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Will Ovechkin have a new center forward? The main thing of the great trade of Washington

Date: July 17, 2024 Time: 15:44:23

The lack of a quality center forward was one of Washington’s main problems last season. Back in early November, one of the most important players in modern Capitals history, Nicklas Bäckström, temporarily recused himself (although something suggests he didn’t), and as the regular season progressed, the club’s relationship with Evgeny Kuznetsov, who first ended up in the player assistance program, left the NHL completely poorly and then, as a result of a trade, left the US capital and moved to Carolina.

In the central axis of the “capital”, Dylan Strome stood out among the others, becoming the team’s top scorer, and he was accompanied by “graduates of the system” Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre, as well as the experienced Nic Dowd – a set , to put it mildly, not elite, although with some potential (Daoud, 34, is left out of brackets here for obvious reasons).

As soon as the free agent market opened, Washington rushed to solve this very problem. But he did it in a very specific way: a forward with a scandalous reputation, Pierre-Luc Dubois, comes to Alexander Ovechkin and Co. from sunny Los Angeles.

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A year ago, the PLD also changed clubs: at the end of June 2023, the Canadian signed a new eight-year contract with Winnipeg and was immediately transferred to the Kings. For Dubois, such a transition was a dream come true: at one time the forward desperately tried to leave the “provincial” Columbus, but fate threw him into one of the least attractive places in the league. Here the player achieved what he had wanted for so long: it seemed that the California sun and life in one of the largest cities in the USA would inspire him to new feats.

However, the expected effect did not occur: Dubois started the season well, but then declined in performance, finished the regular season as the second least useful player for the Kings (-9) and failed in the playoffs, earning only one point. every five. matches. The trade, which, despite the large amount of assets given away, seemed promising for Los Angeles, turned out to be a real nightmare; I don’t want to say that the Jets’ additions of Vilardi, Iafallo and Cupari caused a sensation in Manitoba, but his contributions did. in the field reactors” (to a lesser extent this applies to the Finns) turned out to be higher than that of the LDP in California.

Kings general manager Rob Blake, who definitely failed with the Dubois trade, is very lucky that Washington wanted to sign a player with such a reputation: Starting July 1, the Canadian’s contract will take effect with a total ban on exchanges. which will remain in force for the next four seasons, so, if the option with the Capitals had not appeared so opportunely, it would not have been possible to get rid of the problematic forward so easily. From now on, the LDP will be a headache for the “capital”, for whom the story with Kuznetsov, apparently, was not enough.

Of course, there’s a small chance that playing alongside Alexander Ovechkin will help knock some sense into the wayward player. The club’s general manager, Brian McLellan, in his welcome speech called Dubois a player with incredible potential to become a top-class center, and for some reason suggested that with greater responsibility he would make great progress; Let’s leave this statement on the conscience of the official. Although the forward does have talent.

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Otherwise, which so far seems more likely, “capital” simply walked away with a terrible contract. As they already joke abroad, Washington forgot to check its conditions on the CapFriendly website, which will soon become the property of the club. And this transition could also have a negative impact on the progress of Lapierre himself, who looked quite good at the end of the season and even at times in the playoffs: in a center quartet with Strome, McMichael and Dowd, it is his position that will be the most vulnerable with the arrival of the PLD.

If the fact that Dubois was sent home greatly delighted the Los Angeles fans and forced them to temporarily stop remembering Blake with an unpleasant word, then after learning about the compensation for the forward, everything returned to normal. Going in the opposite direction was goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who declined noticeably last season.

Two years ago, the 34-year-old goaltender moved to Washington as the new Stanley Cup winner and was called upon to solve the problem of the Capitals, who completely changed their goaltending team that offseason, in the last stage; Then, along with Kuemper, Charlie Lindgren joined the Capitals roster, who was supposed to become a backup for the more experienced Canadian.

In the 2022/2023 season everything was exactly like that, and Darcy himself, although he did not show any cosmic level in goal, was quite reliable, as much as possible in the current Washington. But the last regular season turned out to be a failure for him: Kemper suffered greatly and lost the number one status to Lindgren, who took advantage of the opportunity and became the league leader in clean sheets.

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Lindgren’s replacement for the Capitals next season is likely to be Hunter Shepard and Clay Stevenson. These goalies shared playing time with each other on the capital’s farm club in the AHL, while each of the duo entered the top 3 of the regular season in terms of saved shots percentage (Shepard first, Stevenson third) and shutouts (Stevenson first, Shepard third), and also entered the top 2 in terms of reliability coefficient – Shepard takes the lead here. However, Stevenson’s age (25 years old) and the fact that starting next season his contract will be one-sided, suggest that he will be the first to get a chance in the NHL.

But Kuemper, apparently, will have the opportunity to return to his previous level in Los Angeles: Cam Talbot, who was the first number of the “Kings” last season, seems to leave the team at the end of his contract. and David Rittich will continue in the substitute role. The Kings are again taking a big risk: for a club with their ambitions and capabilities, relying on the “resurrection” of a once good goalkeeper is a thankless task, and if Darcy never returns to optimal form, then they will have than trusting an unreliable Czech, which also does not encourage optimism.

It’s still difficult to say who benefited most from this trade, if there is such a party: both teams got rid of unnecessary players with the intention of strengthening problematic positions. But this is on paper: in fact, both Kemper and Dubois will have to prove that the new clubs have them for a reason. Considering their recent problems, this will be quite difficult.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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