So far this summer, the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals have parted ways with much of their coaching staff, they’ve sent their backup goalie to Colorado, they let their fourth-line forward get rich in Vancouver, they’ve locked up a scoring-defenseman forever, they’ve lowered the cost on a veteran defenseman, they’ve signed some cheap deals for depth players, and they’ve studiously avoided big free-agency signings.
If you’re not sure if that’s a good offseason or not, you’re not alone. Here’s a roundup of who is saying what.
Greg Wyshynski filed Washington’s summer under the heading “biggest downgrades” next to the S show that is the New York Islanders but above the disasters of Montreal, Vancouver, Detroit, and Ottawa. Weighing heavily upon that rating is coaching. From Wyshynski:
Much more significant is the loss of Trotz, who split with the Capitals over the financial terms of his contract, becoming the first active Stanley Cup-winning coach not to return to his team since Mike Keenan with the Rangers in 1994. Former associate coach Todd Reirden might end up being an excellent coach, and the Capitals might run on autopilot with so many returning players, but Trotz is a tough act to follow — four straight seasons of the second round in the playoffs at a minimum, and the first Cup in franchise history.
The Capitals lose three players, but none that weren’t expendable and they have more cap flexibility now as a result. The fact that Washington was able to get out of the Brooks Orpik contract is reason enough to give the Capitals a B [. . .] It also means not having to play Orpik regularly which is an added bonus. He was the Capitals worst 5-on-5 defender on the shot clock and the scoreboard. Washington also lost their worst forward in that regard too in Jay Beagle.
A crew of staff writers combined their rankings of the top 16 offseasons, and Washington came up first, ahead of the Jets and Bolts. From the staff writers:
The Stanley Cup champions will return 18 of the 20 players who played in all five games of the Stanley Cup Final win against the Vegas Golden Knights. Todd Reirden takes over as coach after he was an assistant the past four seasons.
So that’s a number-one, an above average, and a “hey, at least you’re not Eugene Melnyk.”
Stay tuned for my own breakdown of the Caps’ offseason.
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