Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan sat down with a handful of media members at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday and discussed a wide variety of topics surrounding the Capitals, who own the NHL’s best record (44-11-4) through 59 games with four days remaining before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
In Part Three of our five-part transcription, MacLellan discusses roster moves necessary with the impending return of Jay Beagle, the haunting memories of the Filip Forsberg trade and where he stands with pending RFAs Dmitry Orlov and Marcus Johansson:
On whether the Capitals intend to keep Jay Beagle (hand surgery) on long-term injury reserve until after Monday’s trade deadline:
I think he’s projected next week to get in the lineup, so that would be past the deadline, but you’ve got to be under the cap by the trade deadline. (The Caps currently are roughly $80,000 over the cap, according to capfriendly.com)
On having 24 healthy players (once Beagle returns) with only 20 allowed to dress:
I think it is (a good problem to have) and I think it keeps it competitive, too. I think there’s a little bit of an onus on the players to accept roles, too, for the benefit of the team. ‘Maybe I need to sit out a game. Maybe I need to accept that I didn’t play well last game and I’m being held accountable.’ There’s all those situations and I think individual players have to be OK with that.
On his evaluation of Brooks Laich:
I think he’s been OK. I think he’s done a good job on the penalty kill. Our penalty kill (4th in the NHL at 84.5 percent) has done well this year and he’s been a big part of that group. He’s done well that way. Again, we’d like to see more production from him (1 goal, 6 assists, minus-6) and it hasn’t come. But as far as penalty killing, he’s been good.
On if the 2013 trade of Filip Forsberg for Marty Erat and Michael Latta, executed by former general manager George McPhee, still haunts him:
No, it doesn’t. I mean, I’d love to have Forsberg. I think you’ve got to move on. You make a mistake, you move on. You can’t keep living in it. It happened, it’s over. Learn from your mistakes and we move on.
On if the Caps will wait until after the season to negotiate with UFAs and RFAs:
Yeah, I think so. We’re going to have some decisions to make. (Recently signed defenseman) Taylor (Chorney) has done a great job in his role. He’s filled in, he’s got a good attitude, everybody likes him and he’s comfortable with his role. We’re going to have Marcus (Johansson’s) contract, we’re going to have Chimmer (Jason Chimera) and (Dmitry) Orlov. So we’re going to have to balance out how much money we have and what the priority is.
On whether Chimera’s 17-goal season will make those UFA negotiations interesting:
Yeah, especially at his age (36). He’s had a great year for a guy his age. I don’t think that happens very much. It’s pretty incredible to be producing like that at his age.
On what the NHL salary cap, currently at $71.4 million, might be in 2016-17:
I can’t remember the exact number but I think they’re expecting it to go up a little bit, but not much. I think most of the reasoning has been the Canadian dollar and the price of oil and the effect that is going to have on it.
On Dmitry Orlov’s season:
He’s evolving still as a player. Missing a year (to a broken wrist) set him back. I think he’s had games where he’s looked really good and he’s had games where he’s struggled. Lately there’s been more consistency. There’s been more good than bad and I guess he’s trending in the right direction and we’re optimistic he’s going to be the player we thought he was going to be.
On Marcus Johansson:
I think he’s made strides in some of the areas. I think he’s evolving, too. He’s becoming more of an all-around player. Some of the things the coaching staff has stressed with him he’s following through and we like the progress he’s made this year over last year.
On Johansson fitting in with Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson:
The games that they’ve played together looked really well. You know, Barry has options I think with Richards and Marcus, that he can change it to a more offensive or he can change it to a more checking line depending on what he wants to do. So it’s good options for the coaching staff.