By Tyler Leli @jetleli on April 9, 2014
The Washington Capitals look like a sure bet to miss out on playoff hockey, and it is clear that the team needs to change some things up this summer. These five players will leave town to rectify things.
Washington ranks 24th in goals per game against and 18th in penalty kill percentage, and they need to improve their defense as a result. Unfortunately, the Capitals have six defenseman on the books for the 2014-15 season, which means they need to find a taker for at least one player. The man most likely to be on the move is Jack Hillen, who has only played 36 games the last two years and will never be anything more than a depth defenseman.
Washington has 12 forwards signed for the 2014-15 season, but they need to change things up as the unit ranks 14th in the NHL in goals per game. One bottom-feeder player who could and should go is Jay Beagle, who is signed for only 0,000 next year and will never be anything other than a grinder. Beagle may not bring back a lot in a trade, but the open roster spot is needed for a player with more ability.
Aaron Volpatti is another forward who is likely to go as a result of re-shuffling on the front end, and rightfully so. Volpatti has the potential to be an adequate fourth-liner and nothing else, but he has yet to stay healthy for an entire season. With only 5,000 due to Volpatti next year, the Capitals can move on without batting an eye.
There were high hopes in Washington when Dustin Penner was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline, but the move has failed miserably. Penner has only contributed one goal and two assists in 14 games and only averaged 12:13 of ice time, and has even suffered through injury. The 31-year-old winger would clearly rather be playing hockey in California, and he will almost certainly move there as a free agent this summer.
Jaroslav Halak hasn't performed especially poorly since joining the Capitals at the NHL Trade Deadline, picking up a 4-4-3 record with a 2.53 GAA and 92.3 save percentage. One would think the Capitals would re-sign Halak, but this likely won't be possible because of their continued insistence that Braden Holtby is the long-term solution in net. Expect the 28 year old to leave in search of a big contract and a starting role.
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