Brenden Dillon, who signed a four-year, $15.6 million contract, is projected to be on the top defensive pairing with Norris Trophy runner-up John Carlson. On the second pairing, it appears Dmitry Orlov will slot in alongside newly acquired defenseman Justin Schultz.
Schultz signed a two-year, $8 million deal, making him the third-highest paid defenseman on the team behind Carlson and Orlov. Schultz is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and spent the past five seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Capitals’ third pairing looks to be more open, with a likely combination of Siegenthaler, Nick Jensen or Trevor van Riemsdyk, who signed a free agent deal earlier this month. Barring a trade, it would appear that Siegenthaler and Jensen would get the first go on the third pairing. Jensen, who had an up-and-down season, found his footing toward the end of the year and during the playoffs.
Van Riemsdyk, who signed a one-year, $800,000 deal with the Capitals, was mainly on the third pairing during his time in Carolina, but is able to move up and down the lineup when necessary. Van Riemsdyk, who is a right shot, won a Stanley Cup during his rookie season in Chicago.
Washington also signed depth defensemen Paul LaDue and Cameron Schilling earlier in free agency. They are projected to be part of the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Hershey, Pa. — barring any additional injuries on the blue line. LaDue — or perhaps prospect Martin Fehervary — would be a viable option to be the first call up from Hershey.
The Capitals have 12 forwards projected on their active roster, which includes Daniel Sprong, who signed a one-way, two-year deal in September.
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