The Caps lost some key players this offseason. Some departures were expected. Justin Williams, Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk and Daniel Winnik were all unrestricted free agents. Given the team's cap situation, a return to Washington was unlikely. Some departures, however, were not.
Marcus Johansson was traded to the New Jersey Devils to free up cap space while Nate Schmidt was selected in the expansion draft by the Vegas Golden Knights. Those losses were more of a surprise and have brought out a reaction from some of the current Caps.
NHL writer Tom Gulitti was in Sweden for the European Player Media Tour and got a chance to catch up with a few Caps players, some of whom opened up about losing Johansson and Schmidt.
RELATED: Carlson ready to embrace change
Johansson was not just a teammate to Nicklas Backstrom, he was a friend and a fellow Swede. Backstrom talked about how surprising it was to see Johansson traded, but said that he understood it was the nature of the business.
Nicklas Backstrom yesterday on being surprised by Marcus Johansson trade: pic.twitter.com/uEZxJq2T0o— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) August 11, 2017
Schmidt is a player who will be missed not just for what he provides in the lineup, but for his personality. At the same time, however, going to the Golden Knights may be a good for his career. He was penciled in to take a top-four role for the Caps next season, but he may well be expected to take on a bigger role in Vegas.
Dmitry Orlov is a player who knows how difficult it can be to climb the defensive depth chart. It took him years before he finally cracked Washington's top-four. When asked about Schmidt, he mentioned it would be a tough loss for the Caps, but acknowledged it may actually be a good move for him.
Dmitry Orlov yesterday at European Player Media Tour on if he'll miss Nate Schmidt: pic.twitter.com/kmEgveuGyt— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) August 11, 2017
Everyone within the Capitals organization knew there would be changes this offseason, but there were perhaps a few more changes than many anticipated. They were ready to see players like Williams and Alzner go, but Johansson and Schmidt? Those ones seem to sting just a bit more.
MORE CAPITALS: Penguins goalie considers Holtby an idol