The Washington Capitals haven’t been too busy in NHL free agency but did have a few items to handle on their to-do list. Meanwhile, former members of the club are also exploring new opportunities.
Here’s an update on the latest happenings regarding current and former Caps in free agency, from Ilya Samsonov to Liam O’Brien to Braden Holtby.
2020-21 Washington Capitals
Ilya Samsonov: Sammy is an RFA and elected not to file for arbitration. Brian MacLellan expects a bridge deal for the 24-year-old, and both sides are still in negotiations.
Alex Ovechkin: The Great 8 is back for likely the remainder of his career after signing a five-year, $47.5 million deal a day before free agency.
Lucas Johansen: Like Samsonov, Johansen was an RFA, but signed a one-year extension after receiving a qualifying offer from the team. On the same day, Washington added a handful of AHL players, signing defensemen Matt Irwin and Dylan McIlrath, as well as goaltender Hunter Shepard.
Henrik Lundqvist: A heart condition sidelined “The King” for the 2020-21 campaign, but he’s still working toward a comeback. Whether or not he continues, he’ll have to be medically cleared before he can sign a new NHL contract, so he’s a free agent.
Zdeno Chara: Big Zee is currently a UFA and is still taking the time to ponder his NHL future — and working out at the same time. MacLellan had said that he’d circle back with Chara to see if he’s “serious” about returning. However, it appears the Capitals are set on their current roster.
Michael Raffl: Raffl had his moments with the Capitals and served as a solid depth forward down the stretch following his acquisition at the deadline. Now, he heads to Texas after signing a one-year deal with the Stars.
Craig Anderson: Anderson was Washington’s No. 3 netminder and mainly spent time on the taxi squad last season — and also played the hero for the Capitals in the postseason. MacLellan had expected Anderson to retire, but the 41-year-old is continuing his career on a one-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres.
Daniel Carr: After a one-year stint with the Capitals that included a couple of games and time on the taxi squad, Carr elected to take his talents overseas. He signed a one-year deal with the Swiss League’s HC Lugano prior to the start of free agency.
Paul LaDue: LaDue spent time up with the taxi squad and playing with the AHL’s Hershey Bears last season. He’s currently a UFA.
Cameron Schilling: Like LaDue, Schilling saw time in Hershey last season and was a vital part of the team’s depth on the blue line. He’s also an unrestricted free agent.
Beck Malenstyn: Malenstyn, who got married in August, was an RFA following the end of his entry-level deal but signed a one-year, two-year extension in July.
Former Washington Capitals
Braden Holtby: Following a buyout from the Canucks, Holts signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars.
Philipp Grubauer: Another former Washington netminder was on the move. In a surprising deal, Grubauer left Colorado after a Vezina-caliber season to sign with the Seattle Kraken. His contract has to be restructured, but he’s ready to take over the crease for the league’s newest franchise next season. Oh, and he gave us back Vitek Vanecek.
Jakub Vrana: Vrana was part of the blockbuster that sent him, Richard Panik and picks to Detroit for Anthony Mantha. He filed for arbitration at the deadline, along with 16 other eligible players. He and the Wings settled on a three-year extension with a $5.25 AAV.
Liam O’Brien: “Big Tuna” had some highlights with the Colorado Avalanche organization in 2020-21. Now, he heads to the Desert on a new deal with the Coyotes.
Tyler Graovac: Following time in the Canucks organization, the 28-year-old heads to the KHL on a deal with Dynamo Minsk.
Travis Boyd: Boyd showed flashes of greatness with the Maple Leafs this past season. However, he was placed on waivers, then headed to the Canucks as they collected several former Capitals. He joins former teammate O’Brien on a one-year, one-way deal in Arizona.
Christian Djoos: The Djoos is still loose — overseas. The Capitals traded Djoos, who had a breakout rookie year in D.C. and helped lead them to the Cup, to Anaheim for Daniel Sprong in 2019. He then ended up with the Red Wings and took on a new role. He’s now leaving the NHL and signed a two-year deal with the Swiss League’s EV Zug.
Nathan Walker: The Australian forward was a pending UFA, but seems to have found a home for St. Louis. Walker signed a two-year extension with the Blues before free agency. He’s still working toward a full-time NHL spot.
Mathieu Perreault: Following a lengthy seven-year tenure with the Winnipeg Jets, Perreault went for a change in scenery. The Quebec native is returning back to his home province on a one-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens.
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Marcus Johansson: The Swedish center has bounced around a bit and had 14 points in 36 games with Minnesota last year. He’ll now get a fresh start in Seattle after inking a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Kraken.
Tyler Lewington: The 26-year-old, hard-hitting blueliner was a long-time member of the Capitals organization. After playing with Nashville on a one-year contract in 2020-21, he hit free agency. Now, he heads to the Boston Bruins on a one-year, two-way deal.
Jaroslav Halak: Halak had a short-lived Capitals tenure in 2013-14, joining forces with Holtby after the Michal Neuvirth trade to Buffalo. Now, he’s heading to Vancouver on a one-year deal to replace his former teammate.
Chase Priskie: Priskie was taken by the Capitals in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. However, the unsigned promising prospect headed to the Hurricanes in 2019. The Florida native headed back home after Carolina traded him to the Panthers as part of the Vincent Trocheck deal. He was an RFA and re-signed on a one-year, two-way deal that pays $750,000 at the NHL level.
Zach Sanford: The 2019 Stanley Cup champion and former Capitals prospect is currently an RFA with the St. Louis Blues. Three days after filing for salary arbitration, he and the team agreed to terms on a one-year, $2 million contract.
Connor Carrick: Washington’s 2012 fifth-rounder was part of the deal that sent Brooks Laich to Toronto for Daniel Winnik. He joins Johansson, Grubauer and a handful of other former Capitals in Seattle on a one-year, two-way deal worth $800K at the NHL level.
Aaron Ness: Following a strong showing with the Capitals organization, Ness took his talents to the Yotes. He hit the market this summer and is currently looking for his next deal.
Philippe Maillet: The 29-year-old has had quite the journey so far. Following a two-year stint with the Capitals and Hershey, he heads to the KHL on a deal with Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.