NHL free agent, trade rumors: Capitals’ external options aren’t too appealing

After every season since he became the Capitals’ general manager, Brian MacLellan has made a summer wish list of sorts. Through either trade or free agency, he’s acquired players to improve Washington’s roster and address the team’s most pressing needs. But as MacLellan identifies the Capitals’ potential holes entering next season, he might find that the best available players to fill them are already in his organization.

On one hand, that is an optimistic outlook for the Capitals’ roster concerns. On the other, it speaks unkindly of a lackluster free agent class and trade options that may either be unpalatable or unobtainable for Washington. And it also shows that the Capitals free agents will be some of the most sought after on the market.

What follows is the third and final installment in a three-part series looking at the offseason ahead for the Capitals. The Washington Post is examining the organization’s summer plans, including how the expansion draft will affect the team, what will happen to the players from this past season, and now, what external solutions could aid the Capitals in the season to come.

After expected free-agent departures, Washington could have an opening in the top-six forward corps and also be in the market for a third-pairing defenseman. The Capitals could fill those vacancies with prospects, but MacLellan has made at least one marquee move per summer and with some roster turnover expected after another disappointing playoff run, it’s worth exploring some options that may be available to MacLellan through free agency or trade.

Free agent forwards

The Capitals’ top unrestricted free-agent priority should be re-signing right winger T.J. Oshie, who had a career year with 33 goals in 68 games. After the season, Oshie expressed his interest in re-signing, but if he hit the open market, he would be one…

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