Capitals renew goaltending with addition of Kuemper, Lindgren
After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com takes a look at where each team stands in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, which begins Oct. 7. Today, the Washington Capitals:
Season 2021-22: 44-26-12, fourth in Metropolitan Division. lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Darcy CooberG: After winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche last season, the 32-year-old signed a five-year contract on July 13 to be the Capitals’ No. 1 goaltender. Kuemper tied for fourth in the NHL in wins (37-12-4) and shutouts (five), was fifth in save percentage (.921) and 11th in goals-against average (2.54) in 57 regular-season games season (all starts ) Last season. He was 10-4 with a 2.57 GAA, .902 save percentage and one shutout in 16 playoff games (all starts). … Dylan StromF: The 25-year-old signed a one-year contract on July 14 to help fill the center field. Nicklas Backstrom, who is recovering from left hip surgery. Strome had 48 points (NHL 22 goals, 26 assists) in 69 regular season games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season. … Connor BrownF: The 28-year-old was acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators on July 13 for a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Brown, who had 39 points (10 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games with the Senators last season, is expected to help to complete Tom Wilson while the striker is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. … Charlie LindgrenG: The 28-year-old signed a three-year contract on July 13 to be Kuemper’s backup. Lindgren went 5-0-0 with a 1.22 GAA and .958 ERA in five regular-season games (four starts) with the St. Louis Blues last season and went 24-7-1 with a 2.21 GAA, .925 save percentage and three shutouts in 34 regular season games with Springfield of the American Hockey League. … Erik GustafssonD: The 30-year-old signed a one-year deal on July 13. Gustafsson had 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 59 games with the Blackhawks last season.
Video: TBL@COL, Gm2: Kuemper boosts Avs with shutout
Ilya SamsonovG: The Capitals decided not to tender Samsonov a special offer to retain his restricted free agent rights, and he signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 13. Samsonov was 23-12-5 with a 3.02 GAA, .896 save percentage and three shutouts in 44 regular season games (39 starts) and 1-3 with a 2.97 GAA and .912 ERA in five playoff games (four starts ) last season. … Vitek VanecekG: Traded a second-round pick (No. 46) in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft to the New Jersey Devils on July 8 for a second-round pick (No. 37) and a third-round pick (No. 70) in the 2022 draft. Vanecek, a restricted free agent agent who signed a three-year deal with the Devils on July 19, was 20-12-6 with a 2.67 GAA, .908 save and four shutouts in 42 regular-season games (39 starts) and 1-1 with a 4.21 GAA and .863 save percentage in two playoff games (two starts) last season. … Justin SchultzD: He signed a two-year contract with the Seattle Kraken on July 13. Schultz had 23 points (four goals, 19 assists) in 74 regular season games and three points (one goal, two assists) in six playoff games last season. … Michal KempnyD: He signed a one-year contract with the Kraken on July 25. Kempny, a member of the Capitals’ 2018 Stanley Cup championship team, had two points (one goal, one assist) in 15 regular season games last season. … Johan LarssonF: An unrestricted free agent, Larson had six points (one goal, five assists) in 14 regular-season games and two assists in six playoff games with Washington after being acquired in a March 21 trade with the Arizona Coyotes.
On the doorstep
Lucas JohansenD: The 24-year-old, who was selected with the No. 28 pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, re-emerged as one of the Capitals’ top prospects last season after being limited by injuries the previous two seasons and is expected to compete for a third-pairing spot in training camp military camp. Johansen had 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 62 games with Hershey of the AHL last season and made his NHL debut against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 31, picking up an assist. … Hendrix LapierreF: The 20-year-old, who was the No. 22 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, scored one goal in six NHL games at the start of last season before being sent to Acadie-Bathurst of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Lapierre, who had 51 points (21 goals, 30 assists) in 40 games with Acadie-Bathurst, will likely start this season in Hershey after Strome’s signing moved him to the depth center, but he could be one of the first calls. .
What they still need
To be healthy. The additions of Strome and Brown will help bridge the gap, but Wilson isn’t expected to play until December and it’s unclear when Backstrom will be able to return. Forward Carl HagelinHis future is also uncertain due to an eye injury.
They said it
“It was the goal we wanted to change our goalkeeper, and we did it. I feel good about both players we have acquired and I look forward to the season with both of them in net.” — general manager Brian MacLellan
With Backstrom expected to be out long-term, the Capitals have a few options to fill the second-line void in the 25-and-under center Strome, Connor McMichael and Lapierre. Strome, who primarily played on a line with elite wings Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat for the Blackhawks last season, had the third-most 5-on-5 points per 60 minutes (2.12, 200-game minimum) behind Kane (2.51) and center Jonathan Tuss (2.16) and ahead of DeBrincat (2.03) during the four regular seasons since joining in 2018-19. Strome should be considered a deep fantasy sleeper with a chance to play on the second line with wings TJ Oshie, Antonis Mantha and/or Coffee. — Pete Jensen
Video: ANA@CHI: Strom scores 3 goals for 2nd hat trick
Alex Ovechkin — Yevgeny Kuznetsov — Connor Brown
Anthony Mantha — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Connor McMichael — Lars Eller — TJ Oshie
Marcus Johansson — Nick Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Martin Fehervari — John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor van Riemsdyk