With free agency kicking off tomorrow, the Washington Capitals are starting to clear space. They made their first major move of the offseason Monday night, dealing away Brenden Dillon. Now, the attention shifts toward taking care of outstanding items on their to-do list, including re-signing Alex Ovechkin.
Let’s go over all the latest news and notes from D.C. and the NHL:
- Washington traded their top-4 blueliner in Dillon to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for 2022 and 2023 second-rounders — and a good chunk of cap space. We break down the deal and everything to know. (Washington Hockey Now)
- In addition to a busy Monday night, the Capitals tendered qualifying offers to RFAs Ilya Samsonov and Lucas Johansen. Samantha Pell has more. (The Washington Post)
- Speaking of Samsonov, Brian MacLellan says that a bridge deal is likely and that he has to earn his role as a starter. We explain why he still has plenty to prove, and how he can live up to his potential going forward. (WHN)
- Stick taps to Tom Wilson, who’s officially off the market and is now engaged to long-time girlfriend Taylor Pischke. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- Former Capitals netminder Philipp Grubauer is a pending free agent, and his negotiations with Colorado may have hit a wall. Adrian Dater provides the latest on the situation. (Colorado Hockey Now)
- From Blake Coleman to Tomas Tatar, there are several big names hitting the market on Wednesday. Adam Gretz shares his free agency power rankings. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- The first NHL Buyout Window closes Tuesday at 5 p.m. Thomas Drance takes a look at a few of the names to watch. (The Athletic)
- One potential buyout candidate is another familiar face: Braden Holtby. Rob Williams details what could be next for the current Canucks goaltender. (Daily Hive)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- After the Dillon trade, Washington now has around $13.6 million in cap space. However, beyond Ovechkin’s extension, there’s still a lot to be done, including finding a backup goaltender and re-signing Samsonov and Johansen. Therefore, I don’t think the Capitals are done yet. However, this deal is a good start.
- With Dillon out of the picture, expect Michal Kempny to make the most of his comeback year and Martin Fehervary to hit the ground running as he’s expected to make the full-time jump to the NHL.
- Looking at backup options, Brian MacLellan mentioned that Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t been medically cleared, but if he is, he’d expect him to try and come back to play. That could be a solid option for the Capitals to consider if he’s willing to sign for the same amount and try again. Also, am I the only one who thinks bringing back Holts wouldn’t be the worst option if the price is right? (This of course would probably be more likely with a buyout)
- Stick taps to our sister site, Vancouver Hockey Now, which launches today. Check out their amazing work and say hello to their lead beat writer, Rob Simpson.