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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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Todd Reirden brings champs in locker room to keep Capitals motivated

Todd Reirden brings champs in locker room to keep Capitals motivated

They say D.C. is the new title town, and Washington's head coach Todd Reirden is looking to capitalize on that momentum by keeping that energy around his team the best way he knows how: hearing straight from the champs themselves.

On the Junkies, Reirden recounted bringing in Mystics' star forward Elena Delle Donne and Nationals' outfielder Adam Eaton, saying he invited them to remind the 2018 Stanley Cup champions "what it feels like [to win], have people that win championships and especially fellow athletes that are right in the D.C. area."

"I think that's something that kind of got the fire burning a little bit, and it has been burning, to be 100% truthful, since we lost last year," Reirden said.

The Capitals lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in a seven-game first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs that ended in double-overtime.

Washington sits atop the National Hockey League, leading everyone by at least five points -- Washington has 32 points through 20 games, while the second-place Islanders have 27 points through 17 games.

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T.J. Oshie skates with military families as part of Courage Caps initiative

T.J. Oshie skates with military families as part of Courage Caps initiative

Capitals winger T.J. Oshie and his teammates hosted an event supporting the TAPS program, which helps military families who have lost a loved one in service to their country 

The Capitals hosted an afternoon skate on Thursday for dozens of military family members who have lost a loved one during their service. 

Oshie and teammates Garnet Hathaway and Nick Jensen were on the ice at MedStar Iceplex in Arlington. They skated. They took pictures. They signed autographs. It was all part of an annual Courage Caps event for members of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). 

That organization has helped support over 90,000 families of fallen military heroes with grief and trauma resources, emotional support, camps for children and seminars and retreats for adults struggling with loss.

Sale of Courage Caps t-shirts and caps have helped bring in almost $1 million since 2011. The merchandise will be available at the organization’s team stores at Capital One Arena and MedStar Iceplex all November. The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) is a supporting partner. 

Families not only interacted with Oshie, Hathaway and Jensen on the ice. Captain, the Capitals’ service dog in training, made an appearance along with mascot Slapshot and members of the ALL CAPS crew.

Oshie raced two boys and appeared to lose to the smaller of them just as they crossed center ice, laughing all the way. Jensen helped another novice skater by escorting her around the ice. Afterward, the Capitals and Papa John’s hosted a pizza party for the families.

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