Key Dates For Washington Capitals To Watch Going Forward
Here are key dates for Washington Capitals fans to look out for with 14 games left to go in the regular season.
WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals are still in the playoff race, sitting just five points back from the New York Islanders with a game in hand and 14 total games left in the season. However, that climb back into postseason territory may get more difficult if the team continues to suffer inconsistencies and injuries down this final stretch.
Still, regardless of whether the team makes the playoffs or not, there are still key dates to watch over the next few months.
End Of March
At the end of the month, there should be more word on John Carlson's status. The Capitals hope to get "serious" about the possibility of him returning down the stretch, and the end of March is when there will likely be more details on that front.
Remainder of the Regular Season – April 17, 2023
Washington has several key games left down the stretch, including matchups against several fringe teams like the Islanders, Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals also have games against big Metropolitan Division teams like the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils that are must-win games. April 13 marks the end of the regular season in D.C.
As of right now, the Boston Bruins are the only team that has clinched a spot in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which begin on April 17. Washington sitll has ground to gain and a lot to overcome if it wants to sneak into the mix, and the team also needs those other clubs in the running to experience a decline. If not, the next date to keep an eye on is May 8.
May 8, 2023
The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on May 8 at 7 p.m. ET.
All 16 non-playoff teams will be included in the lottery, which will determine the first 16 picks. Per Tankathon, the Capitals currently a three percent chance of winning the first overall pick and a 3.3 percent chance of getting the second-overall pick.
Still, this year's draft class has quite a few impressive names after Connor Bedard, and failing to make the postseason may be a good thing for Washington if the club gets a higher pick and gets the opportunity to add a strong up-and-coming prospect to the mix as the tteam retools on the fly.
June 4-10, 2023
After the lottery, the next event to watch besides the Stanley Cup Final will be the NHL Scouting Combine. It will feature the top prospects for this year's class, and it also gives teams the opporutnity to observe, talk with and interview different potential selections.
It'll be interesting to see who stands out and what names may stand out for the Capitals.
June 28-29 2023
The 2023 NHL Draft will take place on June 28 and 29 in Nashville. Not only will be a big day on the draft front, but general manager Brian MacLellan could look to make som moves as he hinted that the team will have more flexibility to make some tweaks and change things up in the offseason and at the draft before free agency.
MacLellan traded Vitek Vanecek at the draft last year, which set up the goaltending overhaul and also led to the team taking Ryan Chesley and Alexander Suzdalev with the picks they received in the return.
July 1, 2023
Then, of course, there's the start of 2023 NHL Free Agency. There are several names hitting the market, and after the sell-off ahead of the deadline, some shopping that Washington may get to do over the offseason.
One of the goals for MacLellan is adding a top-6 forward, but the team also has to address UFAs Conor Sheary and Matt Irwin's futures and RFAs Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev's next contracts.
Other Key Dates
– June 3: Tentative start of the Stanley Cup Final
– June 26: NHL Awards in Nashville