Until fairly recently, the Washington Capitals have not been the type of team to rely heavily on free agency. The Washington Capitals, throughout their history, have tended to rely more on trades and the draft to get effective players than free agency.
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However, the Washington Capitals have done quite well in getting bargain players in free agency and have even signed quite a few productive ones in the 21st century.
While it is far too early to determine if the signings of Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen and Justin Williams were good, the Capitals surely hope that they’ll be on this list by the end of their respective tenures with the Caps.
Before we begin, let’s look at some of the honorable mentions.
Tomas Vokoun was a very underrated signing by the Washington Capitals. His presence allowed young goaltenders Michael Neuvirth and (more importantly) Braden Holtby to develop. With the Caps, Vokoun had a 91.7% save percentage and a 2.51 GAA.
He led the Caps to a 25-17-2 record. A lot of his value came not from his stats, but by acting as a bridge to Holtby and Neuvirth.
Ulf Dahlen was another underrated signing by the Caps. Technically he signed in 1999, but I include him because he was that good. In 217 games with the Caps, he largely played a third line role.
However, he was still productive with 138 points. He scored 53 goals and had 85 assists. It’s appropriate that he was underrated with the Caps because he was underrated for a vast majority of his career as a defensive forward.
Without further ado, here’s our list of the Washington Capitals best free agent signings of the 21st century.