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Will the Caps deal Philipp Grubauer this offseason? Should they?

Will the Caps deal Philipp Grubauer this offseason? Should they?

Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said on Wednesday that he might trade Philipp Grubauer this offseason so that the backup goaltender can get a shot at a starting job elsewhere.

“Not pressure,” MacLellan said, asked if he feels any urgency to deal Grubauer. “For Grubi, I think he wants to be a No. 1. It’s just a personal thing for Grubi. I would love to have Grubi back.”

“We have two really good goaltenders,” MacLellan continued, making a reference to starter Braden Holtby. “I just think [Grubauer is] at the point where he wants his own team. He wants to be the guy that is running the show…and I respect that.”

Grubauer, 26, was at his best this season when his team needed him most. With Holtby scuffling at times during the regular season, Coach Barry Trotz asked more of Grubauer, who responded with a career year, amassing highs in games played (35), starts (28), wins (15) and equaling his personal best for shutouts (3).

In fact, Grubauer had the best stats of any goalie in the NHL from Thanksgiving until the end of the regular season, going 15-5-2 with a .937 save percentage and 1.93 goals against average to help the Caps earn a third straight Metro Division title.

Due to his strong finish to the season and Holtby’s uneven play, Grubauer was tapped as the Caps’ playoff starter. It didn’t last, though, as he gave way to Holtby after a couple of overtime losses to start the Columbus series.

Holtby did not give the net back. Instead, he rediscovered his game and led the franchise to its first Stanley Cup, meaning the starting job in Washington figures to belong to No. 70 for a long, long time going forward.

Which leaves Grubauer in a tough spot—again.

The Caps can, however, help out a player that did so much for them during an up-and-down regular season. They can trade the German to a team where he’ll have the chance to start full-time.

As things stand now, there are no shortage of clubs seeking upgrades in net. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Islanders and Hurricanes have already inquired about Grubauer’s availability.

Asked if he feels that he’s proved to the rest of the league that he can be a No. 1, Grubauer said, “Hopefully, yeah.”

“I tried to play my game and I tried to be consistent the last couple of years, and win some games and get some points. Hopefully teams and other people saw that,” he added. “That was my goal: to be a No. 1 starter. I would like to be a No. 1 starter.”

Grubauer stopped short of saying he wanted to be dealt.

“I think we’re going to celebrate a little bit longer and enjoy this moment,” he said. “The draft is pretty soon. I think things are going to happen pretty soon. But who knows? I’m still a restricted free agent. …We’ll see. I’m sure something will happen.”

If the Caps were to trade Grubauer, the team would likely turn to prospect Pheonix Copley, the organization’s No. 3 goalie who skated with the ‘black aces’ during the Cup run, as the backup next season. Ilya Samsonov could also be in the mix; the 2015 first round pick is slated to come to North America this fall, though MacLellan conceded that he’ll likely need some AHL seasoning before competing for a job in Washington.


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Chandler Stephenson will spend his day with the Stanley Cup in Humboldt


Chandler Stephenson will spend his day with the Stanley Cup in Humboldt

The Stanley Cup will travel with each Capital player this summer making stops around the world along the way, but few stops will be as meaningful as the one it will take with Chandler Stephenson.

Stephenson, a native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, intends to spend his day with the Stanley Cup in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

The hockey world was stunned in April with news of a devastating bus crash involving the junior hockey team Humboldt Broncos. A total of 16 people were killed and 13 injured when a truck crashed into the bus carrying the team.

Saskatoon is only about 90 minutes away from Humboldt and Stephenson felt a personal connection to the tragedy.

"I knew a couple of guys on the bus," Stephenson told reporters after Thursday's game.

Every player on a Stanley Cup winning team gets to spend a day with the Cup. To help with the healing process, Stephenson has pledged to bring the Cup to Humboldt. He spoke further about his plans at the team's final media availability on Wednesday.

"That's obviously something that I've been wanting to do and something that's special and close to home for me," he said. "Yeah, it's something that I'm looking forward to."

The crash deeply affected the entire hockey community. "Humboldt Strong" became a rallying cry as did "Sticks out for Humboldt" as sticks were left out all across North America in honor of the victims.

For a tragedy that was felt across the hockey community, it seems fitting that as part of the healing process the Stanley Cup be brought to Humboldt for the victims and their families to enjoy.

Said Stephenson, "When the day comes and the people and family and friends there, it's going to be special."


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Brooks Orpik lost part of his pinky in the Final, but he did not lose any playing time


Brooks Orpik lost part of his pinky in the Final, but he did not lose any playing time

Brooks Orpik had part of the pinky on his left hand sliced off during the Stanley Cup Final.

And he didn’t miss any playing time.

Let me repeat that.

Orpik lost a part of his finger. Had it reattached, then casually helped the Caps claim the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

“It kinda fell off,” Orpik said with a smile on breakdown day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday.

The injury occurred at the end of Game 2 in Las Vegas when Erik Haula whacked him with a wicked slash. Haula received a five minute major and a game misconduct.

Earlier in the game, Orpik scored his first goal since 2016.

“It probably looked worse than it was,” Orpik said. “It was tough to look at. But the trainers did a really good job. It was never something that I thought would keep me from playing.”

Hockey players, man.