Washington Capitals general manager Matt McLellan has a reputation of scoring more misses than hits with his NHL draft selections. In the past five years, only one homegrown talent, 2014 first-round selection Jakub Vrana, has achieved significant ice time with the Capitals.
McLellan has instead relied on free agency and deep pockets to build his squads, neither of which will be at his disposal this off-season. Though the exact figures for the NHL salary cap are still being worked out, rumors indicate that the ceiling will be slightly under $83 million – the projected figure that the league’s general managers have used as a baseline. According to CapFriendly.com, Washington has less than $9.75 million of cap space to work with, fifth-worst in the league. Several key players, such as Vrana, Andre Burakovsky, and Brett Connolly remain unsigned, making this draft essential in case any of those players decide to walk.