Here’s the biggest takeaways from Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan’s end of the year press conference.
The Washington Capitals are coming off two very successful seasons. However, in each postseason, they’ve been eliminated in the second round by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite this, it doesn’t appear that any huge changes will be happening.
Caps general manager Brian MacLellan was, as always, blunt and honest during the press conference. A few of his tidbits are especially noteworthy. So let’s break down the big takeaways from his press conference.
No major coaching changes
The Capitals will not be making any changes to their coaching staff yet. Later in the offseason, they might have to, depending on if Todd Reirden gets hired as a head coach. But for now, if the season started tomorrow, the same Caps coaching staff from the past two seasons would be back.
Personally, this seems a bit odd. MacLellan and Trotz clearly disagree on quite a few things. GMBM went as far as to put the onus on the coaches to help the players overcome whatever barriers are keeping them from winning the Stanley Cup. Trotz has yet to show he’s someone who can do this. For what it’s worth, he’ll go into next season as a lame duck. Usually, that’s not a good idea. But maybe this is MacLellan’s way of putting Trotz on the hot stove.
Obviously, GMBM was in no position to give any specific details about T.J. Oshie and his reported impending extension. But the two sides are definitely interested in each other and MacLellan confirmed this. He did, however, add an interesting note to their interest. Oshie coming back will likely depend on the salary cap ceiling. MacLellan mentioned one more factor, albeit a slightly contradictory one.
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RFAs and getting younger are important
This is where the Capitals’ interest in Oshie gets a little bit interesting. MacLellan noted restricted free agents (namely Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov, Nate Schmidt and Brett Connolly) would be his first priority.
However, he also said he wants the team to be younger.
Wouldn’t re-signing Oshie directly contradict both of those goals? Just a thought. And the Capitals could re-sign Oshie and still focus on both of those goals. But the Caps interest in Oshie appears to be at odds with getting younger.
Ovechkin might or might note be traded
MacLellan was blunt and truthful about his captain Alex Ovechkin. Which is why the Ovi trade rumors like aren’t going anyway any time soon. After the P.K. Subban for Shea Weber trade, any hint of a team listening to offers for a superstar won’t end well. And MacLellan didn’t close the door completely on an Ovechkin trade.
A lot of what MacLellan says rings true. Trading Ovi is much more complicated than anyone (perhaps even GMBM) is willing to admit. They’d be silly to not listen to offers, but at the same time, trading Ovechkin isn’t something the Caps should openly be trying to do. I’m 98 percent certain Ovechkin will remain with the Capitals. This also means I’m two percent certain he’ll be gone.
The end of an era is coming for the Capitals. Karl Alzner has been a mark of consistency and reliability. Hockey is such a brutal sport. Alzner has defied the odds by not missing one for a very long time.
MacLellan is famous for being blunt and transparent, and he sure was when the blue line came up.
Obviously, the highlights from this are Trotz is coming back and Ovechkin isn’t completely off the trade market. But overall, a strong press conference from MacLellan. There will be no huge changes and it’s hard to argue against it. You have a team that just won two consecutive President Trophies. In other words, they were the best team in the NHL over a slightly longer than six month period. Why blow things up now?
Nothing overly surprising came out of MacLellan’s press conference, but he still said a lot of important things. Fans can rest a little bit easier now that they have an idea of the Caps strategy. It seems they’ll be going all in for another Stanley Cup.