Washington Capitals: Breaking down the salary cap before the preseason

Garnet Hathaway, Washington Capitals (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Garnet Hathaway, Washington Capitals (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

As always the Washington Capitals will enter the season tight against the salary cap. Death, taxes and spending to the cap as they say. That’s been the norm around here and even after a quiet offseason, it’s still a tricky situation to navigate with the preseason ahead.

Per the reliable CapFriendly.com, the Capitals have just $668,740 in cap space. That ain’t enough to bring somebody in. But never underestimate the mad scientist that is Brian MacLellan. He will shake up this team if they get off to a slow start. The preseason wins and losses won’t matter but if the regular season L’s chalk up, I see someone getting moved out to clear salary cap space and maybe add some youth.

It won’t be the elephant in the room, Evgeny Kuznetsov. It’s a prove it season for him. The only way I could see him getting dealt is if he’s does some screwing around off the ice. One of my friends suggested Lars Eller could get moved. He makes a valid point. From my eyes, if a change were to happen I could see it happening on the blueline.

It won’t be a youth player like Martin Fehervary. He’s an important piece to the Caps future plans. It would likely be a Michal Kempny but under one condition. Trading him early in the season would be a tough sell. This is a bright defenseman who had to deal with two gruesome injuries, the latest  one costing him all of last season.

Kempny carries a $2.5 million cap hit so moving him would give the Caps a little bit of wiggle room to spend at the trade deadline. There is also Alexander Alexeyev, a 2018 first rounder, that could fill that hole on the defense and help the Caps get a little bit of youth infusion.

All in all, it was a very quiet offseason but the Caps did what needed to get done. They extended Alex Ovechkin to a contract lower than a lot of people expected that will allow them to remain competitive for the next few seasons. Still, what happens leading up to the Olympic break will say a lot about the direction of this team.

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Who knows if a trade happens before then? But regardless, we’ll kind of get an idea of what they have to do at the trade deadline. In the end it’s all up to Brian MacLellan and how he manages the limited money he has.