The Boston Bruins made short work of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final. While the Bruins will be thinking about nothing but playing for the Stanley Cup the next few weeks, the Stanley Cup Final series will be the last time some of the team’s free agents will wear a Boston uniform. For Carolina’s free agents, Thursday may be the last time they lace up their skates in Raleigh.
Could any of those pending free agents help the Capitals? Can the Caps afford any of them?
With that in mind, here’s a look at where the free agent “stock” of each pending unrestricted free agent in the Eastern Conference Final stands now that the series is over.
NOTE: This list includes only UFAs.
Noel Acciari, F
Acciari played in only two games in the conference final due to an undisclosed injury. He did not record a point in either game though he did log some decent ice time.
Marcus Johansson, F
The former Cap has been a massive addition for Boston and was a major factor in Games 1 and 2 against Carolina, recording one goal and two assists. Johansson ranks seventh on the team this postseason with nine points and of those seven he logs the lowest average ice time so he is making his minutes count.
All the talk about Johansson being soft or not a playoff performer has gone right out the window this postseason.
Steven Kampfer, D
Kampfer is Boston’s No. 7 on defense and he has played in only two games this entire postseason. He only got into the lineup for Game 1 because of Charlie McAvoy’s one-game suspension, but in that game, he scored his first career playoff goal and the first goal of the series.
Micheal Ferland, F
After a sweep, there are few players from Carolina that are going to walk away satisfied with how they played. Ferland suited up for Game 1 against Boston for the first time since leaving Game 3 in the first round against the Caps with an injury. He recorded an assist in Game 1 and a big hit in Game 2 and that was pretty much the extent of what he contributed in the conference final.
Ferland was held to only a lone assist in the four-game sweep and for a player who contributed 40 points for the Hurricanes this season, he really needed to find a way to contribute more offensively.
Curtis McElhinney, G
Can I interest you in a 2.01 GAA and .930 save percentage in the playoffs? McElhinney may have only appeared in five games this postseason, but the stats he managed are still pretty darn impressive.
McElhinney ended up in Carolina when the team claimed him off waivers from Toronto before the season. His total cap hit was $850,000. Sure, he will turn 36 this month, but I think it is safe to say he has done enough to earn at least a backup role on an NHL team and likely is not in danger of hitting waivers again prior to the 2019-20 season.
Greg McKegg, F
Of all the Carolina players who played in at least 10 games in the playoffs, no one averaged less ice time than McKegg. He still finished the postseason with two goals. For a fourth line player with a $715,000 cap hit, he certainly provided as much offense as the Hurricanes could have hoped. His goal in Game 1 gave Carolina its only lead in any game for the entire series.
In an age where depth scoring is becoming increasingly important, McKegg looks like a solid free agent target for any team looking for a fourth-line player.
Petr Mrazek, G
The playoffs ended on a sour note for Mrazek, but Carolina did not lose the series because of goaltending. He showed with his performance in the regular season and in the playoffs up to Game 1 what he can do. For a goalie on a one-year contract worth only $1.5 million, it is hard to see how his stock could have fallen after two bad games against a team that was clearly far superior than Carolina.
Justin Williams, F
One of the stories of the series was how the Bruins, especially Brad Marchand, were able to rattle the normally unflappable Williams, Mr. Game 7 himself. Williams’ frustration was especially evident in Game 3 when he took three minor penalties.
No one can deny that Williams played a major role in Carolina’s run to the conference final as the team captain and he showed this season that he can still be an effective top-six winger. He also will turn 38 on Oct. 4. He still has value, but he is battling his age and the shot he took his reputation this series certainly does not help his stock.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS:
- Caps Mailbag Part 1: What should the Caps have done better in the playoffs?
- Caps Mailbag Part 2: Is it time for the Caps to move on from Braden Holtby?
- Lars Eller Injury: Eller drops out of Worlds due to injury