Washington Capitals free-agency preview: Left-handed defenders


As of noon on Wednesday, July 13, a bunch of hockey dudes will become unrestricted free agents in need of new deals. The Washington Capitals have some specific needs that must be met, and together we are going to figure out how best to do it.

In this edition: a left-handed defender who could stretch to the top pairing.

But first, recall if you will our data-driven analysis of the Capitals needs, based on position, and measured by your bad vibes. Here’s the Capitals lineup, color-coded based on how worried we are — and therefore perhaps how interested the front office should be in shoring up that position.

So. Defenders. What the unwashed patriarchal masses call defensemen.

Based on the back half of his season, Martin Fehervary isn’t up to the job of playing big minutes. Still, he could probably at least slot in on the bottom pairing. But then the Caps have to find someone who could work with right-shooting John Carlson, preferably someone with some defensive skills.

So here are some free-agency options for a lefty defender:

  • Nick Leddy. Leddy plays big minutes, but he doesn’t have the defensive talents to offset Carlson.
    Projected: 5 years, $4.9 million.
  • Danny DeKeyser. He hasn’t played top-line minutes in years and absolutely strangles his offense. I think Detroit is wise to let him walk.
    Projected: 1 year, $1.2 million.
  • Calvin De Haan. Another not-quite-top-line guy with virtually no offense, but he’s been a reliable suppressor on defense for years. Maybe there could be chemistry there?
    Projected: 3 years, $3.0 million.
  • Nikita Zadorov. Now we’re talking. I love Zadorov. Top pairing would be a promotion for him, but his defensive stalwartiness could be a perfect match for Carlson. He had 18 assists for Calgary last season.
    Projected: 5 years, $4.3 million.
  • Brett Kulak. Similar story as Zadorov to me, but with lower risk.
    Projected: 3 years, $3.0 million.
  • Alex Edler. Despite being disgustingly old (three years younger than me), Edler is still a driver of offense without defensive shortcomings. I worry about his age, mostly because I worry about my own, but he could be a very interesting complementary player for a Caps team trying to get more looks.
    Projected: 3 years, $3.9 million.

There are a bunch of guys I didn’t consider just because they’re righties or maybe also because I don’t like them: PK Subban, Anton Stralman, John Klingberg, and Josh Manson 🥤.

Who do you like? Who did we miss?

Salary projections from Evolving-Hockey. Please consider joining us as subscribers.

Also in this seriesTop-line right wingMiddle-six center, Depth left wing