Washington Capitals off season moves and what should hopefully happen

The Capitals after two consecutive first round exits, followed by a season in which they did not make the play offs, has seen head coach Peter Laviolette, relieved of his duties. Alongside the head coach, assistant coach, Blaine Forsthe, and one other assistant coach have also been let go. Laviolette did very little to win favor in Washington by rarely playing younger players like Connor McMichael, and others from Hershey that had played a stellar game during the preseason. The team is hoping to find a coach who can infuse younger talent with seasoned veterans in order to put some speed on the ice.

The team has also signed blue liner Alex Alexeyev to a two year contract which should help bolster the defense. While he wasn’t a big offensive presence, only registering a total of five assists, his physical play in the defensive zone, and ability to disrupt plays was really good. At only 23 years old, he has room to grow in the offensive part of the game.

Now to talk about moves that need to happen this offseason. First and foremost, Anthony Mantha should be traded or bought out from his contract. His cap hit of 5 million and 700,000, is a big hit. Last season the Caps had to scramble to stay under the salary cap in order to avoid a penalty. While, Mantha is not a terrible player on the ice, he has a tendency to play under his size, not be as big a physical presence, and can sometimes be a defensive liability. While most players have a tendency to play a little loose on defense, Mantha was noticeably slower and gave off the impression he did not care as much about the play. This lead to Laviolette making him a healthy scratch multiple times.

The Capitals also have a ton of young talented players in Hershey. Players like Connor McMichael, Beck Malenstyn, Hendrix LaPierre, Joe Snively, Ethen Frank, Aliaksei Protas, all deserve a chance to play with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. This would allow the Caps to have a little breathing room on the salary cap, as well as infuse young talent with grizzled veterans. Ethen Frank even got multiple accolades during the AHL all star game, and was team captain his rookie year in Hershey.

While one can make an argument that a younger player needs to earn a spot on the top 6, the team also has space to go out and get a younger veteran who has the talent to play the first or second line. One player that comes to mind is Boston Bruins free agent Tyler Burtuzzi. There are also a few other players that can play good physical hockey and contribute on the offensive side of things.

Lastly, Backup goaltender Charlie Lindgren did not get much playing time as Laviolette opted to keep Darcy Kuemper between the pipes most games. This was a questionable thing, because Lindgren at times did outplay Kuemper. With the new coach coming in, one thing that should be noted is Lindgren needs to be on the ice more, to keep Kuemper rested and alert. To clarify, it is not bad if Kuemper plays three games in a week, but after that, should be rested for a game or two.

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