovi was the key piece in turning around the franchise and one of, if not the greatest, goal scorer in NHL history. He’s not going anywhere.

    • Anonymous says:

      Man.Mam.. these are the comments and people who A. Either have a general hate/Dislike for great players on their own team which is MORONIC. Or B. Don’t understand the sport or sports in general..

      Because the asinine assumption of OVI doesn’t play defense and doesn’t care about anything but himself. You obviously don’t watch&didn’t watch the SC Run when he was giving up his body blocking shots. Or the fact ovi while being the greatest goal scorer of all time& over 820 goals currently is also only person above 700+ goals with 3000+ hits. So he brings it physically nightly. These are the same MORONIC comments &arrows slung at Carlson. “Oh he’s selfish, oh he turns the puck over ”

      Well guess what all you Mr Perfects.. McDavid and Gretzky and your favorite players turns it over.

      Bergeron Mr Selke himself Defensive responsible F turns pucks over.

      But you know what.. I’ll take Ovi a mount Rushmore NHL Player that scores 50 goals per yr&eventually 900 atleast and Carlson who scores 65-70pts per year and likely 800+ career wise..

      Over a Jonathan Toews or Bergeron.. who has +250 +/- career rating and scores like 500-600pts

      • hockeydruid says:

        LMAO…such a homer with little knowledge tother than fantasy knowledge. Please go back into your mothers basement and eat cheetos and play your D&D and fantasy sports.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please stop being a capitals fan. Ovechkin saved the franchise. Sorry but I don’t believe he deserves the Gretsky treatment. It would be shame if he doesn’t retire a capital. We may never see another player like suit up in red.

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