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.
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