The Capitals expected Opening Night list after signing Dylan Strome

The Washington Capitals have been very busy so far in the low season and have picked up eight players during the first two days of free play.

To summarize: Capitals 2022-2023 list is now sports Dylan Strome (2C), Connor Brown (top six wing), Marcus Johansson (bottom six), and Henrik Borgstrøm (depth center / wing) at forward; Erik Gustafsson (bottom mating) and Matt Irwin (depth) in defenders; and two new goalkeepers, Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren.

The team is now $ 6.3 million above the salary cap per capita. Cap Friendly. The teams are allowed to be up to 10 percent above the ceiling in the offseason.

Brian MacLellan’s signatures suggest that several major competitions are taking place during training camp, none bigger than third center place, where if Connor McMichael loses to Lars Eller, he could spend the season in the AHL Hershey.


Capitals expected Opening Night list

Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said the Caps would fill Nicklas Backstrom’s place internally, but the addition of Strome under free agency pushes McMichael, the team’s best young player, down the lineup and potentially completely off the list. Despite a season 2021-22, where he finished second on the team in CF / 60, first in xGF / 60, second place in SCF / 60 and second in HDCF / 60, McMichael did not get more opportunities and one of the first players’ booklet to the bench by head coach Peter Laviolette, who seemed concerned about the Canadian’s two-way game. Among players who entered 20 games for the Caps last season, only Brett Leason (8:57) had an average ice time that was less than McMichaels’ (10:28). McMichael could join Hendrix Lapierre and Aliaksei Protas in Hershey next season, but the opportunity could open up a year later. More veteran attackers will be unlimited free agents next summer.

Other matches in the camp will include both of the bottom six left-wing positions. Based on evidence from last season, Marcus Johansson and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby have tracked down, but Snively, Borgstrom, Leason, Protas and maybe even McMichael will all be pushing for one of those spots. It will be either the 13th forward duty in the NHL or the Hershey Bears for those who lose on the positions. Is it possible that Or even fits the wing as it was tried on a few occasions last season?

In defense, things are a little tighter. It seems that Gustafsson was purposefully signed to play with TVR, but Caps champions have also raved about how well Lucas Johansen played in the AHL last season. Matt Irwin is also back and is a Laviolette favorite, playing both sides and getting into 17 games in 2021-22. It’s a competition that’s likely to go down all season, as the Caps have typically carried eight defenders under Laviolette.


The capital’s strange wage ceiling situation

Capitals’ payroll specialist Don Fishman has probably worked many hours this summer. The team is currently well above the maximum limit ($ 6.3 million), but there is one obvious immediate solution: placing Nicklas Backstrom ($ 9.2 million), Tom Wilson ($ 5.17 million) and Carl Hagelin ( $ 2.75 million) all on long-term damaged reserves to start the year. The cap saving would be $ 17.12 million and it would give the team only a shadow over $ 10.7 million in place. But what happens when the guys return, as the team expects them to do sometime this season? It’s a little more complicated.

The last update we received about Hagelin was that he has an appointment in August to determine how well his eye surgery actually went and whether he has recovered enough to play hockey in 2022-23. He has been back on skates since the beginning of May, and if that appointment goes positively, can we then see him fight to play already in October? Hagelin’s salary of $ 2.75 million will still be covered by Wilson’s and Backstrom’s long – term absence ($ 8.05 million in space), but it will probably also force a younger striker to win one of the last places for Hershey or in case of one as AJF left on exemptions first. That striker will not have a cap-hit that will change much for the team going forward.

Now Wilson is expected back around the holiday season from his out-of-season knee surgery. The first-line forward’s salary of $ 5.17 million will also fit under the ceiling with Backstrom still on LTIR, but it creates yet another scenario where another forward has to move back to Hershey without a trade. Wilson is a right winger, and it’s not likely that one of the guys currently on the depth chart on the right will be the ones moving on. One possible scenario includes Sheary moving to the left, which is where we already expect there to be the most competition for seats without adding another established NHL veteran to the mix. As you can see, things get really tight for someone like McMichael mentioned above.

The last piece is Backstrom. The capitals have been running all this offseason as they expect not to be able to just pull a Nikita Kucherov and save the Swedish center until the playoffs. If that were the case, someone would get paid a lot more than Dylan Strome currently on the list. In our hitherto hypothetical scenario, Backstrom’s salary of $ 9.2 million would bring the team about $ 6 million over the ceiling when he returned. So there is something big to give there, and one option could be trading with both Eller and Hagelin, whose combined salary totals $ 6.25 million. It would also free up opportunities for the cheaper, younger alternatives already in the organization.

One thing is for sure, the team’s front office will earn their checks the rest of the summer through the regular season.


What are your thoughts on the work Caps did on day one? What do you think they will look like on opening day?

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