CHICAGO—The Caps tried to work out a side deal with Las Vegas ahead of Wednesday’s expansion draft but were unable to dissuade the Golden Knights from ultimately plucking a player off their roster, GM Brian MacLellan said.
Vegas, of course, selected Nate Schmidt, a 25-year-old defenseman whom Washington left exposed. The Caps had Schmidt penciled into a top-4 role for next season.
“We made a couple of good offers, I think,” MacLellan said Friday night at United Center, where the NHL was hosting the entry draft. “I think they just liked Schmidt.”
RELATED: MacLellan: Caps likely done signing own UFAs
MacLellan said Vegas’ asking price was “a couple of assets” but he declined to be specific.
“I think in the end, they really like Schmidt,” MacLellan said. “At one point, we thought they were taking [backup goaltender Philipp] Grubauer. They probably were making a choice down to the end, and they ended up choosing Schmidt.”
The loss of Schmidt leaves the Caps with a hole on the blue line that they haven't quite figured out how to fill just yet, MacLellan said.
The Caps currently have four defensemen—Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, Brooks Orpik and Taylor Chorney—under contract for next season. Restricted free agent Dmitry Orlov, meanwhile, is expected to re-sign. But that still leaves Washington one short of three full pairs, and that doesn't factor in the need for a quality seventh so they've got some work to do.
“We have a job opening,” MacLellan said. “We’re going to look at [our] young guys, look at free agents, maybe the trade market. We’ll see. We’ll pursue all avenues and see what we can come up with.”
MORE CAPITALS: Oshie signs long-term deal to stay in D.C.
Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!
Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Audioboom and Google Play and give us a good review! Maybe we'll even read it on the air. For the latest Caps coverage be sure to follow @CSNCapitals, @TarikCSN and @JJReganCSN on Twitter.