PA Parenteau: Free Agent Profile

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Brian MacLellan has said the Caps intend to upgrade their third line this offseason. This is part of our series looking at free agents who the Caps may target.

It’s Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau‘s turn to get assessed as a free agent fit for the Capitals. Most recently of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Parenteau would be my personal pick to replace Jason Chimera as one of the wings on the third line. If you were on the #PAPtoDC bandwagon at the trade deadline then this is obviously the post for you.

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David Legwand: Free Agent Profile

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Brian MacLellan has said the Caps intend to upgrade their third line this offseason. This is part of our series looking at free agents who the Caps may target.

David Legwand in 2016 should not be confused with the David Legwand of seasons past. In his prime, Legwand was a fast-skating, offensively talented two-way center. Now, he’s best known for his veteran leadership–a trait that won’t necessarily improve the Caps’ third line.

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Teddy Purcell: Free Agent Profile

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Brian MacLellan has said the Caps intend to upgrade their third line this offseason. This is part of our series looking at free agents who the Caps could potentially target.

Teddy Purcell is a utility player with strong possession numbers. Sounds good, right? He’s not much of a goal scorer, but he’s got a knack for play-making–and just take a look at the assists he’s racked up over the past few seasons. For the right price, Purcell could be a real asset to the Caps.

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Brad Richards: Free Agent Profile

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Brian MacLellan has said the Caps intend to upgrade their third line this offseason. This is part of our series looking at free agents who the Caps may target.

Brad Richards is an accomplished NHL player and an offensively gifted one at that. But he also turned 36 in May, which should give the Caps pause about pursuing him if their goal is a third line that plays faster, more up-tempo hockey in 2016-17.

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Michael Grabner: Free Agent Profile

Brian MacLellan has said the Caps intend to upgrade their third line this offseason. This is part of our series looking at free agents who the Caps could potentially target.

What if I told you there was a 28-year-old, former 34-goal scorer available this offseason for third line money or even less? You’d probably snap my hand off at the chance to get him on the Caps roster for next season. That is until you realize that, that marquee season happened six seasons ago and said player hasn’t come close to replicating that kind of success since. This is the curious case of former Maple Leaf, Islander and Canuck, Michael Grabner.

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Photo: Justin K. Aller

The Capitals just had their best regular season in franchise history. We thought things might be different in this year’s playoffs, yet here we are again, feeling like we just got run over by a 16 wheeler (that then put itself in reverse, backed over our still twitching bodies, put itself back in drive, and ran us over again).

Let me just spew out a few painful facts that are real, actual things. Alex Ovechkin, this generation’s greatest goal scorer, has never made it past the second round of the postseason. Barry Trotz, this season’s slam dunk Jack Adams Trophy winner, has never gotten past the second round of the postseason. The whole dang Caps franchise has not made it past the second round since 1998. On top of that, this series loss to the Penguins marks the eighth time the organization has lost to the Penguins out of nine tries, which is the worst winning percentage in the NHL among any teams that have faced off 8 times or more. These stats can straight up go to hell.

So can this chart.

I have no grand conclusions on why this season ended early for the Caps — other than they were really unlucky and not failures in any way. What I do have is a lot of random thoughts and questions, some of which are fun and some of which are miserable. Let’s review.

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Keys for Game Six to Force a Game Seven

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Photo: Drew Hallowell

A Caps win in Game Five brought the series back to Pittsburgh. Tonight, the Washington Capitals will look to force a Game Seven back in Washington. The Caps must continue with what worked in Game Five, and even sharpen up a few areas, because an elimination game on home ice is one thing, but one in the enemy’s barn is a whole other animal.

Here are my five keys to a Game Six win.

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Photo: Drew Hallowell

Looks like Head Coach Barry Trotz is shuffling his line combos heading into Game Five on Saturday. NHL.com’s Katie Brown has the lines from practice this morning:

The biggest change is the flip-flopping of centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov’s elevation forms a new top line for Head Coach Barry Trotz with Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie, one that had success early in the season. Other notable changes include the reformation of the Caps’ Tre Kronor line with Backstrom centering Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky, and Justin Williams finding himself on the third line.

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Five Reasons Why the Caps Could Still Win This Series

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Photo: Justin K. Aller

Wednesday night, the Capitals lost Game Four to the Penguins in sudden death overtime. According to the NHL’s PR, the Penguins improved to 8-3 in 11 all-time OT playoff games against the Capitals. The victory gave the Penguins a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Yesterday, we felt depressed. But there is reason to have hope. In fact, I have five reasons why the Caps could come back in this series.

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Wednesday after the morning skate, NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti reported that veteran Capitals defenseman Mike Weber would get a sweater for Game Four. Barry Trotz is benching Nate Schmidt, the man who had a bad turnover which directly led to the Penguins’ game-winning goal Monday.

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