WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Capitals capped off a busy day on Saturday by signing defender Paul LaDue to a one-way contract for the 2020-21 season.
The signing follows the team’s addition of former Bear Cameron Schilling earlier in the day, and adds another right-handed defender to the team’s stable of blue liners. The Capitals also added defender Trevor van Riemsdyk to a similar deal on Saturday, making LaDue the club’s eighth defender under contract at this point.
LaDue, 28, had 27 points (nine goals, 18 assists) in 48 games played for the Ontario Reign this past season and has spent the past four seasons (and three playoff games a year prior) with the Los Angeles Kings organization, mostly with the Reign. Although LaDue is on a one-way contract, his term and the amount of players under contract makes negotiating his placement within the organization at an interesting spot along with the van Riemsdyk signing. CapFriendly currently has LaDue ticketed to the AHL, as the Capitals are up against the salary ceiling.
The trickle-down effect of these two signings provides more cushioning against the Capitals needing to recall any blue liners from the Hershey Bears, whose situation on the back end has changed dramatically within the past day. With defender Michal Kempny on the shelf for a period of approximately 6-8 months after a surgery, it seemed like a Hershey defender (most likely Martin Fehervary) would likely be stepping up to the NHL in the interim.
It seems as though Washington opted to provide some competition and guaranteed experience in van Riemsdyk. The Capitals still have to negotiate a new contract for former Bear Jonas Siegenthaler, who was extended a qualifying offer along with Shane Gersich. With all this in mind, it seems like there will be quite a battle on the blue line to suit up for the Caps next season.
The move continued to provide this incredible stability after Washington signed veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year deal on Friday. It effectively eliminated an organizational goaltending battle by solidifying the combination of Lundqvist and Ilya Samsonov in D.C., while Vitek Vanecek and Pheonix Copley will continue to man the crease in Hershey, likely sending Zach Fucale and Hunter Shepard to South Carolina. It provides another storyline to watch out for when training camp gets underway to see who lands where.
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