The Washington Capitals are listening to offers for forward Lars Eller and defender Nick Jensen, according to SportsNet insider Elliotte Friedman.
On Monday’s 32 Thoughts podcast, Friedman described Washington general manager Brian MacLellan as being in the midst of some big decisions.
“[I]t’s pretty clear that what he’s doing right now is he’s talking to all his [unrestricted free agents on expiring contracts] and saying ‘Can I sign you or will I trade you?’,” Friedman says.
Eller and Jensen are two UFAs Friedman says are courting interest from other teams. Those teams include the New Jersey Devils, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Ottawa Senators.
“I think there’s definitely interest in Eller,” Friedman says. “Before this Dallas trade, I heard [interest] with him. I heard New Jersey with him.”
Eller, 33, is in the final year of a five-year deal that earns him $3.5 million against the salary cap. Eller has seven goals and nine assists this season, in which his average ice time has dropped by about a minute from previous years.
Friedman implied a lot of interest in Nick Jensen. “I think there’s quite a few teams — potentially Toronto and Ottawa, among the two of them. I think there’s more.”
Jensen, 32, has seen his role increase dramatically with Washington, even before the cascade of injuries. A strong driver of play, Jensen would shore up defensive depth for any Cup contender.
Other insiders have reported that teams are interested in 30-year-old forward Conor Sheary.
Friedman reports that MacLellan has advertised that he is ready to deal. MacLellan sent an email to his fellow GMs last week about Dmitry Orlov just days before the trade with Boston. Friedman says he’s since sent another message about additional players.
“I think he sent out another email [. . . ]”, Friedman says, “about some of his other UFAs. So Brian MacLellan sent a message: He’s open for business. And these teams know he means it. I think they’re all calling him. So what I think he’s doing is he’s playing both hands: the sign hand and the trade hand. He’s deciding what he’s going to do on what these players want.”
Washington’s active free agents on expiring deals are:
The NHL trade deadline is Friday, March 3 at 3 PM.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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