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Capitals allow trade deadline to pass quietly


Capitals allow trade deadline to pass quietly

The NHL’s 3 p.m. trade deadline has passed and, apparently, so has Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan on making a last-minute deal.

After acquiring forward Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round draft pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs late Sunday night in exchange for Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick and a second-round pick, MacLellan apparently stood pat on Monday, resisting the urge to go hard after defenseman Dan Hamhuis.

MacLellan went into his second NHL trade deadline as Caps GM with a desire to bolster the Caps’ blue line and add depth to their fourth line. He accomplished both, acquiring Weber from the Sabres for a third-round pick in 2017 on Feb. 23, and adding Winnik late Sunday night.

In picking up Winnik, who carries a $2.25 million cap hit next season, the Caps save $2.25 million in cap space with the departure of Laich, who had one year and $4.5 million remaining on his contract.

The Capitals’ roster consists of 14 forwards, seven healthy defensemen and two goaltenders, leaving them roughly $2.2 million under the salary cap. Defenseman John Carlson is on long-term injury reserve, meaning his $3.966 cap hit would be applied to the cap once he returns.

Carlson is expected return from his lower body injury in three to four weeks, which would allow him to play the final week or two of the regular season.

RELATED: NHL Trade Deadline wrapup: A quiet trade deadline 

With that in mind, here’s how the Capitals’ lineup looks heading into the final 21 games of the regular season:

Forward lines

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie

Andre Burakovsky – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Justin Williams

Jason Chimera – Marcus Johansson – Tom Wilson

Daniel Winnik – Mike Richards – Jay Beagle

Extras: Stan Galiev, Michael Latta

Defense pairings

Karl Alzner - Matt Niskanen

Brooks Orpik – Dmitry Orlov

Nate Schmidt - Taylor Chorney

Extra: Mike Weber

Injured: John Carlson (lower body)


Braden Holtby – Philipp Grubauer

MORE CAPITALS: Winnik 'shocked' to be going to Stanley Cup contender

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps


3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came at the 2:30 mark of the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby. On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life. The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.


Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.