NHL Rumors: Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Defense, and the Washington Capitals
Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Washington Capitals now?

Sammi Silber of WSHHockeyNOW:  Apparently, Brian MacLellan is not as open to trading Evgeny Kuznetsov. Hey, sometimes things get misconstrued. There is no denying that Washington has a cap crunch. They are trying to sign Alex Ovechkin and RFA goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

They have to see how much cap space will be left afterward. Even with everything that happened to Kuznetsov last year, it does not mean they are automatically trading him.

Has it been discussed? Surely, it has.

Everyone is saying the right things. Kuznetsov has gone on record saying he wants to stay in Washington. He is working out this summer in Washington as well. The center acknowledged the tough season and compared it to a marriage.

Will it end in a divorce or a reconciliation? That remains to be seen.

Then, there is the Washington Capitals’ defense?

J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington:  A big issue for the Washington Capitals last season was their defense. They ranked 17th in the NHL but were absolutely throttled at times by Boston in the playoff loss.

Zdeno Chara is a thought but again that depends on if he wants to return and if Washington still has cap space. He is a circle-back option.

Michal Kempny returns after missing all of last year and that will be the internal addition as opposed to Chara.

Free agency seems limited with the surplus of bodies. Washington has eight defensemen now.

That surplus means someone is getting traded but who is the question. There are decisions to be made.

Brenden Dillon was traded to Winnipeg but the Capitals may not be done yet.

Also, Washington has risk here with Kempny coming back from his second major injury. Does MacLellan trade Justin Schultz anyway then re-sign Chara for insurance? That is possible. Do not underestimate the Washington general manager.

Like the Evgeny Kuznetsov “situation”, the defense is also quite fluid.