The start of NHL training camps is still 10 days away and there are quite a few unsigned veterans waiting by their cell phones for a chance to continue their careers, likely at a steeply discounted price.
Depending on that price, would the Caps be interested in making a call? If so, who might interest them?
Up front, the Caps appear to be set with 12 forwards (including Michael Latta) under contract and a handful of prospects (Stan Galiev, Liam O’Brien, Chandler Stephenson and Jakub Vrana) hoping to grab a spot as a 13th forward.
Between the pipes the Caps are expected to go with Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer, which means Justin Peters likely would be placed on waivers with the intent of him playing in Hershey. That would clear an additional $950,000 in cap space, giving the Caps roughly $1.4 million in cap room.
Which brings us to the Capitals’ blue line.
With John Carlson, Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner locked in as the Caps’ top two pairings, the Caps have 24-year-old defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt penciled in as their third pair, with Taylor Chorney, 28, slated as a seventh defenseman. Madison Bowey, Connor Carrick and Aaron Ness are also on the Caps’ defensive depth chart, but what if they decide they need a veteran presence among their bottom three?
MORE CAPITALS Chimera embracing veteran role with the Caps
Would anyone on this list of free agents interest them if they remain unsigned through the end of September and can be acquired at a discounted price?
Cody Franson, 27, (2014-15 cap hit: $3.3 million)
Franson is big (6-5, 213) and is a right shot, which the Caps could use, but he’s coming off a sub-par season (7-29-36, minus-7) and 30 teams have declined to sign him since he became a free agent.
Andrej Meszaros, 29, (2014-15 cap hit: $4.75 million)
At 6-2, 223 pounds, Meszaros is a strong, solid defender with 645 games of NHL experience. He averaged nearly 18 minutes a game for the Sabres last season but was a minus-13 in 60 games.
Anton Volchenkov, 33, (2014-15 cap hit: $1 million)
If you want a guy willing to get in front of screaming slap shots and get in the face of opponents, Volchenkov is your man. But 12 years of blocking shots have taken a toll on the Russian blue liner, who is hoping to get one more season out of his bruised body.
Marek Zidlicky, 38, (2014-15 cap hit: $4 million)
Another veteran on the backside of his career, Zidlicky gives you everything Volchenkov doesn’t. He’s got a right-shot cannon from the point and can run a power play as well as anyone. He’s also extremely durable for a man his age, playing in 84 games last season for the Devils and Red Wings, recording seven goals and 27 assists.
Tim Gleason, 32, (2014-15 cap hit: $1.2 million)
The Caps know exactly what they’re getting with Gleason, a hard-nosed, shot-blocking veteran who said he’d like to return to Washington after logging an average of 13:07 in 14 playoff games last spring.