The Washington Capitals have now signed all their remaining restricted free agents, inking Liam O’Brien to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
O’Brien, 22, played in one game last season for the Capitals, going without a point. He has 14 career NHL games under his belt with Washington dating back to the 2014-15 season, when he made the club out of training camp despite never being drafted.
Known more for his toughness, O’Brien scored 10 goals and 30 points in 64 games with Hershey last season, his most productive campaign in the AHL. He also had 117 penalty minutes.
The Capitals have undergone significant changes throughout their roster this offseason since getting bounced again in the second round by the Penguins.
They currently have $70.9 million committed to 17 players, which means they’ll likely look to their younger prospects on more affordable contracts to supplement the remainder of their roster.
“We’re going to be getting younger, our prospects are developing and they’re going to take a bigger role. It’s just going to be a different feel to it,” said general manager Brian MacLellan in May.
In 2014, O’Brien got his chance in part because of numerous injuries up front. He did, however, take the opportunity afforded to him in camp. In the words of coach Barry Trotz, he “demanded to be noticed.”
Three years later, there should be spots up for grabs when camp begins in September. It will be up to O’Brien to once again grab the attention of the coaching staff.