Washington Capitals 2017 offseason outlook: End of an era?

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Changes will be coming for the Washington Capitals after they failed to win during their two-year Stanley Cup window. 

The Washington Capitals have once again failed to win the Stanley Cup. Winning a title has been the driving force behind all of their moves over the past three years. From hiring Barry Trotz to signing Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik and Justin Williams to trading for T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Daniel Winnik and Lars Eller, every move was done with a Stanley Cup in mind.

General Manager Brian MacLellan operated under the assumption the team had a two year window to win. Despite their best efforts, they have come up short. For now, the Capitals’ Stanley Cup window is shut. Now they face an offseason which could feature a lot of changes. Depending on what’s coming, the Caps could cram open their Stanley Cup window for another year or two.

Capitals fans should expect a long offseason. The Caps have just 11 players under contract for the 2017-18 NHL season. They have 14 pending free agents who have played at least a game in the league this season. Of them, six, including two top six forwards, are unrestricted free agents. At the very least, fans should expect to see very few, if any, of these UFAs back with the team.

The Washington Capitals have eight restricted free agents. No fewer than four of them are due fairly significant raises. One can assume Philipp Grubauer will be either heading to Vegas in the expansion draft or traded to the highest bidder. But other than him, there’s no reason to expect the Caps to get rid of any of their remaining RFAs. Let’s take a look at the changes which could be coming.

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