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Wednesday night, the NHL announced that the Capitals’ Brian MacLellan is a finalist for the 2015-16 General Manager of the Year Award. MacLellan helped guide the Caps to the President’s Trophy (as the league’s best regular season team) and the most wins in franchise history (56) this season. Over the summer, MacLellan acquired key veterans TJ Oshie and Justin Williams and re-signed Braden Holtby to a long-term deal.

The Capitals have reached the 100-point plateau in each of MacLellan’s first two seasons as general manager. MacLellan was previously the understudy of long-time Caps general manager George McPhee, who pieced together most of the core of the current roster.

The Penguins’ Jim Rutherford and the Stars’ Jim Nill are also finalists.

MacLellan becomes the the fourth Capital up for an NHL Award this season. Mac will join head Ccoach Barry Trotz (Jack Adams Award), goaltender Braden Holtby (Vezina Trophy), and captain Alex Ovechkin in Las Vegas (Richard Trophy, Messier NHL Leadership Award).

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Monday, Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan held his end of the season press conference with the media. MacLellan touched on his plans for the offseason, his thoughts on top-rated prospect Jakub Vrana, and what he thought was missing from this year’s team.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

General Manager Brian MacLellan addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss what lies ahead for the Caps. MacLellan touched on a number of topics, including the decision to sit Braden Holtby in the final game of the season and Jay Beagle’s availability for Game 1.

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Photo: Patrick Smith

General Manager Brian MacLellan met with the press Thursday to discuss the Capitals’ acquisition of Mike Weber and talk about the team’s thinking as it heads into the trade deadline next week.

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The Year of Brian MacLellan

Brian MacLellan

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Let’s forego a flowery intro and get right to the point: Brian MacLellan crushed 2015 out of the park. The Caps GM had a spectacular year and currently presides over not only the hottest team in the NHL but the best team as well, according to the standings. Basically, Brian MacLellan was The Undertaker and 2015 was Mankind on top of the Hell in a Cell.

To celebrate MacLellan’s year, we’re going to revisit his three best moves of the past calendar year, with an honorable mention thrown in for good measure.

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Photo: Alex Brandon

We already told you that Alex Ovechkin took home the Rocket Richard Trophy for the fifth time and Braden Holtby finished fourth in voting for the Vezina Trophy. But there are a few other juicy tidbits from the NHL Awards ceremony that we missed.

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All the Juicy News About Caps Free Agents

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Baby, come back!

ESPN’s Craig Custance dropped a big old newsbomb on Caps free agency today, providing updates on the team’s plans for everyone from Braden Holtby (spoiler alert: good news!) to Mike Green (spoiler alert: also good news, depending on your perspective!).

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Photo credit: Susan Walsh

In the summer of 2011, the Washington Capitals gave Joel Ward a four-year, $12 million contract. The deal was largely based on Ward’s play over 12 games when Ward scored 13 points during Nashville’s run to the second round under Barry Trotz. In the regular season that year, Ward had scored just 10 goals. He was 31-years-old. Some of George McPhee‘s gambles didn’t work out, but this one did.

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I have a bad habit of nitpicking the public statements of NHL general managers. I have a ton of respect for their talents, and I think their jobs are very difficult, but they’re also kind of terrible at articulating themselves– or maybe they’re just bad at saying things that are supported by facts.

Case in point: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan touting the playoff performance of Tim Gleason.

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We don’t have many pictures of Dmitry Orlov from this year. This one almost makes up for it. (Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter)

Dmitry Orlov‘s 2014-15 season stunk — if you can even call it a season. After breaking his wrist playing for the gold medal-winning Russian national team at the 2014 World Championships, Orlov was supposed to be playing by the end of September. Instead, he never played an NHL game this year.

Orlov had numerous complications, with his return constantly getting delayed. He was finally ready to suit up at the end of March, and the Capitals assigned him to Hershey Bears for a conditioning stint. The 23-year-old played three games and rejoined the Caps, but Orlov had fallen in the depth chart by then. Tim Gleason had supplanted him in the lineup, and Nate Schmidt served as Washington’s seventh defensemen. Head coach Barry Trotz showed little interest in dressing someone who had not played in the NHL for a year.

Next season, however, looks to be more promising for Orlov. With Mike Green likely to depart, Orlov could slot into the third pairing alongside fellow RMNB-favorite Schmidt.

“It’s been frustrating that he hasn’t played,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday. “We missed a year of development with him. He’s a good young defenseman. We’re counting coming into our lineup next year and having our coaching staff work with him. I think we’ll see major strides.”

I spoke Orlov about his rough season on breakdown day. It turns out it wasn’t that fun for him. His English is good though!

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