During a conference call with reporters on Monday after signing right-wing Tom Wilson to a seven-year contract extension, Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said the team is still looking to make an upgrade their top-six forward group and has had conversations with “a few teams” about a possible trade.
Caps GM Brian MacLellan said he is still looking to make a change to top six. Said he is talking to a few teams re: trades. #ALLCAPS
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) August 7, 2023
Center Evgeny Kuznetsov, who has requested a trade out of Washington, and left-wing Anthony Mantha, who has a year left on his contract that carries a $5.7 million cap hit, have both been on the trade block this offseason.
Kuznetsov, who has two seasons left on a contract that counts $7.8 million against the salary cap, led Washington in assists (43) and finished third in points (55) in 81 games this past season. Though, he also finished with a career-low -26 rating.
Kuznetsov has 165 goals and 551 points in 680 career NHL regular-season games, all in Washington, and has a 10-team no-trade clause in his contract. He has also earned 29 goals and 67 points in 87 career postseason outings, including when he led the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 32 points (including 12 goals) in 24 games.
Mantha finished with 11 goals and 27 points in 67 games during a campaign where he was frequently healthy scratched.
Washington finished last season 35-37-10, 12th in the Eastern Conference, and averaged 3.09 goals-per-game (20th in the NHL) in addition to scoring at a league-average 21.2% power-play efficiency.
Captain Alex Ovechkin (42) and center Dylan Strome (23) were Washington’s lone 20-goal scorers last season while left-wings Conor Sheary (15, fourth) and Marcus Johansson (13, tied for fifth) are both gone.
The team signed left-wing Max Pacioretty, who missed all but five games last season due to an Achilles injury, to a one-year contract on July 1.
Washington is currently $700,834 over the NHL salary cap. The top forwards available on the trade block include Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Schiefele, Philadelphia Flyers right-wing Travis Konecny, Toronto Maple Leafs right-wing William Nylander, and Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz. Left-wing Tomas Tatar is also available as an unrestricted free agent.
By Harrison Brown