The Washington Capitals have some decisions to make regarding their defensive corps, as reported by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun on Twitter. The team has been in contract talks with pending unrestricted free agent defensemen Nick Jensen and Erik Gustafsson; however, given the fact they were in negotiations with Dmitry Orlov before trading him to the Boston Bruins yesterday, it’s no guarantee that Jensen and Gustafsson remain Capitals through the trade deadline.
General manager Brian MacLellan essentially deemed his team a seller with the Orlov trade, as Washington now sits at the back of the pack regarding the Eastern Conference Wild Card race. Jensen and Gustafsson are valuable role players who could fetch decent deadline returns, but they’d also hold value for future seasons in Washington. Injuries have taken an enormous toll on the team, pushing them toward the back of the conference, and they’ve vowed to remain competitive while Alex Ovechkin chases the all-time goals record. With John Carlson being the only defenseman signed for next season, it’s feasible that the Capitals would try to hold onto one or both of Jensen and Gustafsson.
- According to a report by The Athletic’s Rob Rossi, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has expressed interest in acquiring the top defense target left on the market: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, Rossi relayed notes from sources that general manager Ron Hextall is opposed to the Coyotes’ asking price, which includes 2025 and 2026 first-round picks as part of the package — the seasons when Sidney Crosby’s and Evgeni Malkin’s contracts are set to expire. Pittsburgh is 3-6-1 in their past 10 games, falling behind both the Detroit Red Wings and the Buffalo Sabres in terms of points percentage in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
- The injury status of Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan remains unclear, according to a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger on Insider Trading. Monahan’s injury assessment is ongoing, says Dreger, and an update on his status is expected early next week. If the update is positive and Monahan is scheduled to return to the ice soon, teams in need of a veteran center could inquire about acquiring him before the trade deadline. The 26-year-old has recorded six goals, 11 assists, and 17 points in 25 games this season for Montreal but has missed nearly three months with a foot injury.