Even before the Caps were knocked out of the playoffs, rumors were swirling about which free agents they would sign and who was likely to be looking for a job. As we are still waiting…and waiting to hear, certain bloggers and reports are coming up with their own ideas. We call them unsubstantiated rumors.
Lets start with the biggest rumor: the Capitals are trading Alexander Ovechkin for who knows who.
CBS Sports seems to think it is a real possibility and he could wind up in Montreal, Dallas, or with the new Vegas Knights. They fail to mention what the Caps get in return.
Stars and Sticks suggested trading him to the Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Knights, Minnesota Wild, or the Canadiens. Of course this was before GM Brian MacLellan’s press conference in which he said he did not plan on trading Ovi. Interesting though that they have some of the same team suggestions.
Blue Jackets blogger Pale Dragon thinks it might be a good idea for Columbus to attempt to acquire Ovechkin. He suggests the Caps take Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson, and David Clarkson in return. Of course he doesn’t really expect it to happen but it was worth the giggle to read.
Even the NY Post threw a trade out there. The LA Kings were mentioned.
And rounding out the rumors are the Calgary Flames have now made an offer, according to Fanside. The reported: “According to the Delfi website, a Russian news site where the rumor was revealed, the Flames reportedly offered the Capitals d-man Oliver Kylington, center Sam Bennett and two first round picks in exchange for Ovechkin.”
We seriously doubt that the Washington Capitals are willing to give up the face of their franchise, even if his performance is on the downside. He is why many people in the DMV come to games. And, he is still one of the most elite players in the the league and they likely still think he can bring his team to the Stanley Cup final.
The largest contract investment the Caps could face would be resigning TJ Oshie to a long-term contract. Most expect that the Caps will sign Oshie, even if it means they can’t sign some other players. Washington Times. And then CSN threw us a monkey wrench when Craig Laughlin suggested that the Caps might be more inclined to sign Justin Williams over Oshie.
That brings us to other players who are waiting for contracts, like Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Rumors are that both have been approached by the KHL to stay. CSN when reporting on the pitch to Orlov said they did not expect anything to come of it. The Washington Post suggested that Kuzy could also field offers. Stars and Stripes also reported that given the NHL’s block on players participating in the Olympics the two players could return to Russia to play.
The remaining players are anyone’s guess. Hockey Rumors see Karl Alzner going to The Coyotes, Sabres, Avalanche, Devils or Maple Leafs. Kevin Shattenkirk to The Devils, Lightning or Maple Leafs Justin Williams could go to the Edmonton Oilers. CSN also presented a good wrap on who the Caps might decide to protect from the Las Vegas expansion draft.The Caps are expected to sign Andre Burakovsky and possibly increase his role by moving him to a top six player, according CSN.
Top on the unprotected list has always been Phillip Grubauer as goalie. Stars and Sticks, Washington Post, and TSN among them. Nate Schmidt has also been suggested as the other vulnerable player, although CSN reported at the end of the season that he is ready to become a more involved defenseman for the Caps. GM also stated in his presser that Schmidt was at the top of his list, so we think he’ll get an offer.
The bottom line to all of this is that the Caps aren’t talking and we are all trying to figure out what the team will look like next year. There is certainly the potential for some big changes. Money will be the big deciding factor for the lawyers as they negotiate new deals.
We should begin hear more in the coming weeks as the league heads closer to June 16, the last day to put players on waivers before the Vegas draft. The drafts will be announced June 21st. June 25 is the deadline for qualifying offers to be made, buyouts by 30 June and free agency opens 1 July.