Washington Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan Has Had Conversations With “A Few Teams” About Trading For Top-Six Forward

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.

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

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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11 Responses to Washington Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan Has Had Conversations With “A Few Teams” About Trading For Top-Six Forward

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. hockeydruid says:

    there are so many problems in trying to trade Kuzy: everyone knows he wants out so not going to offer much; they also know hic contract so probably going to have to take back an equally high contract; don’t see getting a player that is much younger for him and if they try to package Mantha with him are going to ahv to include either young prospects or picks or knowing our Gm they would get both. Maybe hang unto Mantha and maybe as this is his contract year he will be inspired to play above and beyond and bring something like a pick or even a prospect towards the trade deadline and the same with Kuzy. There is more likely to be a playoff team looking for a C at the deadline and give something meaningful then rather than having to take on a bad contract now.

  3. DC Scappeli says:

    it’d be hard to move Mantha; I think it would have to be in a bundle, giving up additional assets. Or maybe Mantha has played himself out of the league? Unless he has a turn around in this upcoming season, gets his head in the game and regains confidence and produces, I dunno who is going to want to take a risk on him….

    • hockeydruid says:

      I agree and think if the GM is going to get anything good for either player without having to either give up a lot or take on a really bad contract it might be better to wait until January or even later in hopes that both players get their act together and produce thus giving them value on the market that teams are looking for. Also I do not think it wise to trade them as a package unless it is at the other teams request.

    • AJ says:

      ” I dunno who is going to want to take a risk on him….”

      nobody smart.

  4. dwgie26 says:

    No way we give up assets to move Mantha. Give him away cheap? Maybe to give a prospect a spot. I’d prefer if Carbery and contract year gets him to a true 2RW/PP role. It’s spin but that changes the top 6.

    That leaves Kuzy. Until i saw in article he led us in assists and third in points. That is good value for 7.8M (until you add his -26). There is a trade to be had for Kuzy. GMBM probably is talking to a few teams and I wonder if he is playing into the media a bit as a bargaining chip.

    for whom… i don’t know. I actually wouldn’t mind getting true top 6 RW, elevate Backstrom to 2C, and play McMichael at 3C. If Backstrom can’t handle that we get him on LTIR and trade at deadline for a 2C with the 9.2M. If we are sellers (and I suspect we will be), then you run Protas and McMichael at 2/3 C and call it a growth year. It’s a boom or bust year. But don’t hit the ball down the middle.

    • hockeydruid says:

      Honestly I like the idea of running Protas and McMichael at 23C at the start of the season on putting Backy on the LTIR right after training camp. Only problem is a Dr will have to sign off on that And I don’t think being slow is a condition that will land him on the LTIR. Best scenario would be for Backy to retire, Kuzy to be traded and we get back decent picks for him. Sad might have to wait and see how he plays during the season to get anything of value back at the trade deadline.

      • andrew777dc says:

        “You got to know when to hold ’em
        Know when to fold ’em
        Know when to walk away
        Know when to run
        You got to count your dub-plates
        Before you touch the turntables
        ‘Cause if you run out of big tunes
        That means your sound is done”

  5. Esteban says:

    Everyone of us knew that new Kuzy contract eventually was going to come back to bite us in the…….

  6. Jonathan says:

    This has been the most depressing Caps off season I’ve had since Alex has joined the team. The one bright spot was the signing of our new coach. Keeping Wilson is great and all, but I can’t see anyone one person besides the coach, making a huge impact on our standings. And MC has blurred the picture of what should be the clubs primary objective: winning the Cup. I think we’ve morphed from a hockey club to a country club. That’s depressing.

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