Caps acquire Radko Gudas from Philly

This morning, the Washington Capitals have announced that they have done a one-for-one defenseman swap with the Philadelphia Flyers; Radko Gudas in exchange for Matt Niskanen, Philadelphia will retain 30% of Gudas’ remaining salary.

We here at FiCP are sad to hear this news about Niskanen leaving the organization, but understand the business move by Brian MacLellan. This is most certainly a move to clear up salary cap space to re-sign certain players or shop the free agent market. Trading Niskanen has opened up $3,405,000 in cap space for the Caps to work with, making it possible to re-sign guys like Nicklas Backstrom and/or Braden Holtby.

Gudas plays a physical game from the blue line and has been a beating pulse on Philadelphia’s penalty kill for years. Him being a right-handed defenseman certainly puts him on the 3rd pair with either Christian Djoos or Jonas Siegenthaler.

A plus side in this trade is that Gudas only has one more year on his contract until he’s a UFA compared to Niskanen, who has two more years. Gudas’ contract will expire around the time Backstrom and Holtby’s contracts expire, so there’s that. Who knows, GMBM could flip real quick and dish out Gudas to a struggling defensive team for forward depth or picks. Until then, welcome to the Caps Radko!

Capitals Player Season Recap: Braden Holtby

Braden Holtby has been a rock for the Washington Capitals in net throughout the years he’s played for them. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2016 and helped bring home the Stanley Cup to Washington D.C. last year. With contract extension talks looming social media, some questions arise whether the Caps should retain his services or move on to one of the young guns down in Hershey.

One of Holtby’s most memorable NHL moments was hands down “The Save” during the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals when he robbed Vegas Golden Knights’ forward Alex Tuch with the stick on an open net chance. He has flashed greatness for many years for the Caps, but he has also let in some softies. In perspective, what goalie hasn’t let in goals that should’ve been saved? Some fans believe he has let in too many and is not worth the pay he’s expected to ask for when it comes to contractual talk.

Hershey Bears’ net-minding duo, Vitek Vanacek and Sergei Samsonov, have been brought into the discussion quite a bit on whether or not they should be given a look next season. With the three-year extension given to Pheonix Copley, I doubt they would be forced into an NHL role, but you never know.

Holtby this season posted 32-19-5 (W-L-OTL) record this regular season with a .911 save percentage. Not too bad and enough for the Caps to win the Metro division. We can all make our own opinion and judgement on the Canadian goaltender, but at the end of the day, it’s all a scheme in General Manager Brian MacLellan‘s eyes. We’ll just have to wait and see if he believes in Holtby enough to bring him back, or decide to let him go.

The 2019 Armed Forces Hockey Classic

Don’t have much going on over Memorial Weekend? Feel like watching hockey being played for a good cause for FREE?

“The Armed Forces Hockey Classic (AFHC) is a tournament where military veterans the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy come together to compete against one another while raising money for the United Heroes League (UHL). The UHL wants to ensure that all 5 million military kids are able to develop critical life skills through sports. This intense focus on youth development and serving the families of our military service members motivates the UHL to keep programs focused. This focus has inspired 115 professional athletes and over 30 professional sports franchises to lend their name and support to the UHL.”

The Washington Capitals have supported the UHL since their start in 2009 along with many other franchises, like the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Kings. Players/coaches who have contributed to this cause have been Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Bruce Boudreau, Taylor Chorney, Matt Hendricks, Nate Schmidt, and many others!

This event is being held just outside of Dallas, Texas in North Richland Hills. Veterans, local and country-wide, are gathering there to play the greatest sport for an excellent cause. Coordinators have stated that they have received donations and incoming participants from places like Alaska, Colorado and even the DMV! The winning team of the tournament will get to hoist the James “Maggie” Megellas Championship Trophy. Who knows, you may see someone you’ll recognize!

2010 AFHC Champions – Team Navy/Marine Corp.

The tournament will begin May 25 @ 10:00 am EDT, first puck drop @ 10:15 am. All games will be live-streamed via Facebook here. For more information on the AFHC and the UHL, click here. Have a wonderful weekend!

Caps re-sign F Shane Gersich

The Washington Capitals have announced this morning that they have re-signed forward Shane Gersich to a one-year, two-way contract ($700,000/$115,000, with a guaranteed minimum salary of $125,000).

Shane won the Stanley Cup with the Caps in 2018 and proved himself a valuable top-6 forward for the AHL Hershey Bears. Great signing for them. He’ll either prove to be an insane threat for the Bears or an excellent scoring depth player for the Caps.

Capitals Player Season Recap: Nicklas Backstrom

One of the most underrated centers in the NHL today, Nicklas Backstrom has been a crucial part of the Capitals’ organization for many years. Drafted in 2006, “Backy” has been a playmaking machine for the club and a serious lifeline for goal scorers like Alex Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana.

Backstrom accumulated 74 points this season (22g, 52a), putting him 2nd on the Caps’ list for most points behind Ovechkin. This post-season, Backstrom has the most goals for the Caps (5) and the best face-off percentage (52.69%). He continues to help drive this team to its best form and this season he did not disappoint. His vision on the ice has always been something that sometimes gets overlooked, but blows our minds when we notice it.

As a top six elite centerman for the Caps, Backstrom holds his team and himself to a high standard. In his season exit interview he stated, “Even if it sucks right now, I feel like we’re going to come back stronger and more prepared. That’s our goal and we got a good team.” He has the perfect mindset for a leader of the Washington Capitals, train hard and come back stronger next year for a harder run at glory.

Player Season Recap: Alex Ovechkin

Ever since he was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004, Alex Ovechkin has ignited the hockey community in the DMV in so many ways. He has proven himself to be a world class, one of a kind hockey player. He has surprised us all with insane highlight reel goals and brought home the Stanley Cup. His game has grown tremendously since game one of his career and the franchise owes everything to our great captain.

Parade ovi stanley cup

Ovechkin has proven time and time again he can contribute in many ways other than scoring and hitting. This regular season he has totaled 38 assists for the Caps; 4th highest on the team behind Evgeny Kuznetsov (51), Nicklas Backstrom (52), and John Carlson (57). He’s been looking to pass the puck to make the play rather than go for the snipe as he usually does, disregarding the fact of earning his 8th Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with 51 goals. He has been playing on different parts of the ice, like screening the goaltender in the offensive zone and playing the high-point man on the umbrella power play. This regular season he has accumulated 89 points (51g, 38a) in 81 game and in the playoffs he accumulated 9 points (4g, 5a) in all 7 games of the series with the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

Ovechkin had yet another great season and carried his stellar play through into the post-season, there’s nothing he should be ashamed about. He continues to shoot the puck and distribute checks to better his team through each in-game situation. Goalies continue to study and learn his shooting/scoring tendencies each season. Ovechkin also continues to evolve his own game, finding new/old creative ways to beat them. At the prime age of 33 and turning 34 in September, he isn’t getting younger and must stay up to par in this fast-paced league. He stated in his season exit interview he stated, “I have to be better” at everything. He mentioned his shooting, passing, even his fight with Andrei Svechnikov all has to better moving forward. He’ll train hard this off-season to seek another crack at reuniting with Lord Stanley’s Cup and don’t be surprised if we see another successful season from the Great Eight.

Centers locked in, Caps re-sign Dowd

The Washington Capitals have re-signed center Nic Dowd to a 3-year contract worth $750,000 AAV. He has had a career year with the Caps, posting 22 points (8g, 14a) in 64 games this regular season. With the length of the contact implied, it would seem General Manager Brian MacLellan has solidified his centers for each offensive line.

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In front of Dowd are Lars Eller, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov down the middle. Current capable candidates at the position are Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd, who both played at the center position with the AHL Hershey Bears. If he has a game “fall-through”, I would look at these two in the playoffs and if their services are retained come next season.

Dowd has certainly lived up to the hype after the Caps let Jay Beagle walk after the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup win. He has been stellar with the wingers he has been accompanied by this season; Boyd, Stephenson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Andre Burakovsky, and Dmitrij Jaskin. Brian MacLellan has done a fantastic job from the office and has found a new 4th line center replacement. Centers are locked in for the next couple of years, so you can check that off the block of the “Caps-to-do-list.”

Dark times for Dmitry’s production

The Washington Capitals’ defensive core has grown immensely since Dmitry Orlov was drafted 55th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has established his role on the team as a top 4 defenseman with a well played two-way style and glimpses of offensive talents. The Caps would not have won the Stanley Cup last year without his contributions at both ends of the ice.

Paired with defensive partner Matt Niskanen, Orlov has the support to use his offensive talents in all zones on the ice with Niskanen’s defensive mindset. Last year, Orlov produced 31 points (10g, 21a) in all 82 regular season games. This year, he is at 27 points (3g, 24a) with only a handful of games left. I have noticed one big thing that could possibly be preventing him from matching last year’s numbers, and that’s offensive zone entry.

Orlov is a confident, offensive defenseman. When he has the puck on the entry, he has two options; throw the puck down low/ring it around for the far side winger or carry it in and look for the pass/shot. A lot of his turnovers this season have been in the offense zone, mainly due to bad decision making. When given a prime shooting lane, he decides to carry the puck and make a move or attempt to make an unnecessary pass to move the play/goalie. It’s been a very noticeable aspect in his past few games and would most likely have more points on the season if he made the simple decision.

3-on-3 OT against the New York Rangers. Orlov has the puck in the offensive zone, makes a move to the outside and gets well defended. He loses control of the puck and drops it to Ovechkin. If Ovechkin was not there, Orlov would’ve had his pocket picked. Good move nonetheless by Dmitry. Video credit: Marcus Boutilier/@SportMajor via Twitter.

This is purely an opinionated piece. As a college hockey defenseman in my younger days, I’ve had to tweak my own game here and there to make things work for me. That could be the case here for Dmitry, but it’s a little late in the season to be experimenting with his game. He has the capability to put up big numbers and I feel making the simple plays would benefit him and his team more. I know Orlov has the ability to put up more points than he has so far this season, I would just like to see him play a bit more conservative when make offensive zone entries. We believe in you, Dmitry, defend your Stanley Cup well!

I am open to discussion on this topic, hit me up on my personal Twitter handle @Jurky88.

Djoos is loose with Jensen

Lineup confirmed this morning states Christian Djoos is expected to be back in the lineup in for Brooks Orpik. He will be in alongside trade deadline-acquired Nick Jensen, who was traded by the Detroit Red Wings for Madison Bowey.

Djoos has a good two-way game and can contribute offensively very well, as seen throughout both seasons he has played with the Capitals. Orpik is a fantastic leader on and off the ice. His defensive prowess has been such a presence for the Caps’ defense core and being the oldest player on the team surely has an impact for respect. His time in the NHL, however, is coming slowly but surely to a close day by day and could announce his retirement from the league if not after this season, but the next few. A smart decision to start giving Djoos and Jensen a look at a 3rd defensive pair going forward.

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Jensen has good speed and good puck mobility, which could compliment Djoos’ offensive blue line game. Looking onward, I see this pair together next season. I’m am personally very eager to see how the two work together.

Caps Sign Herndon-native Joe Snivley

The Washington Capitals have announced their new addition to the organization, Virginia-native forward Joe Snivley. He signed a two-year contract beginning on the 2019-2020 season. A hometown hero signed with the area’s professional hockey team, it doesn’t get more “storybook” than that.

Playing college hockey for Yale, Joe accrued 36 points (15g, 21a) in 33 games and set a collegiate career high in power play goals (5). Prior to Yale, Joe was drafted by the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. He played 3 season with them, posting up 125 points (50g, 75a) in 159 games. He also represented Team USA at the 2013 Ivan Hinka Tournament (U-18) and at the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Interviewed at the press conference, Joe was asked what led him to signing with the Washington Capitals. “Signing for the Caps means a lot because it’s my hometown team.” He practiced and trained at MedStar Capitals Iceplex during his youth and was a part of the Washington Little Caps.

One of our own here in FiCP, Chris Cleveland, has seen him play and has had family play with/against him in the past. “I’m excited about this signing. The kid is good, really good. He’s a beast for how small he is, too.” Very stoked to have a hometown guy in the organization. An active player that comes to mind when thinking of a hometown player playing for his hometown NHL team is Detroit Red Wings’ forward Justin Abdelkader. He made his debut and stuck with them ever since. Maybe that’ll be the case here, we’ll just have to see. Congratulations Joe Snivley, and best of luck out there!