The Washington Capitals begin their 2022-23 season Wednesday night when the puck drops at Capital One Arena against the Boston Bruins.
Alex Ovechkin leads a veteran core of T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, and others as the Caps search for their first Stanley Cup since 2018. Washington will start the season without Tom Wilson, who is out until at least November while he is recovering from an ACL injury, and without center Nicklas Backstrom, who is recovering from hip surgery and doesn’t have a projected return yet.
Here are some of the new faces the Capitals brought in to bolster the 2022-23 lineup.
The Capitals biggest free agency signing, Kuemper won 37 games as goaltender for the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche last season. He had a .921 save percentage, which will be an upgrade from last year’s Caps tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek, who combined for an average .902 save percentage. The Capitals signed Kuemper to a five-year, $26.25 million contract.
Strome signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract in July to fill in for the injured Backstrom. The 25-year-old center scored 22 goals with the Chicago Blackhawks last year, third-most on the team.
Lindgren becomes a viable backup goalie option behind Kuemper. Although he only appeared in five games last year for the St. Louis Blues, he won all five games and posted a .958 save percentage.
The 28-year-old forward was acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators and is described as someone who is “dangerous” when the team is short-handed, with strong puck handling abilities. He scored 10 goals and had 29 assists with the Senators last season. He will be a free agent after this season.
Gustaffson helps to bolster the thin line of Capitals defensemen, signing a one-year, $800,000 contract. The 30-year-old recorded 18 points (15 assists) with the Chicago Blackhawks last year.
The Finnish forward is described as an “ongoing project” for the Capitals. Borgström was a first-round selection in 2016 with the Florida Panthers, but spent time playing in the AHL and SM-Liiga when he didn’t find success in the NHL. Back in the league, he scored four goals last year with the Blackhawks. The Caps plan to start from scratch with him, and hope that his youthfulness contributes to an aging Caps lineup that is the second oldest in the NHL, behind only the rival Pittsburgh Penguins.