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Washington Capitals Weekly Update: April 23 to April 29

It’s time for the final Washington Capitals weekly update of the 2023-24 season. The Capitals were the last team to qualify for the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and the first team to be eliminated. In its short playoff appearance, Washington lost four games and two defencemen. It was the first time the Capitals have been swept in the opening round of the post-season. Several of Washington’s young skaters have been loaned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. The Bears won the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy and had a first-round bye for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Hershey’s playoff run officially begins Wednesday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

The offseason is starting for the rest of the Capitals. Players will focus on healing any injuries they endured during the season. The front office and coaching staff will have a bit more to consider during the summer. Washington has eight picks in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. There are also several restricted free agents for General Manager Brian MacLellan to consider as he constructs next season’s roster. Here is the Washington Capitals weekly update for April 23rd to 29th.

Washington Capitals Weekly Update: April 23-29

On-Ice Results

Washington couldn’t find a win to extend its season further than it already had. The Capitals scored the first goal in the second and third games of the series, but didn’t hold those leads. Overall, Washington had a lead for about three minutes of the series. In their three final games the Capitals allowed six power play goals and two shorthanded goals.

Goaltender Charlie Lindgren saved 62 of the last 72 shots he faced. Hendrix Lapierre scored his first career playoff goal in the third period of Game 4. Through all four games, defender Martin Fehervary scored two goals and added one assist for three points. Forward Tom Wilson also totaled three points in the series with a goal and an assist coming in Game 2. Alex Ovechkin did not score any points in the series. This is the first time Ovechkin has ever failed to record at least one point in a playoff appearance.

Washington Capitals Injury Updates

Defenders Nick Jensen and Rasmus Sandin, who were injured late in the regular season, both played on Sunday’s post-season finale for the Caps. Jensen played the second-most minutes on the Capitals behind John Carlson, finishing with 21:03. Sandin wasn’t far behind him with 20:44. Sandin also added four hits, indicating he felt no hesitation to physically engage opponents following his upper-body injury.

Two other defenders remained out following their own injuries. Vincent Iorio returned to practice in a non-contact jersey during the week. He was injured in Game 1. Trevor van Riemsdyk left Game 3 after a hit from Matt Rempe. He has not been on the ice since then.

During postgame interviews Sunday night, Dylan Strome mentioned that T.J. Oshie played Game 4 with a broken hand. No other players have revealed any injuries they dealt with during the short four-game series.

The Offseason Begins

With the end of the 2023-24 season for the Washington Capitals, five rostered players’ contracts have ended. There are also nine non-roster contracts which end this summer. Most of those players will be restricted free agents. The following players who appeared in at least one game for Washington will be unrestricted free agents, able to sign with any team: Max Pacioretty, Nicolas Aubé-Kubel, Matthew Phillips, Joe Snively, and Lucas Johansen. Among upcoming restricted free agents, the top priorities will likely be Connor McMichael, Beck Malenstyn, Riley Sutter, Ethen Frank, and Hardy Häman Aktell.

Many of those players just mentioned were recalled for the Capitals’ playoffs. In addition to McMichael, Häman Aktell, and Johansen, each of Hendrix Lapierre, Ivan Miroshnichenko, Dylan McIlrath and Mitchell Gibson have been returned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears and will participate in the Bears’ attempt to repeat as Calder Cup Champions. Iorio was also loaned to Hershey but is not yet cleared to play or practice due to his injury.

One final note, though nothing has been confirmed, there is speculation that Oshie is considering retirement. He has missed 30 or more games in each of the past three seasons. He has one more year on his current contract with a cap hit of $5.75 million.

Main photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


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