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Caps players open up about the team's offseason departures

Caps players open up about the team's offseason departures

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.

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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.

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.

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

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 75 Capitals at Canadiens Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal Canadiens

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Canadiens will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


The Capitals (43-24-7) take on the Canadiens (27-36-12) Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Montreal.


The Capitals-Canadiens game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off on NBC Sports Washington with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington after the game for Caps Extra and Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. for postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals at Canadiens
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime


You can watch the Capitals-Canadiens game on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately


Touted Prospect Shane Gersich signs with Caps, joins team immediately

The Caps signed University of North Dakota forward Shane Gersich, a fifth round selection in 2014 and one of the organization’s top prospects, on Friday morning, the team announced.

Gersich, a left shot who is listed at 5-11, 175-pounds, has already joined the team in Montreal, where the Caps play the Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday night.

His contract, which begins this season, carries an average annual value of $925,000.

It’s unclear when Gersich will make his NHL debut, but it could happen at some point in the Caps’ final eight games before the playoffs.


NBC Sports Washington has been told that the primary objective for Gersich in the coming weeks is to get his first taste of the NHL by observing—and practicing alongside—his new teammates in Washington. If the opportunity to get him into the lineup presents itself, then it’s possible he’ll suit up.

The 21-year-old just completed his third season at UND. Here are Gersich’s numbers from junior and college, courtesy of


At UND, the smooth-skating and skilled Gersich also produced this memorable goal vs. Denver:

Gersich has been assigned jersey No. 63 in Washington, according to the Caps’ website.

The addition of Gersich and subsequent subtraction of Travis Boyd, who was reassigned to Hershey on Friday morning, leaves the Caps with 14 forwards on the roster.

“I think he did a great job at rookie camp,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said of Gersich in July. “He was one of our best players, if not the best player, at camp. Really happy about the way he’s progressed and where we picked him. I think Ross Mahoney did a great job with that pick.”