As the Washington Capitals face their own list of questions ahead of a busy offseason, they see a lot of their rivals facing similar predicaments as well.
For instance, the Pittsburgh Penguins are still wondering what to do with Evgeni Malkin, as the two sides reportedly haven’t been close on an extension. Meanwhile, other teams are still looking for coaches, and with Barry Trotz taking a step back from the NHL, clubs like the Winnipeg Jets have to seek alternatives.
Here are all the latest news and notes from D.C. and across the NHL:
- If the Penguins do let Geno walk, should the Capitals pursue Malkin in free agency? (WHN)
- Speaking of Washington, here’s a look back at Peter Laviolette’s first full 82 games behind the bench with the team. (Japers’ Rink)
- Meanwhile, in offseason headlines, the Florida Panthers suffered a big loss as Anthony Duclair suffered a torn Achilles in offseason training. (FHN)
- What will the Montreal Canadiens do with their first pick in the 2022 NHL Draft? (MHN)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Per The Athletic’s Josh Yohe, from what he’s heard about agents and general manager Ron Hextall, it seems that Malkin’s return to Pittsburgh isn’t a sure thing. Taking that into account, I see him being one name that Washington should at least look at. While he’s aging and health is an issue, No. 71 is an elite playmaker, has a relationship with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and can serve as a cataylist on the power play. And without Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals need proven experience on the top-6. Still, if it were personal preference, I’d go for Nazem Kadri.
- Connor McMichael had a strong season, and Washington wants him to see more responsibility and experience down the middle in 2022-23. However, he is coming off a rookie year with limited ice time and inconsistency, and there’s a lot of room for improvement. So, will he jump into a top-6 role right away? I don’t think so. And given the Capitals’ offseason needs and depth chart, I have to wonder what this also means for Lars Eller.