Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan continued to make the rounds with media after the Trade Deadline passed.
On Monday afternoon, MacLellan spoke with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny. During the 15-minute chat, MacLellan covered a variety of topics, including the state of the team and what he thinks the Capitals will try to do over the offseason.
“I think, our lineup needs a little skill right now,” MacLellan said. “Ideally, if we could add a top-six winger that has skill in the offseason I think that would help. Then we’ll see how our blue line plays itself out. We’ll get Carlson back, we have Jensen signed, and the young guys – this is a good time to evaluate where they fit for us moving forward.”
Heading into the offseason, the Capitals have only two forwards that will be unrestricted free agents, Conor Sheary and trade-deadline acquisition Craig Smith, after re-signing Dylan Strome and Sonny Milano to long-term deals earlier in the year. MacLellan previously stated that the team was still interested in bringing back Sheary, which is why the team didn’t deal him at the deadline.
For the first time in years, the Capitals will have the ability to do some maneuvering after moving so much salary off the books with trades.
“I think that was the idea, to get some picks, clear some space,” MacLellan said. “Create a little bit of opportunity for our guys coming up and to be in the trade market, being in the market for free agents. Should be able to participate in all those things. It’s going to be what you want to have going into next season.”
Anthony Mantha, who was expected to blossom and be a permanent member of the top six after a trade from Detroit in 2021, has been scratched at times in 2023 and fallen down the lineup. Mantha is on pace for one of his worst full seasons pro. Through 57 games, he has only nine goals and 24 points. He has one season remaining on his contract that pays him $5.5 annually. TJ Oshie, 36, has also struggled with durability issues over the last several seasons.
Although the Capitals are likely to miss the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, MacLellan seemed satisfied with the direction of the team and his work ahead of the trade deadline.
“I think we took Strome in cover for Backstrom and we really liked what he done and how he played,” MacLellan said. “He was a really good fit for our team. Liked his work on the power play. I think the age of 25 years old to get a guy that can play center and first power play it was important to sign him. Milano, he came in, again he’s a younger player, he’s 26. Came in and played well for us. Seemed to be a good fit in the lineup. He’s the type of player we’re targeting. The 26, 25 year-old guys and getting Sandin at 22. Seeing what Alexeyev can do at 23. Iorio at 20. We’re trying to incorporate these types of guys in our lineup and transition here while still being competitive.
“Our core is still in place,” MacLellan said. “I think we can accomplish it. We’ll see what happens in the offseason and the draft. We’ll look to add more guys with similar characteristics.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.