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Capitals promote Chris Patrick to GM, Brian MacLellan remains president of hockey operations

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — The Washington Capitals named Chris Patrick as their general manager on Monday with longtime GM Brian MacLellan remaining president of hockey operations.

Patrick, 48, who was also named as a senior vice president, has worked for the Capitals in various capacities since 2009 and served as assistant GM under MacLellan the past three years. The son of longtime team president Dick Patrick previously was director of player personnel after a lengthy stint as a pro scout, and now he’s just the seventh GM in the organization’s 50-year history.

“Chris is a dedicated and hard-working executive, who is fully prepared for this next step in his career,” owner Ted Leonsis said in a statement. “His vision, extensive experience, hockey acumen and player evaluation make him the perfect leader to drive our team forward.”

MacLellan, 65, spent a decade as GM since taking over for George McPhee in 2014. He finished the building of the team that won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title in 2018.

“With Dick Patrick as chairman, Brian as president and Chris as general manager, we believe we have a dynamic leadership team in place to continue to guide our hockey operations department forward,” Leonsis said. “Brian’s leadership, experience, and vision for our hockey team, combined with Chris’ impressive track record and successful tenure as an executive, talent evaluator, and guardian of our minor league partnerships, position our hockey operations team for a successful future.”

The front office shakeup is the latest around the NHL with an established GM shifting upstairs and ceding day-to-day operations. It happened in 2022 with Colorado after the Avalanche won the Cup, with Chris MacFarland succeeding Joe Sakic as GM and Sakic becoming president of hockey operations, while St. Louis has laid out a succession plan for Alexander Steen and Doug Armstrong to follow the same path.

With Washington, Patrick assumes control of a retool-on-the-fly effort MacLellan put into overdrive over the past couple of weeks to keep the club’s contending window open in the final two years of captain Alex Ovechkin’s contract. MacLellan turned over nearly a quarter of the roster, acquiring center Pierre-Luc Dubois, winger Andrew Mangiapane, defenseman Jakob Chychrun and goaltender Logan Thompson in separate trades and signing free agents Matt Roy, Brandon Duhaime and Taylor Raddysh.

“I think we’re better,” MacLellan said last week, giving no indication of the promotions at the time. “I just think it’s a better slotted team. It should be better offensively. We’ll find that out later. I think it’s overall just a deeper, better-structured team than it was last year.”

The Capitals squeaked into the playoffs on a tiebreaker as the second and final wild card in the Eastern Conference. They were swept in the first round by the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers, who lost in the East final to eventual Cup champion Florida.

They have reached the postseason in 15 of the past 17 seasons of what is known as the Ovechkin era. The Russian superstar and face of the franchise since being drafted first in 2004 is 42 away from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s career goals record and turns 39 in September.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Hockey Writer

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