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Sammi’s Daily: Capitals Contract Chatter, Goalie Notes, Busy Weeks Ahead

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Capitals forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Conor Sheary

The Washington Capitals and NHL are just three days away from the 2022 NHL Draft, and there are also just nine days to go until the start of NHL Free Agency.

As the offseason continues, so does trade talk and other free agency rumblings as players negotiate their next contract or find themselves moving on to a new club. We saw this with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan McDonagh on Sunday, who was traded to the Nashville Predators.

Today is also July 4. One year ago today, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died in a fireworks accident in Michigan. Elvis Merzlikins called Kivlenieks a hero after he shielded Merzlikins and his pregnant wife from the mortar tube. Many are taking the time to pay tribute to the Latvian goalie.

Here are all the latest news and notes from the District and across the league:

Capitals Links

  • The Capitals goaltending situation is a bit strange at the moment, as Washington may have to choose between RFAs Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek while they pursue a No. 1 netminder. (WHN)
  • Per reports, the Capitals tried to extend Conor Sheary earlier in the offseason as he continues to be a difference-maker for the club. (WHN)

NHL Links

  • Following his detainment and hospitalization after falling ill at an enlistment office, Ivan Fedotov has reportedly been transferred to an Arctic naval base. The Philadelphia Flyers goaltender was arrested for alleged draft dodging in St. Petersburg.
  • What does Joe Thornton’s NHL future look like? Here’s what’s next for the Florida Panthers forward and longtime veteran. (FHN)

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Re-signing Sheary is absolutely worth it for the Capitals. He does it all. No. 73 can play top-6 minutes or bottom-6 minutes and fit in on any line. Also, he can serve as an asset on special teams and is a pure role player. Under Peter Laviolette, he has also recaptured that scoring prowess he showed back in Pittsburgh.
  • One blueliner to watch heading into next season: Bobby Nardella. The left-hand shot is entering the second year of his now one-way deal with Washington and could compete for a roster spot this season. Given Nardella and Johansen, I wouldn’t expect the Capitals to necessarily prioritize finding a full-time NHL blueliner when they have quite a few promising Hershey Bears waiting for their chance in the Show. What does this mean for Justin Schultz? Considering the cap situation and scenario, it wouldn’t be surprising if he is playing elsewhere next year.
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