We’re days away from NHL Free Agency, and the Washington Capitals appear ready to get down to business. The rumor mill is brewing, deadlines are approaching and several questions require answers.
Washington has just one pending RFA in Ilya Samsonov, and qualifying offers are due on Monday. Beyond that, free agency opens on Wednesday, and general manager Brian MacLellan is on a mission to explore “all avenues” and fill the void in goal following the Vitek Vanecek trade. The team also has questions to answer when it comes to a top-6 center and secondary scoring with Nicklas Backstrom out long-term and Tom Wilson not returning until at least December.
Beyond D.C., there are several other teams in pursuit of help between the pipes.
Here are all the latest news, notes and rumblings from the District and across the league.
- Per reports, Darcy Kuemper and the Capitals seem like a good fit, though there is “no guarantee” at this time that a deal happens. (WHN)
- With the free agency goalie market thinning, Washington could also take the trade route and is reportedly keeping an eye on Jake Allen. (WHN)
- In former Capitals goalies news, Braden Holtby is reportedly unlikely to play next season, as an injury could end his career. (WHN)
- Turning our attention to Pittsburgh, the Penguins and Evgeni Malkin are reportedly at a crossroads — and tensions are brewing. Would the Capitals consider Genoif he hits the market? (WHN)
- Beyond Malkin, there are numerous other free agents to address, and we could see a very different Pittsburgh Penguins club come September. (PHN)
- Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins are doing everything to make sure David Pastrnak finishes his career as a “lifelong” Bruin. (BHN)
- The Montreal Canadiens had an outstanding draft and took quite a few gambles, but what roles with Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar play for the team in 2022-23? (MHN)
- Former Capitals forward Mike Grier is making history as the San Jose Sharks general manager, and he’s ready to do what he can to turn the club around.
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Washington’s development camp kicks off on Monday at 3:15 p.m. ET at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. It appears that Hendrix Lapierre is back in the DMV, but the official roster and rest of the camp schedule come out on Monday morning.
- Speaking of prospects, Ivan Miroshnichenko and Rutger McGroarty shared a special moment at the 2022 NHL Draft as both embraced each other after being taken in the first round. They go way back, as NHL.com’s Mike Morreale tweeted a photo of the two, and Buffalo Sabres prospect Matthew Savoie, together as childhood players playing in a tournament in Italy.
How about this for flashback?
First-round picks Ivan Miroshnichenko (WSH), Rutger McGroarty (WPG), Matthew Savoie (BUF) at a 2011 tournament in Bolzano, Italy … pic.twitter.com/2537tDU4WH
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) July 9, 2022
- Also, stick taps to Joe Beninati for telling us how to pronounce Miroshnichenko’s last name correctly. The Russian’s surname is 14 characters long but isn’t the longest on an NHL jersey. Who owns that record? Boston Bruins center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, whose whopping 18-character surname name was placed on the back of a sweater with little space to spare in 2018. The longest name goes to Jonathan Lavalee-Smotherman, but when he played for the Atlanta Thrashers, he simply sported Smotherman on the back for 10 characters.
Memo to all inquiring @Capitals fans: after direct consultation with my source (you know who you are), we are amending the phonetic pronunciation of the team's recent top draft pick. I apologize for the confusion. Let's all try it together "Meerosh-nih-chenko."
— Joe Beninati (@JoeBpXp) July 10, 2022
- If the Capitals do go the trade route, I’d take John Gibson over Allen. That, of course, if Washington doesn’t want to go for a 1A/1B plan in 2022-23. But, given how the last couple of seasons have gone, I would think that the team would want a proven No. 1 at this point. So, Gibson and Kuemper would be the top options, but that’s just my take.