J.J. Regan

Quick Links

4 Capitals to play in Da Beauty League summer tournament

capture_gersich.png
USA TODAY Sports

4 Capitals to play in Da Beauty League summer tournament

Just like you, hockey players are trying to fill the void of summer until hockey returns in the fall. To that end, several Caps are headed to play in Da Beauty League starting on Wednesday.

Travis Boyd and Shane Gerich will both participate in this year’s league, as well as Hershey Bears defenseman Aaron Ness. The league indicated newly acquired Nic Dowd will also be playing, though he is not yet listed on the official roster.

In addition, former Caps Taylor Chorney, Matt Hendricks and Nate Schmidt will also be participating as well as former prospect goalie Adam Carlson.

You can see the full roster here.

Da Beauty League is a casual summer league in Minnesota to help professional players prepare for the upcoming season. It will take place from July 11 through Aug. 20.

MORE CAPS NEWS

Quick Links

How John Tavares' move to Toronto makes 2019 a critical offseason for the Caps

john-tavares-islanders.png
USA TODAY Sports

How John Tavares' move to Toronto makes 2019 a critical offseason for the Caps

Both the Washington Capitals and the New York Islanders rolled the dice with their free agents this season.

Both John Carlson and John Tavares entered the 2017-18 season on the final year of their contracts. Both were players their respective teams could not afford to lose for nothing.

Only one of them re-signed.

While the Capitals managed to ink Carlson to an eight-year, $64 million contract, Tavares left Long Island to play for his hometown team of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

And the Islanders got nothing.

Tavares was the face of the franchise and New York desperately did not want to lose him, but the closer he got to free agency, the more of a possibility his leaving became. Regardless of whatever he said about staying on the island or about his loyalty to the team, the fact that he did not put pen to paper meant that he was at the very least considering going to another team.

It’s understandable why the Islanders would be hesitant to trade away the face of the franchise, but by waiting for free agency they ended up allowing him to leave for nothing which is much, much worse.

It’s a lesson not lost on the league’s general managers as evidenced by the mess already starting in Columbus with Artemi Panarin.

Panarin’s current contract expires at the end of next season which makes him eligible to sign a new contract with his current team. The Blue Jackets offered him a new deal which he turned down and now Columbus is looking into trading away arguably its best player before the season even begins a full year away from free agency.

Why?

Because the Islanders showed the risk of riding out that final year. Columbus can't afford to lose Panarin for nothing and if he's not interested in re-signing, they feel they have to make a move.

While trying to extend a star player a year ahead of time is not uncommon, it may just become the way teams do business in the NHL in the wake of the Tavares signing.

With this in mind, we should look ahead to Washington's 2019 free agents to see if there is anyone they need to attempt to re-sign now. to avoid a similar situation.

Since there’s no real urgency with restricted free agents given their limited rights, here’s a look at the Caps’ players who are set to become unrestricted free agents in 2019:

— Pheonix Copley
— Brett Connolly
— Nic Dowd
— Jayson Megna
— Aaron Ness
— Devante Smith-Pelly

Clearly, the team is in good shape. There is no player on this list that the team needs to rush to get signed. If you look just one more year into the future, however, it is a very different story.

2020 free agents:
— Nicklas Backstrom
— Braden Holtby

There may not be much officially on the line for the Caps in the summer of 2019 with Backstrom and Holtby both a year out from becoming free agents, but it still could prove to be a blockbuster summer with the legacy of Tavares looming large. Will Brian MacLellan feel compelled to lock up both big-name players a year early to avoid a similar situation in Washington??

MORE CAPS NEWS

Quick Links

What's left on the Capitals' offseason to-do list?

todolist.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

What's left on the Capitals' offseason to-do list?

The Capitals have hired a new head coach, re-signed John Carlson, traded Philipp Grubauer and re-signed multiple players form their championship roster in order to make a run at another Stanley Cup.

It's already been a busy offseason for Washington, but they aren't done just yet. Before Brian MacLellan can grab his bathing suit and snorkel and hit the beach, there are a few other items left on the Caps' to-do list for the summer.

Re-sign Tom Wilson and the team's remaining free agents

MacLellan said after Todd Reirden's introductory press conference that signing Wilson to a new deal is now priority No. 1. There should be no concern over the fact that he has not yet re-signed. As a restricted free agent, his options are limited and he elected not to file for arbitration. Unless he signs an offer sheet, which have essentially become taboo and no one ever does in the NHL, a new deal is more a matter of when and not if.

With about $8.2 million left in cap space according to CapFriendly, the team should have plenty of room to get a new deal done.

In addition to Wilson, Madison Bowey and Liam O'Brien both are restricted free agents as well. Bowey was not yet eligible for arbitration and figures to be a part of the Capitals' blue line plans next season. O'Brien did file for arbitration which could drag this process out a bit.

O'Brien's hearing is scheduled for July 23 in Toronto. Teams and players can continue negotiating up until the arbitrator issues his ruling so a new deal could come well before then. By filing for arbitration, this also means O'Brien cannot sign an offer sheet from another team.

Sign a veteran defenseman

Not including a couple of minor league additions, Nic Dowd is the only player the Caps have added in free agency for next season. It is likely, however, that the team is not done quite yet.

If the season were to start today, here is what Washington's defensive lineup would look like:

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - Madison Bowey

That third pairing should stand out. Djoos and Bowey have a combined 114 games of NHL experience plus the 22 playoff games for Djoos. The team would probably be comfortable having both players somewhere in the lineup next season, but not on the same pair. There's also no No. 7. Clearly, the Caps need to add another player on defense.

Could Washington potentially find another defenseman in Hershey? It's possible, but there's a problem. WIth no viable veteran options, Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs would be the most likely additions. Those are three young prospects who will look to compete for an NHL spot in training camp, but adding a rookie to cycle into the third pair with Djoos and Bowey does not solve the inexperience problem.

The Caps are in need of a veteran defenseman capable of cycling into the lineup and providing leadership for the younger players. Anyone come to mind?

The obvious name is Brooks Orpik who was traded away to get his cap hit off the books and was subsequently bought out by Colorado. MacLellan did say the team was in talks with Orpik so he remains a possibility. If not him, however, MacLellan will have to keep looking in the free agent market or possibly explore a low-cost trade with another team to find the right fit.

Fill Todd Reirden's staff

The Caps have their head coach, but they still need to build a staff around him.

At his introductory press conference, Reirden said Blaine Forsythe will remain as an assistant coach, Scott Murray will continue coaching the goalies and both video coaches are returning. That means the team still needs two more coaches behind the bench to assist Reirden. MacLellan said he hopes to find a former head coach to fill one of those spots.

MORE CAPS NEWS