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NHL Free Agency 2019: Complete free agent matchup bracket

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NBC Sports Washington

NHL Free Agency 2019: Complete free agent matchup bracket

With the NHL free agency period closing in, we at NBC Sports Washington want to know which free agents you, the fans, think the Capitals should make moves on this off-season. 

We chose the 16 free agents we think are the best fits for the Caps. Every week day we'll pit two free agents against eachother, make an argument for why the Caps should sign each player and let you, the fans, vote via our Twitter.

Here are the various matchups, with voting details, a brief preview of the matchup and the final voting results. The free agents are split into four regions: third line forward, fourth line forward, depth defenseman and Capitals' free agent. 

CAPS FREE AGENT MATCHUP BRACKET

Round One

MARCUS JOHANSSON, C/W (Bruins) vs. JOONAS DONSKOI, RW (Sharks)

Voting Period: Mon. 6/10 6 a.m. ET to Tues. 6/11 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Johansson is obviously a good fit in Washington. The former Cap has put up a strong postseason performance with Boston, and is one of the reasons the Bruins are in the postseason to begin with. But MoJo is money and Donskoi is a competitive, cheaper option. Click here for the full matchup breakdown of Marcus Johansson vs. Joonas Donskoi.
Voting Results: Michael Ferland (149) over Marcus Johansson (38)

MATTS ZUCCARELLO, LW (Stars) vs. MICHEAL FERLAND, LW (Hurricanes)

Voting Period: Tues. 6/11 6 a.m. ET to Wed. 6/12 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Zuccarello was a major factor for the Stars in the playoffs, while Ferland completely disappeared. An injury limited the winger to seven games for Carolina, and he managed just one point in those seven games. Click here for the full matchup breakdown of Matts Zuccarello vs. Michael Ferland.
Voting Results: Michael Ferland (60) over Matts Zuccarello (19)

BEN LOVEJOY, D (Stars) vs. DERYK ENGELLAND, D (Golden Knights)

Voting Period: Wed. 6/12 6 a.m. ET to Thurs. 6/13 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Lovejoy's playoff experience with both Dallas and Pittsburgh means the defenseman could provide added depth for the Caps, both on and off the penalty kill. Engelland also brings penalty-kill experience, in addition to strong possession. Click here for the full matchup breakdown of Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland
Voting Results: Engelland (24) over Lovejoy (18)

CARL GUNNARSSON, D (Blues) vs. RON HAINSEY, D (Maple Leafs)

Voting Period: Thurs. 6/13 6 a.m. ET to 6/14 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Gunnarsson is cheap and can deliver when it matters. Hainsey likely won't be as cheap, but is a stronger defenseman than Gunnarsson. Click here for the full matchup breakdown of Carl Gunnarsson vs. Ron Hainsey.
Voting Results: Gunnarsson (16) over Hainsey (9)

BRIAN BOYLE, C (Predators) vs. MARCUS KRUGER, C (Blackhawks)

Voting Period: Fri. 6/14 6 a.m. ET to Sat. 6/15 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Boyle's size and consistency speaks for itself, as does his playoff experience. But the smaller Kruger will likely cost less, and has a fair amound of Stanley Cup experience as well. Click here for the full matchup breakdown of Brian Boyle vs. Marcus Kruger.
Voting Results: Kruger (43) over Boyle (16)

NOEL ACCIARI, C (Bruins) vs. PIERRE-EDOUARD BELLEMARE, LW (Golden Knights)

Voting Period: Mon. 6/17 6 a.m. ET to Tues. 6/18 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Acciari's character and toughness speaks for itself, as does his penalty-kill experience. Bellemare brings veteran experience and strength on the penalty kill. Click here for the full matchup breakfown of Noel Acciari vs. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Voting Results: TBD

CARL HAGELIN, LW (Capitals) vs. DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY, RW (Capitals)

Voting Period: Tues. 6/18 6 a.m. ET to Wed. 6/19 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Since the Capitals already resigned Hagelin, the question becomes whether Smith-Pelly is worth resigning too. WHile the winger's 2018 playoff performance was key to the Caps' victory, after last season there are some red flags. Click here for a full breakdown on whether the Capitals should resign Smith-Pelly
Voting Results: Devante Smith-Pelly should be resigned (39)

BRETT CONNOLLY, RW (Capitals) vs. BROOKS ORPIK, D (Capitals)

Voting Period: Wed. 6/19 6 a.m. ET to Thurs. 6/20 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: While Connolly added to the Caps' scoring depth, he's pricey. But veteran Orpik brings a certain expertise with his less-expensive pricetag. Click here for a full matchup breakdown on Brett Connolly and Brooks Orpik.
Voting Results: TBD

Round Two

MICHEAL FERLAND, LW (Hurricanes) vs. JOONAS DONSKOI, RW (Sharks)

Voting Period: Wed. 6/19 6 a.m. ET to Thurs. 6/20 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Ferland is productive and physical, but Donskoi is cheaper. Which should the Caps sign? Click here for the full matchup breakdown on Micheal Ferland vs. Joonas Donskoi.
Voting Results: Donskoi (67) over Ferland (7)

DERYK ENGELLAND, D (Golden Knights) vs. CARL GUNNARSSON, D (Blues)

Voting Period: Wed. 6/19 6 a.m. ET to Thurs. 6/20 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Engelland has good experience with the Golden Knights can fill various roles and take on a third-line role. Gunnarsson is older but has proved clutch for the Blues and is good on the penalty kill. Click here for the full matchup breakdown on Deryk Engelland vs. Carl Gunnarsson
Voting Results: Engelland (15) over Gunnarsson (12)

MARCUS KRUGER, C (Blackhawks) vs. NOEL ACCIARI, C (Bruins)

Voting Period: Mon. 6/24 6 a.m. ET to Tues. 6/25 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Kruger's pricetag is lower than that of Acciari, plus Kruger brings a strength on the penalty kill. But Acciari is also strong on the penalty kill and would be a perfect fit on the Caps' fourth line. Click here for the full matchup breakdown on Marcus Kruger vs. Noel Acciari.
Voting Results: Acciari (36) over Kruger (4)

BRETT CONNOLLY, RW (Capitals) vs. DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY, RW (Capitals)

Voting Period: Tues. 6/25 6 a.m. ET to Wed. 6/26 5:30 p.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Connolly adds to the Caps' scoring depth, but comes with a hefty pricetag. Smith-Pelly has proven to be inconsistent in the past, but is definitely less expensive. Click here for the full matchup breakdown on Brett Connolly vs. Devante Smith-Pelly
Voting Results: Connolly (85) over Smith-Pelly (48)


Round Three--Semifinals 

JOONAS DONSKOI, RW (Sharks) vs. CARL GUNNARSSON, D (Blues)

Voting Period: Wed. 6/26 6 a.m. ET to Thurs. 6/27 5:30 a.m. ET
Matchup Preview: Donskoi can fit into any role required of him, while Gunnarsson is almost exactly what the Caps are looking for depth-wise. Click here for the full matchup breakdown on Joonas Donskoi vs. Carl Gunnarsson
Voting Results: TBD

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Capitals will stay at same hotel in Toronto as Penguins, Flyers

Capitals will stay at same hotel in Toronto as Penguins, Flyers

The hotel assignments for the NHL postseason were released Thursday and the Capitals will be bunking up with their two biggest rivals. Washington will be in Hotel X in Toronto along with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. The remaining seven teams from the Eastern Conference will be in the Fairmont Royal York.

While this sounds juicy, the precautions set in the return to play protocol means there will be almost no interaction between the teams.

RELATED: NHLPA BOARD APPROVED RETURN-TO-ICE PLAN

Each team will have its own floor of the hotel and each player will have their own individual room. No one is allowed in a player's room except for hotel housekeepers and engineers. The spa, steam room and sauna will be closed and a daily schedule will be set up for the hotel fitness center. Players are expected to practice social distancing if they visit the hotel's restaurants and bars. There are even rules for the elevator. Players will have to stand on floor markers placed to ensure they still remain distant and talking is prohibited.

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While the Caps may be stuck in the same building with their biggest rivals, those teams may as well be on Mars given the great lengths to which the NHL is going to in order to make sure the teams remain separated.

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Alex Ovechkin selling ‘We Will Skate Again’ t-shirts and masks to help local community

Alex Ovechkin selling ‘We Will Skate Again’ t-shirts and masks to help local community

Alex Ovechkin will be selling custom "We Will Skate Again" t-shirts, face masks and neck gaiters with all proceeds going toward foundations in the DMV community, the Capitals announced in a press release Thursday.

The products, which can be purchased at the Ovechkin's online store, feature his signature logo. The shirts also have the phrase "We Will Skate Again" written across the front. Here's a look at some of the designs from the press release:

Money raised from t-shirt sales will be donated to the Tucker Road Ducks and The Tucker Road Parent Hockey Organization. The youth hockey team from Prince George’s County, Md., tragically lost their ice rink in 2017 due to a fire. The organization is working to rebuild it, while also striving to make hockey available for kids of any economic background. 

RELATED: OSHIE LAUNCHES AUCTION TO BENEFIT COVID-19 CRITICAL NEEDS FUND

Proceeds from the masks and neck gaiters will go to the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation's “Feeding the Frontlines” fund, which was created as a way to help those in the community who are dealing with the negative impact of COVID-19.

Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals are gearing up for the beginning of training camp on July 13 as the NHL gets closer to a return.

Stay connected to the Capitals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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