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Playing Catch-Up: An Offseason Primer

Photo courtesy of the Washington Capitals

It’s been a long summer. A long…long…summer. Long.

So you’d be forgiven if perhaps a few things from this long (did we mention it was long?) summer slipped your mind as you prepare to delve back into the wonderful world of Washington Capitals hockey.

Never fear, though, because we’re here to catch you up on all the good, bad, and ugly that went down over the offseason in the Metropolitan Division, and for a bevy of now-former Caps.

For more on the 2023-24 Caps, check out our full season preview here.

The Metropolitan Division

  • Carolina Hurricanes
    • Additions: Michael Bunting, Tony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux, Dmitry Orlov
    • Subtractions: Calvin de Haan, Shane Gostisbehere, Ondrej Kase, Mackenzie MacEachern, Max Pacioretty, Jesse Puljujarvi, Paul Stastny, Derek Stepan
    • Key move: Adding Orlov was definitely a boost to the blueline for Carolina, but the “best” move was probably signing Bunting, who moved to the ‘Canes after back-to-back 20+ goal, 40+ point seasons with Toronto. Shoring up offensive depth is never a bad idea for a team with Cup dreams, especially when they’re still lacking a high-end offensive sniper.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
    • Additions: Adam Fantilli, Ivan Provorov, Damon Severson
    • Subtractions: Jakub Voracek
    • Key move: Ditching Mike Babcock is the best move the Jackets made, not too long after the worst one…which was bringing in Babcock to begin with.
  • New Jersey Devils
    • Additions: Cal Foote, Erik Kallgren, Colin Miller, Tomas Nosek, Tyler Toffoli
    • Subtractions: Jesper Boqvist, Ryan Graves, Damon Severson, Yegor Sharangovich, Tomas Tatar, Miles Wood
    • Key move: Tyler Toffoli adds yet another offensive element to the forward group that had been bolstered at last year’s deadline with the addition of Timo Meier.
  • New York Islanders
    • Additions: Julien Gauthier, Karson Kuhlman
    • Subtractions: Josh Bailey, Zach Parise
    • Key move: If not making a move counts, well…that’s it. The Islanders did very little to improve their squad and lost some of their offense (albeit mid-level in the form of Bailey and Parise) without doing anything to replace it. Interesting times, as always, on the Island.
  • New York Rangers
    • Additions: Nick Bonino, Erik Gustafsson, Mac Hollowell, Connor Mackey, Riley Nash, Tyler Pitlick, Blake Wheeler
    • Subtractions: Ryan Carpenter, Libor Hajek, Jaroslav Halak, Patrick Kane, Niko Mikkola, Tyler Motte, Vladimir Tarasenko
    • Key move: The Rangers have a pretty stacked offense but continue to search for a right wing, having tried (and largely failed) with the short-term additions of Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko last spring. They’re holding out hope that 37-year-old Wheeler is the answer and that he still has some gas left in the tank after a surprise buyout by Winnipeg over the summer.
  • Philadelphia Flyers
    • Additions: Garnet Hathaway, Victor Mete, Cal Petersen, Ryan Poehling, Marc Staal, Sean Walker
    • Subtractions: Kiefer Bellows, Justin Braun, Kevin Connauton, Tony DeAngelo, Kevin Hayes, Hayden Hodgson, Brenden Lemieux, Ivan Provorov, James van Riemsdyk
    • Key move: They may not have gotten any better over the summer, but ridding themselves of toxins like DeAngelo and Provorov should at least take some of the unnecessary (and 100% self-inflicted) heat off of the organization for a bit.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
    • Additions: Noel Acciari, Lars Eller, Ryan Graves, Magnus Hellberg, Vinnie Hinostroza, Andreas Johnsson, Erik Karlsson, Alex Nedeljkovic, Matt Nieto, Rem Pitlick, Reilly Smith, Radim Zohorna
    • Subtractions: Josh Archibald, Nick Bonino, Drake Caggiula, Casey DeSmith, Brian Dumoulin, Mikael Granlund, Dmitry Kulikov, Jeff Petry, Ryan Poehling, Jan Rutta, Dustin Tokarski, Jason Zucker
    • Key move: The trade they swung for Erik Karlsson does give them a significant offensive boost from the blueline…but it also causes additional cap headaches, makes a team that was already the oldest in the league even older, and doesn’t exactly give them an upgrade in actual defense (in fact, it’s likely a step back). New GM Kyle Dubas swung for the fences on that one, though, so we’ll see if it pans out.

The Former Capitals

  • Erik Gustafsson – Traded to Toronto at the deadline; signed with the Rangers on July 1
  • Conor Sheary – Signed with the Lightning on July 1
  • Marcus Johansson – Traded to Minnesota at the deadline; re-signed with the Wild on May 2
  • Dmitry Orlov – Traded to Boston at the deadline; signed with Carolina on July 1
  • Garnet Hathaway – Traded to Boston at the deadline; signed with the Flyers on July 1
  • Lars Eller – Traded to Colorado at the deadline; signed with the Penguins on July 1
  • Craig Smith – Signed with the Stars on July 1
  • Matt Irwin – Signed with the Canucks on July 1
  • Gabriel Carlsson – Signed with the Växjö Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League on July 28
  • Henrik Borgström – Signed with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League on June 26
  • Connor Brown – Signed with the Oilers on July 1

Talking Points