Because the Washington Capitals’ offseason continues, so do questions concerning subsequent season. Our WHN Mailbag acquired such an amazing response on Half 1 that we wanted a Half 2 — or overflow, as we prefer to name it right here.
So, with out additional ado, let’s reply some extra burning questions.
Editor’s Word: Some questions have been edited for readability/size.
@toddaago (4 questions in a single tweet, we like to see it) – Why did the Capitals signal Marcus Johansson over Johan Larsson? How quick is Connor McMichael’s leash? What affect will the children have this season? Will Peter Laviolette get an extension?
For Washington, the choice to convey again Marcus Johansson was truly a simple one. Washington’s entrance workplace, teaching workers and gamers like Johansson, who began his profession with the membership in 2009. Not solely is he a very good locker room presence, however his versatility is essential for DC Johansson can play on the top-6 or bottom-6 and in addition performs a robust defensive sport. With Carl Hagelin’s future in flux, having Johansson within the combine is key. Given all that and his familiarity, in addition to solely a lot area, I believe basic supervisor Brian MacLellan needed to carry onto JoJo relatively than Larsson, who was a rental.
In the case of Connor McMichael’s leash, I do not assume it is quick, however he should show himself and earn his ice time. He is a rising sophomore and faces fierce competitors, as his seemingly certain top-6 spot has now been taken by Dylan Strome. GMBM desires to see him down the center and desires him to develop this season, and I imagine he’ll get that likelihood battling Lars Eller. I would not be shocked to see him get time on the wing both. However total, there’s a number of depth on the roster and excessive hopes for him, and the staff is conscious that he’s nonetheless rising. Taking all that into consideration, I do not see Washington actually getting pissed off, particularly when he is forward of schedule after an early AHL leap in 2020-21.
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That takes us into the children’ affect. There are usually not too many spots up for grabs, however I nonetheless anticipate a fierce battle from the kids. McMichael desires extra ice time, and Hendrix Lapierre is on a mission to show he belongs within the NHL. In the meantime, on the blue line, there are excessive hopes for Lucas Johansen, who desires to make the leap after a protracted wait. Plus, there are hopes for them, one-way offers and a number of potential. So, all good issues and expectations, though it will not come straightforward.
So far as I am involved, the Capitals have been pleased with Peter Laviolette and what he is delivered to the desk. The bench boss has been round for a short while, coming in throughout a COVID-19 shortened season that also included social distancing. This can be his true second full season with full entry to his gamers, so I believe that can be key in deciding his extension. Nonetheless, he has introduced loads to the desk and in addition did a very good job with the membership given the accidents, goaltending scenario and extra.
His contract is up on the finish of this 12 months. With the staff’s robust free company strikes, there are a number of causes for them to succeed. And if Laviolette does that, I might anticipate an extension. If he can’t make it work with this group, then I might say there could also be reconsideration.
@BrianBastin – What are your ideas on Laviolette?
I believe he is an amazing coach. Gamers like him and he sends a direct message and lets them know precisely what he desires to see. As I stated above, he has additionally gotten this staff to the playoffs twice. As soon as in a COVID-19 shortened season that allowed restricted contact with gamers in his first 12 months and an injury-riddled second 12 months.
@djoosydjoos – Do you see Lucas Johansen making the NHL leap?
Regardless of the competitors on the blue line, I do. Johansen has waited lengthy sufficient and has finished an amazing job creating his sport with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, and I believe that he confirmed a number of progress and talent final season when he made his NHL debut. He is able to make that leap and transition, and even when he begins as a 7D, I anticipate him to place up a battle for that jersey every night time.
@JosephSzymanski – What does the blue line battle appear to be with regards to that vacant spot subsequent to Trevor van Riemsdyk?
Since Erik Gustafsson is on a one-way deal, I anticipate him to take that third-pairing spot to open 2022-23. Nonetheless, he can have heavy, heavy competitors.
As talked about above, Johansen goes to make a serious run at that spot. GMBM expects him to make strides this season, and he has been ready since his draft 12 months in 2016 to get his shot. Matt Irwin has been an additional who knew his position final 12 months, however he confirmed robust play in his 17 video games and will not again down from battling for his likelihood at dressing. Then, after all, there’s new signing Lucas Carlsson, a 6-5 defender with upside who desires to indicate he belongs on this league.
That is just about the way it stacks up, but when I needed to guess the order of the LHD choices: Gustafsson, Johansen, Irwin, Carlsson.
@CurtMcCormick – Has Nicklas Backstrom performed his final sport with the Capitals?
I do not assume so. Nicklas Backstrom desires to retire on his personal phrases. He’s keen to go to rehab and work. He and the staff have the expectation that he’ll return in some unspecified time in the future in 2022-23, and given his willpower and drive, I imagine he’ll play once more.
@WiseTrueAndFair – Have the Capitals changed assistant coach Scott Arniel after his departure for the Winnipeg Jets?
The staff is within the midst of creating that call in the intervening time. Washington has candidates and has been interviewing. GMBM stated on Wednesday that the staff will go on to contract negotiations after which announce that change.