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Philipp Grubauer named 'trade bait' by TSN, here's why Caps are unlikely to trade him

Philipp Grubauer named 'trade bait' by TSN, here's why Caps are unlikely to trade him

Philipp Grubauer put together a spectacular 2016-17 season with a 2.26 GAA and .926 save percentage in 24 games. At just 25 years old, his future looks bright as a possible NHL starter...somewhere.
 
With Braden Holtby under contract until 2020 and prospect Ilya Samsonov expected to be the team’s future in net, Grubauer’s greatest value to the Caps may be as a tradeable asset. At least that’s what TSN thinks.
 
TSN released its Top 30 Trade Trade Bait board and Grubauer made the list, coming in at No. 14. He was only one of three goalies to make the list.

RELATED: 20 questions: Can Burakovsky take the next step?
 
You can certainly understand the reasoning. With the expansion draft looming, a goalie projected to be a potential NHL starter would certainly be an attractive target for Vegas. Every team hates losing valuable assets for nothing which is why the Caps could potentially explore making a trade so that they could at least get something for Grubauer.
 
In a vacuum, this makes complete sense. Here’s why it is unlikely to happen.
 
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan told the media the Capitals will use the option of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie in the expansion draft. With John Carlson and Matt Niskanen already under contract for next season and Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt expected to return as restricted free agents, that gives four defensemen the Caps will want to protect. One of those four will have to be left exposed.
 
Washington will also have a difficult decision to make on offense with a number of valuable forwards worth protecting. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky are no-brainers to protect. That leaves just three slots for Marcus Johansson, Lars Eller, Tom Wilson, Jay Beagle and possibly T.J. Oshie if the team hopes to re-sign him.
 
Bottom line is that the Capitals, like every team in the NHL, are going to lose one player to the expansion draft. If Washington trades Grubauer, that means they will lose someone else. If given the choice between losing a top-four defenseman, a productive forward or a backup goalie who likely does not factor into the team’s future, losing Grubauer may actually be a small price to pay.
 
MORE CAPITALS: Why Shattenkirk could prove vital to Caps even if he leaves

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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