Another early playoff loss at the hands of another lower playoff seed could bring about changes for the Washington Capitals this summer.
WASHINGTON POST: Tarik El-Bashir, Tracee Hamilton, and Katie Carrera reported significant, difficult decisions could be coming for the Washington Capitals in the wake of their four-game sweep out of the post-season at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. All agreed GM George McPhee and head coach Bruce Boudreau deserve their fair share of criticism but ultimately the bulk of the blame falls upon the players. Hamilton believes only Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, both on expensive, multi-year contracts, are untouchable. Carrera noted forward Mike Knuble acknowledged changes could come but doubts McPhee will engage in a knee-jerk response like “blowing up” the roster, as that’s not McPhee’s way.
WASHINGTON TIMES: Stephen Whyno reports the Capitals have seven unrestricted free agents heading into this summer, including several veterans like Jason Arnott who aren’t likely to return.
ESPN.COM: Scott Burnside also doubts Arnott will be back, and believes Marco Sturm will also be gone via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will likely be calls for Boudreau to be fired but it wouldn’t surprise me if they bring him back for one more season. The decisions regarding most of their UFAs are easy, but they must decide if they’ll retain Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon and Matt Bradley. Ultimately they could re-sign Laich and cut loose the Gordon and Bradley. Veteran defenseman Scott Hannan might be back but it’s possible they could look at a more affordable, younger option. As for potential trade bait, expect lots of rumors about Alexander Semin, but given his expensive salary and poor playoff performances, he could prove very difficult to move.