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Did MacLellan do enough at trade deadline?

Did MacLellan do enough at trade deadline?

In a wide-ranging interview with reporters on Monday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan addressed a variety of topics, from the team being “angry” and “agitated” about their second-round exit from the playoffs to the need to having better forward depth.

In Part Two, MacLellan discusses his trade deadline decisions, the future of Jason Chimera and the NHL’s playoff format:

RELATED: Interview with Brian MacLellan, part 1

On his decision to add Mike Richards through free agency and Daniel Winnik at the NHL trade deadline:

We tried to reconfigure that top six on the run here, with (Mike)Richards and adding (Daniel) Winnik and the priority for us was to solidify our penalty kill. (T.J.) Oshie was killing penalties, (Justin) Williams was killing penalties and (Nicklas) Backstrom was killing penalties. There’s a lot of energy that goes into that, so we filled that hole in the bottom six with some good guys. Winnik did a great job for us penalty killing. Richards did a good job. And then it’s good to have that, but you still need a little offense from your bottom six I think.

On his summer wish list:

I’m pretty content with the core. I think the 9th, 10th forward are where we’re going to look to improve.

On if he regrets not being more aggressive at the trade deadline, when he picked up Winnik and defenseman Mike Weber:

I don’t know that that type of player was out there. We were restricted because we had a contract situation (Brooks Laich), and most of our conversations were based on taking a contract back to add a guy. And I mean, sometimes the timing doesn’t work out as far as getting that contract out, it doesn’t align with conversations you have, trying to trade for players, and that was the case this year. I mean, we had some conversations of guys we had interest in, as long as they would take the one contract back, and teams weren’t interested, and then we finally traded the contract and it didn’t line up perfectly, timing wise. I mean, we did try to address it.

On the chances of Jason Chimera re-signing with the Capitals as an unrestricted free agent:

Yeah, there’s a chance. I mean, I think our priorities are going to be our restricted guys. I think everything will fall into place off of that, depending on what level of salary we need to get our guys signed and what do we have left and what his contract demands are. I mean, we’re going to have to weigh all those options out, and what the free agent market’s going to look like, too, we think, salary-wise. We’re going to have to balance all those things out, whether we bring him back or not.

On if he thinks the Capitals need to get faster:

I think speed needs to be a factor for us considering any players. Overall, I don’t think we’re a slow team, but I think at times, we get exposed with the really fast teams. Dallas, Pittsburgh, we did struggle sometimes with the pace of the game. I don’t think all of the time. I think sometimes I see it more as we don’t enforce our style of play on the speed team. We sit back and let them do the speed game. The Pittsburgh series,  I think at times their speed took over, and then at times, we took over with a physical, pressure style, physical strength style of play. It went back and forth quite a bit. I think it’s on us, the style we want to play, upon the speed teams, so while speed is a factor, I think we need to enforce the way we want to play on teams, and more consistently.

On speed along the Capitals’ blue line:  

“Ideally, you’d like to have a balance. For me, I try to give the coaches as many options as we can. That’s part of what trading for Weber was. I mean, did we need a higher caliber defenseman? Maybe. But it was difficult to trade those off because you’re going to bring in a guy that’s going to jump in front of Schmitty (Nate Schmidt) and jump in front of (Dmitry) Orlov and jump in front of (Brooks) Orpik.

Or do you just try and protect your depth with a physical, stay-at-home, net-front presence guy for when you play teams like Philly or play teams like the Islanders? I mean, I felt we had Schmitty, we’ve had Orlov, we had (Aaron) Ness in the minors, skating, puck-moving guys. You just try to cover the bases for the coaches, so if they needed to add that element or they felt they needed to add that element, then they could.

On the play of Nate Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov in the post-season:

The level of play in the (regular season) is different than the playoffs. I think they got exposed at times, just like the young defensemen on Pittsburgh did, too. I think it’s important for us to know that our guys made a few mistakes that resulted in goals, but so did their guys. You know, there’s turnovers on both sides. (Brian) Dumoulin turned over a puck. (Derrick) Pouliot turned over a puck that resulted in goals.

They had guys making mistakes, just like our guys were making mistakes. It’s not just, let’s hold our guys accountable. Schmitty did a good job during the year filling in at top four.

I think the issue becomes there’s not much room for error in the playoffs, and when you make a mistake, it gets magnified and the confidence of the player gets shaken a little bit. I think with both Schmitty and Orlov, you see them – they wavered a little bit and became less offensive, less willing to join the rush, less their style of play and more conservative. I think it hurt them in the long run. I know we were well aware of it. I think it’s a process that young guys need to go through. Basically, it was the first year in the playoffs for them, you know? Orlov missed a year. Schmitty, this is his first full year. I think we’ll take that into consideration as we’re evaluating them. We’ve just got to get them to the next level.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

No player on the Caps gets more scrutiny than defenseman Brooks Orpik. While the analytics aren't kind when he's on the ice, we got to see what the Caps looked like without him when he was scratched against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday and...well, his loss was noticeable.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir discuss what Orpik's true impact on the Capitals really is both on and off the ice on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast. Plus, they also talk about John Carlson's monster season and Barry Trotz's new strategy for the goalies.

Listen to the latest episode in the player below or here on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps prospect watch: Signing season?


Caps prospect watch: Signing season?

The 2018 NCAA Hockey Tournament bracket has been announced and only one Capitals prospect, Brian Pinho, is still in the running.

Providence College was selected as the No. 2 seed in the East Regional and will play No. 3 Clarkson in the first round on Friday, March 23 on ESPNU. The winner will play the winner of Notre Dame-Michigan Tech on Saturday with a chance to advance to the Frozen Four.

The college season is over for the rest of the Capitals' college prospects which begs the question, will any of them sign an entry-level deal with Washington?

In the spring when seasons end for colleges, junior leagues and European leagues, we see a flurry of signings across the NHL as teams sign their prospects and young free agents.

Among the Caps' college prospects, the most likely candidate to sign would be Shane Gersich. Gersich just wrapped up this third season at the University of North Dakota, finishing second on the team in goals (13) and tied for third in points (29). The Capitals will certainly make a push to sign him considering his talent and because if he returns to college for a fourth year, he stands to become a free agent on Aug. 15, 2019.

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported Wednesday that North Dakota was still awaiting Gersich's decision on whether he planned to return to college.

Quinnipiac defenseman Chase Priskie is in a similar situation, but it he has decided to head back to school for another season.

“That wasn’t a season I’d want to leave on,” Priskie told the New Haven Register. “When I came here as a freshman I saw our senior class, Garteig, St. Denis, Soren Jonzzon, and they left such a legacy that guys still talk about them. Same for Sam Anas and Devon Toews. They were all such great players and some of the best people for our program. When I leave, I want to be talked about like they are.”


Other prospect notes:

  • For Pinho, now a senior at Providence, this marks an opportunity for him to finish his college career the same way he began, with a national championship. “I don’t think I realized at the time how hard it is just to get back to the tournament,” Pinho told the New Haven Register. “So that’s something we older guys have been telling the younger guys. You never know when you’re going to be back and you have to make the most of it when you’re there.” (You can read the full feature on Pinho here)
  • The end of the season may suddenly be near for goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov. Metallurg Magnitogorsk finds itself down 3-1 in its series with Ak Bars in the KHL playoffs meaning their season could be over as early as Friday. Of course, the big news to watch after that is whether or not Samsonov would come to North America. If he does, he would most likely go to Hershey to play for the Bears. With only 10 games remaining on Hershey's schedule, however, the sooner Samsonov's team is ousted from the playoffs, the better. At least from a Washington perspective.
  • All three of Washington's WHL prospects have reached the WHL playoffs. Moose Jaw (Dmitriy Zaitsev) finished with the best record in the league and will play Prince Albert in the first round. Swift Current (Beck Malenstyn) finished second in the East Division behind Moose Jaw and will play Regina. Everett (Garrett Pilon) won the U.S. Division and earned the top seed in the Western Conference. They will play Seattle in the first round.
  • Dmitriy Zaitsev remains out after taking an illegal hit last week. He did not play in either of Moose Jaw's final regular season games, but was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
  • Adam Carlson has found his groove in Kansas City. Playing for the Mavericks of the ECHL, he won each of his two starts this past week allowing only one goal on 43 shots. He was named the 2nd star of the game for both games.
  • Madison Bowey recorded an assist on Friday and two more for Hershey on Saturday for three over the weekend in his first week back with the Bears. Bowey has spent the majority of the season with the Caps, but the additions of Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek at the trade deadline meant there were just too many bodies up in Washington and not enough playing time to go around. As Bowey is waiver exempt, he became the odd-man out and was sent to the AHL. It would not be surprising to see him recalled by Washington when the NHL playoffs begin.
  • Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler brought his goal total up to five for the season with two goals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Monday. The Bears really wanted to emphasize his offensive game this season to see if Siegenthaler could be developed into a two-way player. His strength is definitely is on the defensive end of the ice, but he will be a more versatile player if he can also be a threat offensively as well. You can see the highlights of Siegenthaler's two-goal game here:

  • Forward Hampus Gustafsson was recalled to Hershey last week and did not wait long to make an impact. He scored his first career AHL goal on Friday. He also added an assist making that game his first career multi-point game as well.
  • Tyler Lewington was suspended two games by the AHL for a punch he delivered to Bridgeport's Scott Eansor in Friday's game.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in this week's updated rankings