During interviews with the media, General Manager Brian MacLellan has routinely fingered the 2016-17 season as the Capitals’ last season in a two-year window to win the Cup. That’s because nearly half of the team’s roster will be due new contracts. TJ Oshie, Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik, and Karl Alzner will be unrestricted free agents on July 1, while Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Brett Connolly, Dmitry Orlov, Nate Schmidt, and Philipp Grubauer are all restricted free agents.
With Brent Burns recently re-signing in San Jose for eight years, Karl Alzner is now set to become one of the top two defensemen on the 2017 UFA market. Nick Kypreos reported Saturday night during Hockey Night In Canada’s Headlines segment that Alzner could fetch a salary of up to $6 million per year on his next deal – a $3.2 million raise over his currently salary this season.
We have now reached the point in Alex Ovechkin’s legendary career where almost every goal he scores and almost every point he tallies is historic. Wednesday night, Ovechkin tallied three goals – his 16th career hat trick. Let me put that in perspective for you.
According to @StatsCentre, the official stats account for TSN’s SportsCentre, that tied Ovechkin with former Capitals forward Peter Bondra for the most hat tricks since the 1995-96 season. Ovechkin played his first game on October 5, 2005.
In late June, the Vegas Golden Knights’s inaugural roster will take shape during the NHL’s first expansion draft since the turn of the millennium. The Washington Capitals are bursting with talent everywhere on their 22-man roster, which is why they will likely lose a beloved member of the organization.
While that’s a depressing thought, I do have some good’ish news. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston got his hands on the memo which outlines the 66 players that are currently considered exempt from the expansion process (because of no-move clauses). The Caps are one of four NHL teams that do not have any players that fit that bill. So that means, the players the Capitals choose to protect — a) seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or b) eight skaters (forwards/defensemen), and one goaltender — will be protected because of strategy and not because their hands are tied with bad contracts.
From new shirts to our limited edition ugly sweater, there are a lot of RMNB items that would be make great Christmas presents this holiday season. But the greatest stocking stuffer may very well be what I show you next.
The NHL has up for sale not one, but two (!!) Alex Ovechkin signed pucks. But here’s the twist. Ovechkin has included an inscription of RMNB (Russian Machine Never Breaks).
Oh boy! The Las Vegas NHL team finally has a name, logo, and colors. Majority owner Bill Foley revealed the name “Vegas Golden Knights” at Tuesday night’s ceremony just outside of T-Mobile Arena which will host the team’s home games.
The Golden Knights will be placed into the Western Conference’s Pacific Division starting next year and will have the third best odds at receiving the number one draft pick this summer. They also will get to select a player from each NHL team in the 2017 expansion draft, which means one of our beloved Capitals will be suiting up in gold, black, grey, and red as soon as next October.
We’ll find out later today what the name and logo will be for the NHL’s new team in Las Vegas. But we already know who one NHL analyst believes the team will take in the expansion draft next spring.
TSN analyst Craig Button shared his draft predictions today, and former Caps and current Preds beat writer Adam Vingan was kind enough to post a screenshot on Twitter. Button believes the Vegas team will take defenseman Dmitry Orlov from the Caps.
Baltimore Orioles legend and greatest baseball player that ever lived, Cal Ripken Jr., attended Caps practice Tuesday. The news was first reported by CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Jill Sorenson.
According to the Capitals, the Iron Man was at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to give a speech to the team after practice. The team also plugged Ripken Baseball, Cal’s baseball camp that he runs with younger brother Billy.
After the Capitals’ 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets Sunday, Barry Trotz took to the media to voice his displeasure about Nick Foligno’s embellishment in the third period. If you remember, Nick Backstrom took a penalty for high sticking (even though it wasn’t) in the third period which then ultimately lead to the Blue Jackets’s last-minute, game-winning goal.
Monday, because there is a Just And Loving God, Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella was given his chance to respond. It’s exactly what you would expect from hockey’s most cuddly coach.
Monday morning, depth forward Paul Carey was re-assigned to the Hershey Bears, suggesting that Lars Eller is near a full recovery.
Eller, who sustained an undisclosed upper-body injury during Friday night’s game against the Red Wings, has not participated in a Caps practice since. The third line center took the ice during the Caps’ family skate Saturday. On Monday, Eller skated before the rest of the team had practice, Caps’ Head Coach Barry Trotz was optimistic.
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had one of the best stretches of his career last week and the NHL has recognized his play.
Monday afternoon, the NHL announced Backstrom was the league’s third star of the week, placing behind first star Jeff Carter (four goals and two assists) and second star Cam Ward (3-0-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average, .964 save percentage). Backstrom led the league last week with eight points. He also scored four goals.
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