Just 72 hours following the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup championship victory and the rumor mill is already up and running. Aside from pending free agent defenseman John Carlson and human wrecking ball Tom Wilson, the Capitals don’t have any big ticket contracts that they’ll need to re-negotiate or trade this offseason. Most of the contractual heavy lifting was done last offseason by general manager Brian McLellan when he negotiated a new deal with forward T.J. Oshie and said goodbye to defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner.
It remains to be seen what happens with Carlson and Wilson, but one other player that McLellan will have to make a decision on this offseason is goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The 26 year old German netminder emerged as a legitimate NHL starter this season and actually usurped Braden Holtby during the regular season as the team’s #1 goaltender. Of course, Grubauer struggled early on in the postseason against the Columbus Blue Jackets and conceded the starting job back to Holtby for the duration of the playoffs. The rest, as they say, is history and now it appears as thought Grubauer may find himself on the trade market.
According to a report from Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the Capitals are indeed shopping Grubauer on the trade market, with the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders as the early frontrunners to acquire his services.
The market for Philipp Grubauer starts with Carolina and the Islanders. We’ll see if it grows from there.
Grubauer is a pending restricted free-agent, so the Caps are in no rush to deal him, but don’t be surprised if he’s dealt before the NHL Entry Draft on June 22. There’s no doubt that both the Hurricanes and the Islanders should be interested in Grubauer, but you have to also wonder about a dark horse team like the Pittsburgh Penguins or Tampa Bay Lightning. Both the Penguins and the Lightning struggled at times when Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevski were out of the lineup this season, a solid 1B option like Grubauer to help spell their 1A option could be just what the doctor ordered.