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Capitals Free Agency Day One: Kuemper, Brown, Gustafsson

July 13, 2022, 9:20 PM ET [7 Comments]
Brian Sickles
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Hello All,

Day One of NHL Free Agency was a wild one! Lots of moves around the league. Lets take a look at the moves the Capitals made:

Goaltending:

Darcy Kuemper signed for 5 years at 5.25M AAV
Charlie Lindgren signed for 3 years at 1.1M AAV

I will just write exactly what I tweeted earlier. Caps fans are finally getting what we wanted...a true #1 goaltender. No complaining from anyone who cried wolf (myself included) regarding our young and under-performing tandem of Samsonov and Vanecek the last few years. The Caps have suffered four straight first round exits in the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup. It is obviously not on the goaltending but something had to seismically change. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I for one am excited. Charlie Lindgren seems like a great backup option and statistically has a better SV% and GAA compared to Samsonov and Vanecek. It hurts to see those two gone but let's trust the process and ride this out! No more goaltending excuses! Lastly, the combined AAV for both goalies is 6.36M...ill take it!

My grade on the deals: B

Defense:

Next up, we are talking about DEFENSE! In order to make sure our goalies play great, we should probably try to play some great defense in front of them.

Erik Gustafsson signed for 1 year deal at 800k AAV
Matt Irwin re-signs for 1-year deal at 750k AAV

Gustafsson comes in at a bargain price on a one-year deal. He will likely fill out the third pairing on the left side next to Trevor van Riemsdyk. Gustafsson has bounced around a couple teams the last couple years but getting him for this price for a third pair guy is fine by me. From what I am reading he is an offensive minded defensemen. He is skilled enough in transition play and effectively skates the puck up the ice and elude opponents pressure. I think he will fit in quite nicely with this Caps team. Do I wish we signed a better D-man? Yes of course. But I cant argue the price and the Caps are clearly prioritizing other positions and I am okay with that too. The defense will be fine

D-Lines:

Fehervary-Carlson
Orlov-Jensen
Gustafsson-van Riemsdyk
Irwin

My grade: C+

Here is an article from April 15th 2021 breaking down Gustafsson in depth. Its actually pretty solid. Courtesy of David St Louis at habseyesontheprize.com (SBNation)

https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/analysis/2021/4/15/22382868/erik-gustafsson-scouting-report-high-risk-brand-hockey-video-analysis-breakdown-strength-weaknesses

Offense:

Henrik Borgstrom 1-year at 750K AAV - Never heard of the kid if I am being honest. The former 2016 first round pick (23 overall) scored 7-points in 52 games played last season. He has 26 points in 110 career games played. I could be wrong but I see him played more in Hersey to regain some confidence. I dont see room for him in our current lineup.

Caps trade 2023 2nd-round pick for Connor Brown. Connor Brown has 1-year left on his contract at a 3.6M AAV. I dont love giving up picks for rentals and that is basically what this is. However, Brown comes with some solid skills. Brown, 28, recorded 39 points (10g, 29a) in 64 games with Ottawa in 2021-22. The 6’0”, 181-pound forward established a single-season career high in assists last season and ranked fourth on the team in assists and fifth in points. In addition, Brown led Ottawa in takeaways (51) and shorthanded time on ice (168:29) among forwards. Brown has averaged 2:46 of shorthanded ice time per game for the past two seasons, which ranks first in the NHL among forwards. -Capitals press release


Marcus Johansson Re-signs for 1-year 1.1M deal - Welcome Back (Again again), MOJO!

I am not sure where Brown and MOJO fit right now. I dont think Brown jumps up to line one to replace Wilson on RW. They put him on the third line and possibly move Sheary up to line one which they dabbled with last season. Something tells me the Caps are not done making moves. This puzzle has too many pieces. I could see them trading away a winger

Offense Grades: B-

Offensive Lines as it is currently being projected:

Ovechkin-Kuzy-Brown
Mantha-McMichael-Oshie
MoJo-Eller-Sheary
Hagelin-Dowd-Hathaway


Overall a solid day for the Caps. The biggest question remaining for me is what the heck are we going to do at 2nd line center? Other than that, I am excited. Are you?

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