Key offseason questions: Will the Capitals look to add on defense?

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Will the Caps look to add on defense this offseason? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

With a flat salary cap, some expiring contracts and the Seattle expansion draft, this is going to be a busy offseason for the Capitals. To get you ready, Capitals writers Andrew Gillis and JJ Regan are breaking down the biggest offseason questions with their thoughts.

Today's question: Will the Caps look to add on defense?

Andrew: “Add” is a tricky way of describing what I think the Capitals are about to do on defense. Because they’re going to be adding a few players at the expense of others.

As of now, the Capitals have five left-handed defensemen that can conceivably step into the lineup next fall in Dmitry Orlov, Brenden Dillon, Michal Kempny, Martin Fehervary and Alexander Alexeyev. On the right side, they’ve got John Carlson, Justin Schultz, Nick Jensen and Trevor van Riemsdyk as right-handed shots. 

And for as much as Brian MacLellan and every other GM in the league loves defensive depth, the Capitals simply won’t, and frankly cannot afford to carry all those defensemen in the AHL and NHL next season.

I think the Capitals are going to wait for expansion to see what that brings in the way of who they’ve got left on defense, and then they’ll make their decision on how to optimize the blue line. But it looks like at least one defenseman on the Capitals right now won’t be next year.

It doesn’t appear any major additions are coming for the Capitals on defense, and I think that’s for the best. They'll be able to get younger, cheaper, and perhaps even better on the blue line with just a few moves that appear to be on the precipice already.

JJ: In terms of adding, quite simply, they can't afford to.

On Brian MacLellan's to-do list this offseason will be to move a defenseman This is going to happen. Andrew already listed the bodies on the blue line. They have too many and not enough cap space to keep them all.

The good news is the team is well-positioned if Seattle selects a defenseman in the expansion draft, but, one way or another, they are going to have to move a left defenseman this offseason. They have no choice.

With little cap room and already a surplus at the position, it seems unlikely the team would make any additions. Whatever money you bring in, you have to ship back out so any additions they make would result in slashing salary somewhere else. The only "addition" I see is Fehervary taking a full-time role, but that's it.