The reigning Stanley Cup champion Capitals had a relatively quiet first day of NHL free agency, as was expected. With the Capitals set to ice much of the same lineup in 2019, Washington opted to use the always hectic July 1st to add depth at center.
With Jay Beagle leaving the team after signing a four-year, $12 million deal with the Vancouver Canucks, the Capitals acted quickly to bring in candidates to replace him. The team brought in veteran center Nic Dowd to a one-year, $650k deal. The 28-year-old Dowd was a 2009 seventh-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings- playing 140 games with the Kings’ AHL affiliates Manchester Monarchs and Ontario Reign, tallying 92 points. Dowd made his NHL debut in 2015 with the Kings and went on to put up 39 points in 91 games over a span of two-and-a-half seasons. In December 2017, Dowd was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for defenseman, Jordan Subban. With Vancouver, Dowd appeared in 40 games but finished with just three points.
Shortly after the addition of Dowd, the Caps inked 2011 sixth-round pick RFA Travis Boyd to a two-year deal. Boyd has spent much of the last three years with the Hershey Bears, but did appear in eight games with the Capitals last season including one in the postseason. In 61 games with the Bears, Boyd tallied 47 points. The 24-year-old Boyd had his best season in 2016-17 where he posted 63 points and was named an AHL All-Star. Boyd and Dowd are likely to battle it out to replace the departed Jay Beagle on the fourth line with the loser likely to spend next season in the AHL.
After the signings of Dowd and Boyd, general manager Brian MacLellan continued to add depth down the middle, signing veteran centers Jayson Megna and Michael Sgarbossa to one-year deals with both likely to spend next season in Hershey.
Megna, who has spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and Vancouver Canucks organizations with his best season coming in 2015-16 with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate Hartford Wolf Pack where he posted 44 points. Most recently, the 6’1″, 195 lb center spent 25 games with the Utica Comets in 2017-18.
The 25-year-old Sgarbossa spent the 2017-18 season with the Manitoba Moose, scoring 16 goals and 40 points. Sgarbossa has also spent time with the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, and Florida Panthers’ organizations and has appeared in 48 total NHL games while suiting up in 312 games in the AHL.
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images North America)
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