BUSY TIMES AHEAD FOR CAPS, GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Sunday Sports - - CHEAP SEATS -

There’s not a lot for a gen­eral man­ager to do when his team is in the Stan­ley Cup fi­nal, but Ge­orge McPhee did sign a cou­ple of mi­nor­league play­ers in for­ward To­mas Hyka and de­fence­man Zac Les­lie on Thurs­day.

The real work for McPhee, the Golden Knights GM, and his Cap­i­tals coun­ter­part Brian Ma­cLel­lan starts soon enough.

Ve­gas has lots of cap room and six play­ers el­i­gi­ble to be­come un­re­stricted free agents on July 1.

The list in­cludes 34-year old for­ward Mikhail Grabovski, who hasn’t played since 2015-16 be­cause of post-con­cus­sion syn­drome and will pre­sum­ably call it a ca­reer, and 33-year old de­fence­man Clay­ton Stoner, who has only played 14 games in the past two sea­sons af­ter ab­dom­i­nal surgery.

Also need­ing new deals are 28-year old de­fence­man Luca Sbisa, as well as 30-yearold winger James Neal, 30-year old winger David Per­ron and 31-year old winger Ryan Reaves.

At the very least McPhee should bring back Neal, who has been a Golden Knights leader while earn­ing a $5-mil­lion salary, as well as Reaves, a tough fourth liner who was mak­ing $1.125 mil­lion.

Ve­gas also has five play­ers who would be RFAs on July 1 in de­fence­men Colin Miller and Shea Theodore, plus for­wards Wil­liam Karls­son, To­mas Nosek, Wil­liam Car­rier.

Karls­son and Theodore are in line for rich deals, while Miller and Nosek have also proved valu­able in the play­offs.

The Cap­i­tals un­re­stricted free agents will be de­fence­men John Carl­son, Michal Kempny and Jakub Jer­abek, along with for­wards Jay Bea­gle and Alex Chi­as­son.

If they can’t reach a deal with Carl­son, the Caps will likely put ex­tra fo­cus on Kempny, who has per­formed ad­mirably in the play­offs.

It’s hard to imag­ine Bea­gle, a Cap since 2008-09, play­ing any­where else.

Need­ing deals as RFAs will be winger Tom Wil­son, who is in for a sub­stan­tial raise from his $2-mil­lion salary, as well as winger De­vante Smith-Pelly, cen­tre Travis Boyd, de­fence­man Madi­son Bowey and Philipp Grubauer, Wash­ing­ton’s goalie of the fu­ture. And of course, also with­out a con­tract in a cou­ple of weeks will be Wash­ing­ton coach Barry Trotz. “We’ll talk,” Ma­cLel­lan

Hockey Night in told Canada

re­gard­ing his bench boss’ sit­u­a­tion

be­fore Game 3.

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