Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom were crucial pieces of the Capitals’ Cup-winning team. With both due to become free agents at the end of the 2019-20 season, Washington’s front office has important decisions to make for both of them. They could be traded for assets now, re-signed to big deals, or simply let go at the end of the season.
TSN’s “Insider Trading” video with Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie recently covered the considerations and negotiations between players and management. LeBrun said he doesn’t think a new deal is coming soon, and that Holtby, Backstrom, and the team are aware that it comes down to how the team will look when the playoffs approach.
From the video:
Gino Reda: The Washington Capitals have a couple of pending [inaudible] to free agents—Braden Holtby and Nick Backstrom—no hurry on this front, though, for either side?
Pierre Lebrun No, and it is quite interesting. And I know this term gets overused, but these are two legacy players after winning a Cup and being part of these powerhouse teams forever, Braden Holtby and Nick Backstrom.
There has been a lot of dialogue, but there’s been absolutely a decision: let’s let the season play out here for a while–if not the entire season–before we address these two key contracts. All kinds of reasons, the salary cap’s one of them. I also think it’s a bit of a referendum on this team: are they still a true contender? Does this team need to transition, or do they go out and win a Cup this year? All of that will play into these decisions.
The players know it, everyone’s on the same page, but absolutely fascinating, especially in Holtby’s case. Ilya Samsonov pushing him for starts, and that’s another factor in a long-term decision in goal for Washington.
Gino Reda:That would dramatically change the complexion of this franchise moving forward.
General manager Brian MacLellan had previously indicated that Holtby and/or Backstrom could have been re-signed prior to the season’s start. Obviously, that did not happen. Now it seems it may not happen for a while — if at all.
DC Modern Magazine
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