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Would Sharp be a good fit on Caps' top line?

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Would Sharp be a good fit on Caps' top line?

Today in Chicago, Patrick Sharp is parading through the streets, high-fiving and fist-pumping fans as they celebrate the Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup in six years.

With $69 million committed to salaries next season, many believe these could be Sharp’s final days as a Blackhawk as the club tries to make amends with a $71 million salary cap that will force them to unload at least one big salary. Could the Capitals be one of the teams interested in acquiring Sharp and placing him on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom?

More importantly, can they make room for his $5.9 million cap hit for the next two years?

On Wednesday, Sharp told CSNChicago that he wants to enjoy a third championship season before giving thought to his future in Chicago.

“I haven’t really put much thought into it,” Sharp said. “It’s been a whirlwind couple of days. To win a third Stanley Cup in this city is something that I’ll always remember. It’s pretty special. It’s a huge accomplishment. These last couple days have been crazy. I’m sure the next few days when things wind down a little bit, that’ll be more of a topic of conversation.”

If you recall, Sharp was rumored to be the subject of trade talks between the Capitals and Blackhawks in late February and when asked specifically about Sharp, Capitals coach Barry Trotz seemed on board with the idea.

“We’re looking for the best players  and we’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Trotz said back on Feb. 28. “If you’re in the mix for those names I think it’s great because it shows your team that you’re an organization that’s not willing to stand pat. 

“We want to get better, I want to be part of that. If you’re a player or a coach or a fan you recognize the team is trying to get better and they’re not just settling for average. We’re tying to do great things here, so let's not settle for average. Let’s do something great. So those are great rumors to have out there for me.”

Back in February the Caps reportedly were unwilling to part with Joel Ward and a first-round draft pick in exchange for Sharp, who is 33 and coming off his least productive full season since his first full year in Chicago in 2006-07.  In 68 games this season Sharp recorded 16 goals and 27 assists and was a minus-8, but he delivered five goals and 10 assists and was a plus-2 in 23 playoff games for the Blackhawks while averaging 15:34 of ice time in the post-season. [Check out this post-game interview he gave while holding his daughter]. 

The Caps have roughly $50 million committed to eight forwards, six defensemen and one goalie, assuming Philipp Grubauer replaces Justin Peters as Braden Holtby’s backup next season. That means the Caps have roughly $21 million to spend on four forwards [including restricted free agents Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson] and goaltender Braden Holtby, also an RFA.

Theoretically, if the Caps re-sign Kuznetsov and Johansson to cap hits totaling $6 million and Holtby to a cap hit in the $6 million range, that would leave them with about $9 million in cap space to sign two or three more forwards. If the Caps trade for Sharp without getting rid of salary, that would leave roughly $3 million to re-sign Jay Beagle and/or Eric Fehr, leaving no money left for UFAs Ward or defenseman Mike Green.

MORE CAPITALS: FORMER CAP WILL HAVE TO FIND A NEW TEAM

The Caps also could look into freeing up salary by either including a roster player in a trade for Sharp, or looking into buyout options for a roster player such as Brooks Laich.

  

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

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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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.