NHL Rumors: 3 Washington Capitals Not Expected Back Next Season

The Washington Capitals were eliminated from the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Playoffs, thanks to a fine performance from the Florida Panthers. It took Game 6 overtime for the league's best regular season team to take down the Capitals and now the Caps focus shifts to the offseason. Lockers get cleaned out, players depart for their summer residents and management gets to work. Let's take a look at three Capitals not expected back next season:

Lars Eller

With some expensive contracts on the books, look for management to try and save some money in other areas, and Lars Eller is a prime candidate. The veteran center makes $3.5 million annually and is signed through next season. Look for the Capitals to test the trade market on the 33-year-old who put up 31 points in 72 games during the regular season and three points in six Stanley Cup Playoff games. Unlike many other Capitals, he doesn't hold any trade protection.

Ilya Samsonov

The Capitals need to shore up their crease and it may begin by moving on from Ilya Samsonov. There's a reason why management went hard after Marc-Andre Fleury before the trade deadline, they had no confidence their netminder could get it done. First-round exit later and it certainly appears to be the case. Samsonov put up decent numbers during the regular season but lost his starting job at times and finished 44 regular season appearances with an .896 save percentage. He's a pending restricted free agent in line for a raise on his $2 million salary this season. Look for the NHL draft to be a busy one for management as they will test the trade market on their Russian tender.

Justin Schultz

If Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz wants to return to Washington, the pending unrestricted free agent may need to take a 'home-town' discount. Schultz will hit the open market this summer coming off a season where he made $4 million on the cap, and produced 23 points in 74 games. His -15 rating during the regular season was worrisome and the right-handed blueliner is likely on his way out of town this summer. Right-handed offensive minded defenseman are hard to come by in the NHL, so expect to see some interest in his services. It just may not come from the Caps.

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