Now that the Washington Capitals have their lineup intact (or so it seems) after a busy start to NHL Free Agency, the team is now looking ahead to the 2022-23 campaign, which still has several questions.
Beyond the statuses of injured players Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson and Carl Hagelin, Washington also has to address who will slot in where, especially with an influx of forwards. Then, of course, there are nine blueliners competing for six spots.
All the while, free agency is still going. For RFAs, there are arbitration dates set, and for UFAs like Nazem Kadri — and former Capitals winger Johan Larsson — there’s still serious job hunting.
Here are all the latest news and notes from D.C. and across the NHL:
- “How will we best develop him?” General manager Brian MacLellan and Washington do have a plan for Connor McMichael to expand his role despite bringing in several forwards in free agency. (WHN)
- Following his trade to the New Jersey Devils, Vitek Vanecek had a fun message for his former captain Alex Ovechkin. (WHN)
- In the first installment of the latest WHN Mailbag, we discuss if the Capitals are done, what’s next for Lars Eller and answer more burning questions. (WHN)
- As Matthew Tkachuk prepares to leave the Calgary Flames, here are some possible trade destinations. (CHN)
- Speaking of Tkachuk, the Detroit Red Wings could be suitors for No. 19 as they continue to load up. (DHN)
- And on the topic of trades: could Vladimir Taranseko be headed to the New York Islanders? (NYIHN)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Yes, Larsson remains a free agent. There was one report of him signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and back on the opening day of free agency, GM Ron Hextall laughed and wouldn’t confirm anything behind that report but confirmed that the team signed Josh Archibald.
- Looking at Pittsburgh, by the way, one top free agent that remains without a home: Evan Rodrigues. It’s a bit surprising given he is coming off a strong year and came in clutch on multiple occasions in 2021-22.
- It’s unclear what the future holds for Shane Gersich. He is a free agent after he didn’t break out enough to earn a full-time spot up with Washington. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs an AHL deal, as he has made his mark down with the Hershey Bears.