By Daniel Johnson
With the 2018-2019 Caps season coming to an abrupt end, they now have some difficult decisions to make with impending free agency. With their Salary Cap having little room for error, there are some pretty significant contracts to ponder.
*An unrestricted free agent is a player who is eligible to sign with any club and is not under contract with a specific team.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
- Carl Hagelin: Hagelin was a great addition at the trade deadline and played well throughout the season. Hagelin most likely will take close to $2 million per year to stay. It would be a good investment if the Caps can somehow pull this off.
- Brett Connolly: Connolly had a little bit of a drop off this season but has tremendously overachieved and played a key role in the Caps offense. Unless the Caps feel talent from Hershey can fill the void, I expect Connolly to be re-signed.
- Brooks Orpik: The aging defensemen played a great series against Carolina. At only $1 million, he could be a wise choice to help teach and lead the defensemen next season.
- Devante Smith-Pelly: An up and down season for DSP. I’m just not sure he will he returning next season. With the growing talent pool in Hershey, I don’t see the Caps re-signing him at this point.
*A restricted free agent is a player who has completed his entry-level contract, but does not have enough NHL service to become an unrestricted free agent. The player qualifies as a restricted free agent when his contract expires.
Restricted Free Agents:
- Andre Burakovsky: Andre has had flashes of the immense talent he brings to the Capitals and other times where you don’t know he’s there. The Caps should be able to keep him and continue to give him take more of an offensive role moving forward.
- Dmitri Jaskin: It’s hard to say if Jaskin stays. Didn’t really get a good chance to see his potential throughout the season playing in only 37 games. Acquired from St. Louis, I don’t expect him to return next season.
- Jakub Vrana: SIGN HIM! SIGN HIM! SIGN HIM! Tremendous season for this great talent. He will only get better at he progresses.
- Chandler Stephenson: Another young player with flashes of potential. I’d like to see him back but he could be a casualty of the salary cap.
- Christian Djoos: It’ll be interesting to see what the Caps do here. There was a falling out by the end of the season with Djoos as he was searched quite a bit. Another young player that has a good upside.
We will keep you posted as the free agency begins this summer.