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Of the Capitals' top 12 forwards, there are likely six whose jobs are genuinely safe this offseason. Not coincidentally, three of them are players with no-movement clauses in their contracts.
Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are the three clear-cut untouchable forwards on the roster, but given the play of Troy Brouwer this season, one would have to assume that his future with the Caps is all but guaranteed.
Outside of those four, 21-year-old centerman Marcus Johansson will be back, as the second-year pivot is well on his way to a 40-point season. Speed demon Jason Chimera should return as well, as the big man has played hard all year and is just goal away from his career high of 17.
Beyond those six, who else has done enough this season for George McPhee to believe that they're part of a winning formula in Washington? Joel Ward has underachieved since signing a four-year $12 million deal in July, notching just six goals through his first 64 games, but it won't be easy to move a player of his caliber who comes with a annual cap hit of $3 million.
After being a feel good story for hockey fans everywhere last year, Matt Hendricks has fallen back to earth statistically, posting just three goals and seven points, despite receiving more ice time due to injuries to key players.
Considering those two are both under contract for another season, there's a reasonable chance they'll be back, but there are a couple of unrestricted free agents that will all but assuredly be wearing different jerseys by next September such as Alexander Semin and Mike Knuble.
Knuble has persevered through easily the worst season of his career, but one has to think that despite his numbers, he'll at least garner some tryout offers this summer.
With regards to Semin, though his play has improved, the Capitals have a younger, more complete prospect with offensive skills close to Semin's caliber in Evgeny Kuznetsov, and there's no reason to believe the Caps want more than two enigmatic forwards on their roster.
Locks: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Johansson, Laich, Brouwer, Chimera
Possibilities: Halpern, Perreault, Beagle, Ward, Hendricks
Pack your bags: Semin, Knuble