Anthony Mantha has struggled since joining the team in 2021. Connor Brown, who missed the most of last season with a torn ACL, is an impending free agent. And at age 36, TJ Oshie is the second-oldest player on the team. So — where do the Capitals go from here?
With free agency opening July 1, the Capitals are armed with a handful of roster spots and roughly $7.3 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly. Here’s a look at some potential targets on the wing.
Max Domi, Dallas Stars (RW/C)
Signing Domi would represent a Capitals best-case scenario of sorts: acquiring a versatile 28-year-old coming off a 56-point season, which would’ve been third-highest on last season’s Capitals team.
There’s no denying that Domi’s career has experienced many highs and lows, but he’s hitting free agency at the right time. His offensive output last season is, statistically, the second-best of his career, in addition to the fact that his production has seen steady growth over the past three seasons.
Domi is not a marquee free agent this offseason, but his recent success should result in a steady pay bump from the $3 million he received last season. That would still be doable for the Capitals, but may be toeing the line depending on how many moves general manager Brian MacLellan plans on making.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) May 10, 2023
Pius Suter, Detroit Red Wings (RW/C)
After already rejecting a contract offer from the Red Wings, it appears Suter is unlikely to stick around in Detroit, according to Bob Duff of Detroit Hockey Now — making one less hurdle for the Capitals to clear if they pursue the 27-year-old.
It took Suter a while to break into the NHL, and he only has three seasons at the major league level under his belt. But he has been an effective and versatile role player during his two seasons in Detroit, and is only one season removed from being the team’s sixth-highest points scorer.
Suter is not going to light up the box score, but he has shown that he can contribute — however little it may be. And for a team like the Capitals, who have depth issues across the board, Suter’s ability to play a handful of positions coming on a likely cheap contract should carry some sort of appeal.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) April 8, 2023
Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils (LW)
While the New Jersey Devils have a substantial amount of cap space this offseason according to CapFriendly, they have a whole lot of free agents. Handing out a high-dollar contract to Jesper Bratt already, as well as potentially to Timo Meier in the future, could have an impact further down the roster.
Wood, who will be 28 when the season starts, may find himself on the Devils’ chopping block — a move that could be of benefit to the Capitals as they look to put together their bottom lines this offseason. He’s coming off a 27-point season — the second-best scoring output of his career — and could provide a veteran presence to those bottom lines, which will likely be composed of a handful of Hershey Bears call-ups.
Contractually, Wood’s expiring deal carried an AAV of $2.75 million — well within the Capitals’ price range, even if it was to increase slightly.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 20, 2023
Nick Ritchie, Calgary Flames (LW)
Ritchie has bounced around the league of late, and stands to suit up for his sixth-different team since the start of 2020 if he leaves Calgary.
At 27, Ritchie is coming off a 26-point season, which is consistent for his career.
Akin to Wood, Ritchie would be another option for providing a veteran presence down the depth chart, especially coming off a contract with an AAV of $2.5 million.
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) January 29, 2023