“We’ll Continue To Monitor the Trade Market”: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan Outlines Offseason Agenda, Talks Adding Pacioretty, Edmundson

Screenshot: Washington Capitals

“Open-minded” is a word that could define Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan’s press conference this afternoon, following the Capitals’ moves on the opening day of NHL free agency on July 1. The nine-year GM touched on a variety of roster decision surrounding his club going forward.

While the Capitals’ free agent moves weren’t major headliners, the team’s most notable addition came in the form of former Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty, who inked a one-year deal with Washington after playing in Carolina last season.

“Goal scoring”, MacLellan said, of the team’s interest in the 34-year old veteran, “I think we’ve got to find a way to score more goals, and that’s what he does.”

Pacioretty played just five games with the Hurricanes in 2022-23 before re-injuring his Achilles tendon.

“Good player, beyond the injury I think he’s still, probably better, than he was, in his later years”, MacLellan said, noting that the team would “not put a time table” on Pacioretty’s debut with Washington, and did “due diligence” before signing the veteran of 855 career NHL games, talking with doctors about the injury.

The Capitals also added defenseman Joel Edmundson in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens, increasing depth on the blueline in the process.

“I think when we were going through the free agent market, the trade market, it’s an element we wanted to add to our lineup”, said MacLellan of the reason behind acquiring Edmundson. “Looked at the free agent market, see what the cost was.”

“Decided to go that way, spend a pick on it. Plus the salary retention was appealing to us too because we could afford that. So we’re adding two players with a limited amount of cap space.”

MacLellan also noted that he believes Pacioretty can serve as a top-six forward for the team, while Edmundson’s role could vary, depending on whether the Caps’ new coaching staff favor certain matchups and that he will “get a shot to play with different guys”.

With a goal of getting younger this offseason, the Capitals appear to have kicked the bucket on a number of moves leading up to, during the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, and leading up to free agency. Despite adding two veteran players, the Caps’ current crop of young prospects still have a chance at a roster spot this fall.

“I do”, MacLellan responded, when asked about the chances for players such as Connor McMichael, Beck Malenstyn, and Aliaksei Protas to make the team, “I think they all had a good playoff, they’re all getting better…I would pencil them in for next year.”

As for the rest of the offseason, the Caps are not ruling out further options.

“You know ideally, I think our strategy going into draft time period was to make a trade”, MacLellan revealed, “To identify the age group we’re kinda targeting and try to make a trade and bring in a top-six forward.”

“We were open to possibilities. Pursued a number of things, but unfortunately didn’t come through for us, so…we’re looking to add a top-six guy, which we did with Pacioretty, and we’ll continue to monitor the trade market”, MacLellan finished, adding that the team sees an ideal target as 25-30 years of age.

“I think we’ve had an aggressive approach at the draft and nothing panned out. And we’ll continue to have the conversations going forward. I’m assuming you get to mid-July and things will quiet down, and then back in training camp things pick up again, that would be the timing of it.”

Defenseman Martin Fehervary, among the young players the Caps have, is currently a Restricted Free Agent. MacLellan says moves were made with a contract for Fehervary in mind, while the team will start discussing a contract extension with Tom Wilson.

“We’ll have some time here, now, so we’ll start talking and see where it goes from here.”

To listen to MacLellan’s full comments, see below:


About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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10 Responses to “We’ll Continue To Monitor the Trade Market”: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan Outlines Offseason Agenda, Talks Adding Pacioretty, Edmundson

  1. hockeydruid says:

    This GM is doing his best…….to keep this a very mediocre team at best. Fans would understand if you decided due to salary cap issues NOT to go after any free agents or make trades, thus assuring this below average team of high picks in each round and then setting the team up fur positive play is 3-6 years. Instead we will continue this downward trend just so that this GM looks like he is doing something positive while he is actually a detriment to the future of the team being successful.

    • Lance says:

      Hi Druid, hope you’re having a good summer. I’m optimistic about the Cais overall. BMac, Ross and Co. have gotten a good start at restocking the prospect pool. I’d rank them as:


      I expect at least 6 of these guys to be good NHLers. Sandin was a great pickup.

      There are young prospects in the organization now, The NHL Caps might crash and burn again this year but it feels better now. Lavi wasn’t the right guy. Rierden is a great assistant coach but he wasn’t the right guy. Carbery will get these guys playing good hockey. If the Caps are fairly healthy they could squeak into the playoffs. The legendary old guard is fading away. New young players will be trickling in.

      • hockeydruid says:

        For me I like the players drafted except for the goalie who I think will never come over. With the way things are going in Russia right now I am so glad that we didn’t draft any Russian players as I far that if Putin is ousted by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the will become a closed country and no players will be leaving.

        The only way to get a generational talent to replace one is to have more balls in the hopper than other teams. Sad that means more losses. This team can be very entertaining even in losing as the have the talent to score and skate well. What record would I like to see? Well I have been a Caps fan for along time and saw the really bad year(1974 – 1882) and the really good years (2007 – 2020) and everything in between. I am hoping for something like the 2003 – 2007 seasons. As being one and done with an aging team is not fun. And sad to say but with the exception of Ovie, knock on wood, no one else is aging well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Enough. We get it. You are unhappy.

  2. andrew777dc says:

    Btw, is it possible to lend players to other leagues, i.e. teams in other countries? Backy said recently how it would be great to play for his old team in Sweden again at some point. Maybe that’s his plan B?) Would we be able to lend him there, say, for a year, so he could try to regain his form and see if he can return to at least some level of play to play again for the Caps? Would that reduce the cap hit anyhow? Is something like this even allowed, does anyone know?

  3. Prevent Defense says:

    Same bet as 2021-22 season:
    I wager One Cold Iron City Light Beer 16oz that Caps make the playoffs and advance to the Second Round [“A refreshing light lager that has a smooth taste, and can be compared to the regular kind”]

    • hockeydruid says:

      Seriously, you are wagering a beer made in Pitt that the Caps make the playoffs; at least you could wager a local beer!! Done know where you live Prevent but if you are ever in Olney stop by Brew Belly as they have not only good cheesesteaks and poutine but also some of the best craft beers made in the area and several are on tap. They do flights and also flights of whiskey!! If you let me know I’ll join you as I’m always up for trying a new beer. I believe and hope that this team is going to be basically the same team as last year and same record only I wish for it to be worse so that next spring we get more balls in the hopper and have a better chance of getting the #1 or 2 pick. The highlights the next 2 or 3 years will be of Ovie climbing the last few rings to get his much sought after career goal leadership. After that the team will get a much needed rebuild as they will have to rebuild because of the age of the players and also the salaries some will be demanding.

  4. franky619 says:

    Reminds me of the Mcphee days. We tried to do something but, but, but you know other teams did’nt want to trade for our bad players on bad contract. Pathetic. He gets too much credit for winning a stanley cup.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What’s worse than an aging core unit hockey team? A very negative unrealistic fan base! There is a human aspect involved in assembling a team. The Caps Organization is one that top players really like to play for. They know they will be treated well. Most players have families and seek as much security in this quite insecure profession.

    It doesn’t take rocket science to know we need to move on from Backstrom and his $9.5, and also Mantha and his $5.7. Kuzy at $7.8 is playing well under his potential, too. No GM in the league is fooled by what we have. The trade values are not there. The potential for turnarounds outweigh the damage of buyouts or trading for nothing, or worse having to give away picks.

    It’s always amazing to me how fans know so much more even though they are not privy to the conversations or anything other than what they see on TV, or read about online.

    And how there is so much animosity toward GMBM, but so much praise for all the players that were drafted by the same guy?!

    Did anyone see the problems coming forth regardless ng Vrana on TV or online reports? HCPL seemed like the right guy at the time, as Carbury seems to be now. Time will tell. Top draft picks are not guaranteed, just as anyone on your roster. Injuries happen, and chemistry happens.

    Personally, I am a big fan of GMBM. Mistakes happen, and great moves happen as well. He just won a Calder Cup with the few top draft picks and moves he’s made! His scouts have found nice sleepers, and he’s getting guys that want to play here. I think the players know more than the online TV watching fan.

    As far as I see it, the only thing the Caps are lacking is a positive supportive fan base(generally speaking). For me, I’m positively supporting Mantha to have a comeback year, Oshie to stay healthy, Backstreet m to greatly improve, MaxP to regain his old self and remain healthy. After a year or 2, a lot of available money will be freed along with a higher salary cap. Good times ahead. Support!

    • dwgie26 says:

      Well said. There are a lot of moving parts and just because deals didn’t materialize, doesn’t mean GMBM and team wasn’t working the phones hard. Mac is not going to get fleeced or mortgage the future.

      That said, the way things feel, this is not going to be a stanley cup contending roster, which is ok. There is a bit of the longer game being played here and OV will still have two more years after this one. So the goal has to be (a) develop prospects at different levels, (b) burn a year of bad contracts, and (c) look for opportunistic deals both incoming and outgoing throughout the season.

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