After the dust settled this weekend, the Washington Capitals roster will have many familiar faces. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov both signed long term deals. But a few key players are gone.

Karl Alzner signed a whopping 5 year, $23 million deal with the Montreal Canadiens. His parting words cut to why he left:

Justin Williams is returning to Carolina with a 2 year, $9 million deal.

And to no one’s surprise, Kevin Shattenkirk is a New York Ranger.

But there was one more move that not many expected.

This was presumably to clear up cap space. Johansson’s $4.5 million cap hit was a bit more than the Caps could stomach. But his production has been ridiculous.

This begs the question of how Brian MacLellan has managed this off season. The past two years have been favorable. GMBM identified a problem and signed players that could fix that problem. This year that has not happened. Why?

This is due to bad asset management during the Vegas draft and iffy contracts. If BMac knew there would be cap constraints, why not trade Johansson prior to the draft? Could that have forced Vegas to take someone else instead of Nate Schmidt? The return the Caps got on MoJo from New Jersey is bad partly because of this.

TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov’s contracts are dubious at best. Oshie is signed until 2024. Same with Kuznetsov, and both are north of $5 million. Of the contracts listed, Orlov’s is the most favorable at a little over $5 million until 2023. But with minimal cap room, these contracts, while giving players money they rightly deserve, reflect long term goals, not short term aspirations.

The Capitals signed Andre Burakovksy to a bridge deal, but Philipp Grubauer, and three other players so they can ice a team. Burakovksy will get a pay raise and so will Grubauer. We know a few Hershey Bears will slot in, but it may be the ones with minimal cost and not the best ones. The Caps lineup could very well look like this opening night.

The Caps just signed Devante Smith-Pelley so that helps things a little bit. But the lineup will still feature a fair amount of rookies, especially on defense if Taylor Chorney doesn’t play. And the cap situation is still bad.

The crux of the issue is this:

MacLellan knew the Caps had cap issues. He didn’t try and leverage this earlier. Now the Caps are getting burned by it. MacLellan’s press conference Monday illuminated a lack of foresight in decision making. Make no mistake about it: BMac may have messed up. This season’s results  will be the measuring stick of that.

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Author Details
My name is Julia, and I’m a Bethesda, MD native. I became an ice hockey fan after my dad took me to a Capitals game when I was 7, but quickly realized most 5’2” southern girls don’t become Peter Bondra. I’m a 2015 graduate of Mount Holyoke College where I studied psycholinguistics, which is a fancy way of saying why people talk funny. By day I’m a graduate student at UMD studying journalism.
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My name is Julia, and I’m a Bethesda, MD native. I became an ice hockey fan after my dad took me to a Capitals game when I was 7, but quickly realized most 5’2” southern girls don’t become Peter Bondra. I’m a 2015 graduate of Mount Holyoke College where I studied psycholinguistics, which is a fancy way of saying why people talk funny. By day I’m a graduate student at UMD studying journalism.

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