The Caps rank 23rd in goals against per game at 2.83. That’s really good and equates to having the ninth best defense in the NHL. Cracking the top 10 in anything is pretty good.
Part of it has to be all defensemen except John Carlson playing for their future with the Caps. Carlson is the only player guaranteed a contract for next season. The rest will be hitting free agency.
Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev are the only two defensemen who are restricted free agents which means they can’t test the market if the Caps give them a qualifying offer. If they don’t get one, like Samsonov last season, they automatically become unrestricted free agents and can hit the open market.
Carlson will be out for a long time but other guys like Orlov and Gustafsson have stepped up. So much so I’d make re signing both players a priority then Trevor van Riemsdyk if there’s room.
Grade B+: The defense has gotten better and more importantly has stepped up with Carlson out.