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


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.


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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.


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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

The St. Louis Blues' two-goal first period powered them to a win over the San Jose Sharks, and the series is now tied.

The Blues started with a goal 35 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev picked off a Brent Burns exit pass and flung it towards the net for the games opening goal. 

Barbashev is the second Blues player to score in the first minute of a game these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz is the other player.

Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal for the Blues on a power play off a scramble in front of the net.

The Sharks responded when Thomas Hertl poked the puck past the goal line after Jordan Binnington thought he had the puck covered. Hertl now has 10 goals this postseason for the Sharks, and the team now features 10 or more players to score 10+ goals in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

Binnington's 29 save performance gave him his 10th win of the playoffs, the most of any Blues goaltender in franchise history.