Capitals count on aggressive coaching camp with new acquisitions


Capitals Basic Supervisor Brian MacLellan anticipates a number of place battles will unfold when Washington begins coaching camp in September.

“It’s going to be a aggressive scenario,” MacLellan advised reporters Wednesday on a video convention name. “You’re going to have a variety of good gamers vying for ice time taking part in within the lineup, so I believe it’s a superb scenario for everyone.”

To offset important accidents to winger Tom Wilson and middle Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals bolstered their ahead corps by signing Dylan Strome and trading for Connor Brown.

Discovering Strome’s superb place within the lineup seems to be a preseason precedence. Washington shall be with out Backstrom, who underwent left hip resurfacing surgery in June, for a big a part of the season. Strome, 25, might take over on the highest line or function the middle on the second line. He can also play wing.

New Caps Dylan Strome and Connor Brown got the call and relish the chance

“He’s a versatile participant,” MacLellan mentioned. “He performs left wing. He performs middle. He’s a superb power-play participant. Obtained an actual, actual excessive offensive IQ. Can play with good gamers. … I believe he provides a variety of flexibility to our lineup. I believe the coaches can strive various things, completely different matchups, completely different mixtures of gamers.”

Brown, 28, is in line to be the first- or second-line proper wing to exchange Wilson, who had surgery for a torn ACL in May. Wilson is predicted to return someday in December, and MacLellan mentioned he’s on schedule.

Brown additionally shall be a serious asset to the penalty kill, on which Washington can reap the benefits of his velocity.

Connor McMichael, 21, stays certainly one of Washington’s greatest query marks. MacLellan mentioned the Capitals are usually not “guaranteeing younger guys spots within the lineup.” The Capitals re-signed Brett Leason, 23, to a two-year deal final month. And Aliaksei Protas, 21, additionally was anticipated to get a shot to stay within the NHL following a strong rookie 12 months.

Capitals sign goaltender Darcy Kuemper as NHL free agency begins

“I believe Connor goes to return in and he’s going to be higher than he was final 12 months,” MacLellan mentioned. “It’s going to be: ‘How can we greatest develop him? How can we do what’s greatest for our lineup?’ The coaches will stability that out, whether or not we play him at middle, whether or not we play him at wing, whether or not we play him greater within the lineup or decrease within the lineup. I believe he’ll get a shot in any respect of it.”

MacLellan mentioned he prefers McMichael at middle — echoing what Coach Peter Laviolette mentioned on the finish of the season — however that will complicate Washington’s line mixtures. The Capitals have at the very least 5 gamers who might be a viable middle: Strome, McMichael, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Lars Eller and Nic Dowd. It seems at the very least one must be traded or moved to wing.

MacLellan mentioned he’s pleased with Washington’s strikes, which embrace buying Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren to fill the Capitals’ wants in web, plus Erik Gustafsson to assist with depth on the blue line.

The Capitals signed defenseman Gabriel Carlsson to a one-year, $750,000 contract Wednesday. (It’s a two-way deal, that means he’ll make much less cash if he’s within the American Hockey League.) Carlsson, 25, had two targets and 7 assists in 38 video games final season with Columbus.

Washington additionally re-signed forward Marcus Johansson to a one-year, $1.1 million contract final week.

“He’s a flexible participant,” MacLellan mentioned of Johansson. “I assumed he performed properly for us. I assumed he was good defensively. Introduced somewhat offense. … With the uncertainly [surrounding] Carl Hagelin [following his eye injury], we thought we wanted another veteran man that we might use. He’s a flexible man. All people is aware of him. The coaches preferred him. They preferred what he did final 12 months. So we determined to carry him again.”

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