Capitals Trade Rumblings
Report: Capitals Willing To Listen To Offers On UFAs, Orlov Talks ‘Nowhere Right Now’
Per reports, the Washington Capitals are willing to listen to offers on their pending free agents, while the team is also apparently far apart in their negotiations with defenseman Dmitry Orlov.
ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals are at a crossroads, and for the first time in years, could be sellers just nine days from now at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline.
Washington is in the middle of a lengthy losing streak as they've dropped five straight games in regulation for the first time since January 2014. The Capitals are looking from the outside in and sit out of a playoff spot, but they are still very much in it and sit just one point out of playoff position with 23 games left to go. However, with 12 pending free agents — seven of those being all of their NHL regular defensemen currently available to the club — general manager Brian MacLellan may be leaning toward selling, especially with some negotiations going in the wrong direction.
One piece whose name has come up in recent murmurs is Dmitry Orlov's. Per reports, he and the team aren't close in contract negotiations, with term being the biggest issue. TSN's Chris Johnston also added on Tuesday that the talks between both sides are "nowhere" at the moment, and that there's no progress on a deal yet.
"This is a potentially significant development because Orlov's name has started to emerge in trade chatter, and I think there's a couple reasons for this," Johnston said. "The one that you key on there, the fact they're sputtering a bit in Washington… if they get either a strong offer right now or he's unsigned at the end of next week, I think they have a very interesting decision on Orlov."
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman also added in his newest 32 Thoughts column that MacLellan has "signaled he was open to ideas."
"He's willing to discuss their unrestricted free agents," he wrote.
Friedman also mentioned that forwards Garnet Hathaway, Conor Sheary and Marcus Johansson, along with defensemen Nick Jensen, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Erik Gustafsson are "nice pieces" to watch at the deadline.
Ultimately right now, MacLellan remains undecided with regard to his deadline plan, as the team still has a horse in the race and a lot of business to attend to.
"Teams are calling [GMBM] to see what he's going to do with his unrestricted free agents. I don't think they've committed to being full-on sellers," Johnston added.
MacLellan also mentioned last month that several decisions could come last-minute depending on the state of the team. It all starts with how they perform over this next stretch of must-win games, starting with a showdown against the struggling Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. And with Alex Ovechkin likely to suit up and return after coming back from Russia following the death of his father, the team should get a major boost and start to trend upward with their captain back at the helm.
Still, anything could happen by 3 p.m. ET next Friday.