The Washington Capitals are a team that needed to make some upgrades this offseason, after yet another disappointing playoff departure. Washington was able to do just that by way of free agency and trade.
Late Wednesday night, the Caps signed veteran right winger, Justin Williams, to a two-year, $6.5 million deal. Williams is a three-time Stanley Cup winner, including two with the Los Angeles Kings. He won the Conn Smythe trophy in the 2014 playoffs. The Caps were looking for top-six wingers and found one in Williams, who is known for his handling of the puck, puck possessions, and late-game scoring ability.
The next night the Caps made a three-player deal with the St. Louis Blues, sending forward Troy Brouwer, goaltending prospect Phoenix Copely and a 2016 3rd round pick in exchange for right winger T.J. Oshie. Brouwer has one year left on his current deal and Oshie has two. You’ll remember Oshie’s stellar shootout performance against Russia in the 2014 Olympic preliminary round as a member of Team USA. Oshie will look to have a much better playoff history with the Caps than he did with the Blues. He registered just one goal and one assist in St. Louis’ first round exit this past postseason and has only five goals in 30 career playoff games. To be fair, he has been plagued with injuries during the postseason.
Washington’s main focus this offseason was to find top-six wing players and they did just that. After being interested in Patrick Sharp of the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, the Caps were unable to strike a deal, but were able to find great value elsewhere. This season Williams will be owed about half of what would have been owed to Sharp. Both Williams and Oshie will likely be top-six players for the Caps, joining the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom, whenever he recovers from arthroscopic hip surgery, with no timetable for a return. Also you pair them with a couple of young, up-and-coming players in Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov and that makes for a pretty lethal top-six. Oshie brings to the table the possibility to be a 20-30 goal scorer while Williams brings Stanley Cup experience to a team that is trying to get over the hump and into a Stanley Cup final. All in all, good moves were made by the Caps on the cheap.