niskanen

It’s not over yet. The Capitals have announced that they have signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a 7-year contract with an AAV of $5.75 million. Niskanen joins Brooks Orpik, who was signed to a five-year deal earlier today.

Washington has now acquired two UFA defensemen off the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were not a good defensive team, at a total cost of $67.75 million. What is going on in Arlington?

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Words are Wind

“It’s going to be hard to take advantage of me.” – Brian MacLellan

Orpik. Five years. $5.5 million AAV.

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Free Agency Frenzy Open Thread 2014

NHL teams have had an extra handful of days to talk to players before free agency officially begins, so some are expecting today to be more bananas than usual. Considering the first day of free agency is traditionally already pretty bananas, I’m not sure I’m ready for the sheer volume of bananas we’re about to see.

Who’s gonna get the most ridiculous contract of the day? I’m gonna say Ryan Miller. Which defender will the Caps take? I’ve got no clue. Who’s gonna make a crazy trade? Probably Hextall.

Follow all the madness below. The comments should be fun. Please go GIF bananas.

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Starting at noon, it’ll be open season on unrestricted free agents in the NHL. Last year’s contracts will be up, and we’ll be inundated by a flood of exorbitant salaries and impractical terms. For the last few years the Caps have mostly been bystanders to the free agency frenzy, but with $12.7M in salary cap space, they’ll likely be a bit more active today.

I cut this video to discuss what might animate the Caps’ offseason strategy: where they stand as a franchise, what holes they need to fill, and where the problems are not.

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Matt Niskanen: A Case Study in Context

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Matt Niskanen, late of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is one of the marquee defensemen expected to go to free agency tomorrow. New Caps beat writer Alex Prewitt covered the buzz around Niskanen in the Post this morning.

A move to Washington would keep Niskanen with his old defensive coach, Todd Reirden, who coached the blueliner in Pittsburgh and can speak knowledgeably about the player to the Caps front office. And at a glance, Niskanen looks like a very strong player.

Let’s check out ExtraSkater.com, which is the best site on the internet next to the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator. Last year with Pittsburgh, Niskanen saw 53.4 percent of shot attempts belong to his team during 5v5– a number 7.3 percent better than when he was off the ice. In 2012-13, he had a 51.2 percent shot-attempt percentage, a 3.6 percent improvement compared to when he was on the bench.

That looks fantastic, but hold on a second.

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Happy Wedding Day, Ashley and Ian!

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In just a few hours, your humble blogfather Ian Oland will marry his lady love Ashley. I and much of the stateside RMNB contingent will be there to help celebrate in person (while Fedor stands guard on the draft), but for now it seems appropriate for use this forum and opportunity to say a few words about Ian and Ashley.

Ian: This is the romantic equivalent of the Scott Hartnell-R.J. Umberger trade. Without sacrificing much value at all, you’re adding a ton of character and personality to your team. The experts watching this transaction are baffled at how you managed to pull it off.

Greenberg manually RT’d the news and added, “Oh.” So that’s how you know it’s a big deal.

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Doesn’t Look Like Caps Will Re-sign Mikhail Grabovski

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the press after Friday night’s first round of the draft. He dropped this update on the pursuit to re-sign forward Mikhail Grabovski:

Thaaaaat’s not good.

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awards

The NHL Awards will be handed out in Vegas tonight. Alex Ovechkin will be there to collect yet another Rocket Richard Trophy for scoring the most goals during the regular season. Sidney Crosby will almost certainly win the Hart and Lindsay. If you ask me, Chara, Bergeron, and Rask should make the Norris, Selke, and Vezina a sweep for the Bruins. But we’ll see.

Thing is– the awards handed out during the televised ceremony only scratch the surface. There’s a ton of exceptional and superlative stuff that happened in the league this season. After peeking at the stats, we’re ready to hand out some more.

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Here’s Your 2014-15 Capitals Schedule

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Photoshop by Forrest

Hey everybody. Happy summer and everything, but I’ve gotta remind you: Winter is coming.

The NHL has released the 2014-15 schedule. In a stunning development the Caps will play 82 games with just about half of them at home. Weird how it always works out like that. Venture below for the full thingy and instant, totally shallow analysis.

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Report: Capitals to Host Blackhawks in 2015 Winter Classic

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Photo credit: Justin K. Aller

We still don’t know where, but now we know who. According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, and then confirmed by a bunch of dutiful fact-checkers, the Washington Capitals will play the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2015 Winter Classic.

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