The Washington Capitals have made at least 15 moves this offseason, but not all of them are the kind of move that would make the Stanley Cup contenders.
Let’s start with the least likely: the most likely move that will happen.
As for what those moves might look like, let’s start by looking at what they would do to the Caps’ roster.
The most likely moves are:The Caps have the most picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, and they’re expected to add some more to the mix in free agency.
They could use more picks, but they’ll likely use them on defense, so adding a defenseman would seem like a good idea.
There are a few other moves that could go in the Caps direction, but none of them seem likely to be worth the trouble.
If the Capitals decide to move on from Kris Letang, the team could look to trade him.
If that happens, they’d likely need to sign a goalie, but let’s assume that they won’t, so they’d have to go with a prospect like Justin Peters, who has played in a few NHL games this season.
This would give the Caps a top-nine defenseman who can protect the puck and has a good shot at earning a job in the NHL.
If he’s not signed by now, then the team will have to sign him to a one-year deal, but if he signs now, they’ll be able to trade Peters at the trade deadline.
If Peters signs now with an offer sheet, the Caps would have the right to match it.
Another possibility would be to trade for another forward, but that seems unlikely.
The Caps would also need to trade a defenseman if they decide to sign Matt Carle, who is set to become a free agent.
The Caps would need to pay Carle $4.75 million next season to remain in the playoffs.
That’s a lot of money for a defenseman, and if he’s signed to an offer list and the Caps don’t have the cap space, that’ll make it even more difficult for them to do that.
The last possible move the Caps could make is to sign Carle to an extension that would pay him $8.5 million per season for the next four years.
That would be a reasonable contract for a player who’s already had a strong season, but the Caps have only two players under contract for next season.
The contract would be for two years, with $6.25 million guaranteed.
If they do that, the Cap would need at least $25 million in cap space to make the move, and that would likely require moving defenseman Mikhail Grabovski.
Grabovskis contract expires after next season, and the organization would likely want to lock him down for another season, if possible.
With Grabovs contract coming up, the Capitals will likely have to move defenseman Mattias Ekholm, and while he could be a valuable asset for them, the organization has not signed any deals with Ekholm in the past.
That means he’s probably going to be cut, and there are plenty of teams willing to pay him more than $7.5 M per season.
The Capitals are still in the market for another defenseman, but with Grabovks contract coming off the books, they may have to look elsewhere.
They also might have to give up a prospect, and this may be a case where they make the best of an opportunity by moving a player with a pending free agent contract.
The prospect they might be looking for is defenseman Brandon Bertuzzi, who was signed to a four-year, $20.5M contract last year, and he’s currently playing for a team that’s looking to win a Stanley Cup.
There’s no question that Bertuzzis skills will be an asset, and although they might not be worth $7 million per year, that’s not the worst deal in the world.
Bertuzzs contract is set for an extension, so the Caps can lock him up for another four years, but it would be worth at least that much.
The best option the Caps will have for next offseason is to go for broke.
The team might want to acquire some veteran players, or draft some of the young players they could get.
But if the Caps try to spend big, they’re going to have to make some tough decisions, and a number of them might be pretty difficult to make.