The Washington Capitals kicked off their offseason with a handful of depth signings.
General manager Brian MacLellan inked forwards Garrett Pilon and Michael Sgarbossa and defenseman Bobby Nardella to two-year extensions last week. All three are two-way contracts, but Pilon and Nardella’s become one-way deals in their second years. Two days later, the Capitals re-signed Shane Gersich to a one-year, two-way deal.
Pilon, 23, made his NHL debut this past season and also played 14 games and wore the “A” with the AHL-affiliate Hershey Bears, where he dished four goals and 16 points.
He has great hands and plays a smart game, which helps him make impressive plays in the offensive zone. Pilon can also win draws and play a strong two-way game. The 2016 third-rounder has also adjusted well to the next level, hitting the 30-point mark in his first two AHL seasons after three years in the WHL. A new deal should give him more confidence as he builds on his skillset and tries to find consistency.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) March 14, 2021
Sgarbossa, 28, worked his way up the ranks after going undrafted. He’s built quite the resume, playing with the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks organizations before joining the Capitals.
In 14 games with Hershey this past season, Sgarbossa picked up five goals and 10 points. His hard work earned five games up Washington, where he notched two assists (his first NHL points). He’s a natural playmaker and can perform well at both ends of the ice.
Washington is wise to build its depth down the middle. Uncertainty surrounding Evgeny Kuznetsov and the expansion draft could lead to holes in the roster, and the Capitals will see comfort in being able to rely on their depth.
Meanwhile, the Capitals also bolstered their blue line with Nardella. He’s a John Carlson-like defenseman with a knack for offense and superb puck-moving ability. The Notre Dame alum can also quarterback a power play and also produce well at even strength.
— Jack Walton (@CactusJack1118) December 16, 2019
For the 2020-21 campaign, Washington loaned him to the SHL’s Djurgardens IF. There, he excelled and ultimately led the team in scoring with 33 points in 47 games. Looking at his production overseas and at the AHL level, Nardella is definitely close to taking the next step. However, he faces a lot of competition given Washington’s surplus of left-handed blueliners.
Meanwhile, Gersich is still looking to make the full-time NHL jump. The former University of North Dakota winger finished his NCAA career with 43 goals and 77 points in 117 games, but hasn’t exactly been able to replicate that success in the AHL with 24 goals and 56 points over four years with Hershey. This past season, he registered six goals and 14 points through 33 games with the Bears.
Overall, the 24-year-old is a versatile forward who can play center or wing and is known for his two-way acumen. He’s an asset and good depth player for Washington to have, and he’s also a coachable, skilled player with a strong work ethic and upside.