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Scouting the Stanley Cup Final: Possible Caps’ Free Agent Targets from the Nashville Predators

Scouting the Stanley Cup Final: Possible Caps’ Free Agent Targets from the Nashville Predators

Yesterday, JJ Regan took a look at pending free agents on the Stanley Cup-bound Penguins that could be of interest to the Caps.

Today, I’m taking a look at Nashville’s expiring contracts and evaluating whether anyone could be of help to Washington as the team looks to retool on the fly this offseason.

(All contract info via www.capfriendly.com)

Mike Fisher

Position:C
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:37
Last contract:2 years, $8.8 million/$4.4 million annual cap hit
Season stats:18 goals and 24 assists in 72 games

Fisher, the Preds’ second line pivot and team captain, enjoyed a bounce-back season after struggling through a down year in 2015-16. In addition to racking up 42 points, his highest total in four years, Fisher plays on both special teams units. He does the little things, too. He led all Predators’ forwards in hits (160), ranked second in blocked shots (66) and won a career-best 54.9-percent of his draws. Long respected for his work ethic and leadership, Fisher was give the ‘C’ last year after Shea Weber was dealt to Montreal for P.K. Subban. He’s also married to country music star Carrie Underwood. The bottom line is Fisher has been a good player for a long time in the NHL. But given the fact that the Caps have three centers under contract for next season (Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle) and are likely to ink Evgeny Kuznetsov to a long-term extension, there’s simply no fit here in Washington. Not to mention, it wouldn’t seem likely that the Preds would want to lose their captain two summers in a row.

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Vernon Fiddler

Position:  C
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:37
Last contract:1 year, $1.25 million
Season stats:2 goals and 2 assists in 59 games with the Devils and Predators.

A solid fourth liner who returned to Nashville via a trade from New Jersey in February, he’s good defensive player, can kill penalties and is effective in the faceoff circle. Although he’d likely come cheap, I don’t see a fit with the Caps. It’s also possible he’ll retire following the season. Fiddler did, however, play his first six NHL seasons under Barry Trotz in Nashville and remains a favorite of the Washington coach.

Harry Zolnierczyk

Position:  LW
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:30
Last contract:1 year, $575,000.
Season stats:2 goals and 2 assists in 24 games.

A depth player who spent 24 games in the American Hockey League this season, the bottom-six winger made his postseason debut last month and has drawn into the Predators’ playoff lineup eight times (1 goal, 1 assist, 9:05 of average ice time). There could be an opening on the left side of the fourth line if the Caps don’t re-sign Daniel Winnik, and Zolnierczyk, who has an economics degree from Brown, would come cheap. The Caps, however, can fill that role with a younger player who’s already in the organization.

P.A. Parenteau

Position:  RW
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:34
Last contract:1 year, $1.25 million
Season stats:13 goals and 15 assists in 67 games with the Devils and Predators

Acquired by Nashville in March from New Jersey to provide postseason scoring depth, Parenteau is one of the game’s most well-traveled players. In fact, he’s played for eight teams since 2006, never spending more than two seasons in the same city. He’s played in one game in each of the three playoff rounds this spring but has not recorded a point. Again, Parenteau would likely come on the cheap but the Caps will have younger options.

Yannick Weber

Position: Defense
Age at the start of the 2017-18 season:29
Last contract:1 year, $575,000
Season stats: 1 goal, 7 assists in 73 games

Weber is a third pairing D-man for the Predators who doesn’t see time on special teams. That said, he’s a reliable vet, a right shot and wouldn’t cost much. And the Caps have a lot to sort out on the blue line.

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Caps to host Leafs in outdoor game at Naval Academy

Caps to host Leafs in outdoor game at Naval Academy

The Caps are going outside again.

They'll host the Toronto Maple Leafs at at the U.S. Naval Academy's Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland on March 3, 2018, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CSN on Saturday night. Alex Ovechkin and Co. eliminated Auston Matthews and the upstart Leafs in the first round of the playoffs last month. 

Navy's stadium seats 34,000.

The game will be Washington’s third outdoor contest in the last seven years. The Caps have played in the Winter Classic twice, defeating the Penguins in 2011 at Heinz Field and the Blackhawks in 2015 at Nationals Park.

Next year's game—which has been rumored for months—will be the first outdoor game played at a U.S. service academy. It’s also one of at least three outdoor games set for next season: the Senators will host the Canadiens in the NHL100 Classic at TD Place Stadium on Dec. 16 and the Rangers will face the Sabres in the Winter Classic at Citi Field on New Year’s Day.

NHL Network announced on Saturday that the league would announce a game at Navy on Monday. The Washington Post and Associated Press first reported the teams involved and date of the game.

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