The Washington Capitals’ 4-3 victory in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final marked the official start to the offseason for all National Hockey League teams and their fans. However, you must know that these clubs will not be taking a break, especially just a few weeks ahead of the Entry draft.
The offseason might have just started for the champions Capitals, but it seems they are already planning a major move, despite hosting the Stanley Cup in Vegas, and partying all night long at the nightclub Hakkasan at the MGM Grand.
According to a recent report from The Athletic's Craig Custance, one trade candidate has stood out for the Capitals and could be on his way out as soon as the parade is over in Washington. Custance notes that Washington will have to work around their tight cap space in order to sign star defenseman and pending free agent John Carlson to a lengthy contract extension. One way to achieve that is trading talented backup goalie Philipp Grubauer in the summer.
“He’s getting moved for sure,” said one executive to Custance.
At the start of the postseason, the Caps were at the centre of a netminder controversy, when Grubauer was chosen to start in the first contest of the playoffs over Braden Holtby. Grubauer had been the better goaltender this season, posting a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average in 35 games. Holtby, meanwhile, regressed significantly, as he registered just a .907 save percentage and a 2.99 GAA in 54 contests.
However, this was enough to push Holtby and the Caps have trusted him in the second and third rounds, all the way to the Cup final against the Golden Knights, Custance also believes the New York Islanders will have no choice but to jump on the opportunity of landing Grubauer in a major trade:
"A likely destination would be the Islanders, who need to address their goaltending as part of their pitch to keep John Tavares. The Islanders have back-to-back first-round picks and could use one of them in a deal to land Grubauer, similar to the deal that Lou Lamoriello struck with Vancouver to bring Cory Schneider to New Jersey."
There are also the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks that could use a very talented backup to help them as both clubs faced devastating injuries in between the pipes throughout the season. The Caps will be able to use prospect Ilya Samsonov as their next backup goalie, as he appears ready to assume these duties after signing his entry-level contract.
So, party's over, Cup is here, now time for his trade!