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Armchair GM

Since we had so much fun with yesterday's Question of the Day, I thought we'd do it again. Today's question is this: What should the Caps do about Dainius Zubrus?

Like Richard Zednik, Zubrus is in the final year of his contract ($1.85 million per). And like Zednik, the 28-year-old center been solid but not spectacular.

Skating alongside one of the league's best players in Alex Ovechkin, Zubrus has 18 goals, 47 points and has a plus/minus rating of minus 13. But one thing that's often overlooked is his contribution off the ice. He's a leader in the dressing room, and most importantly, he sets a good example for Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. They look up to him and when they don't understand something, Zubrus translates for them.

Zubrus always arrives at training camp ready to go. He arrives at the rink every night ready to go. He's focused and determined. And he likes Washington.

There have been some preliminary discussions on an extension. But I've got a sense that there could be an issue on length of term. (The player always wants the longest contract available to him).

So what would you do? How much is Zubrus worth to the Capitals? If the Caps are completely out of the playoff hunt as the trade deadline nears, and they are nowhere close on an extension, would you listen to offers? And if so, what would you expect in return?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 6, 2007; 10:57 AM ET
 
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Comments

Zubrus wrecks so many great opportunities on the PP, it's quite annoying. At times, its like he doesn't even realize that he's in a contract year. But he probably knows how valuable he is to the Caps because of Ovechkin and Semin. 3.5 mil tops, i think

Posted by: Graham | February 6, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The relationship he has with Ovechkin and his status in the locker room makes him just as valuable to the Caps as his play on the ice does. The Caps need to work on getting an extension done before the trading deadline if at all possible. But even if the sides are far apart there is no need to trade Zubrus unless you can get a young player with tremendous upside who is ready to play in the NHL now. Under no circumstances do you trade him for a draft pick unless it's a combination of a 1st round pick and a player. And I would doubt that he would command that value in the trade market. With Zubrus in the fold, and Backstrom coming over next season (hopefully), the Caps have the makings of a potent second scoring line (Semin, Backstrom, Fehr), something this franchise has lacked since it's inception.

Capital Fanatic

http://www.capitalfanatic.com

Posted by: Capital Fanatic | February 6, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Many of us tire of seeing Zuby's patented carry-the-mail-behind-the-goal routine, and his incredibly poor timing on taking penalties. However, he busts his ass every night and the team likes him. It would be more of a detriment and divisive to team unity just to ship him off. Like many Caps, he is being asked to do more than what he is capable of -the short answer is he's doing pretty well.
Sign him - $2.5-2.75 MM per annum should do the trick.

Posted by: Shaggy | February 6, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

they can not let him go from a chemistry standpoint...hopefully this summer they sign a big time center (briere, drury)and let Zubie move to the wing to play opposite ovie or semin

Posted by: Mike P | February 6, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm almost positive that the second line will not be Semin - Backstrom - Fehr. Two rookies on the same line won't happen. Best case scenario is that Zuby moves to RW on the second line, and Ovie plays with a free agent center and Fehr up top, and the second line is Semin - Backstrom - Zubrus. Worst case is we have a second line that gets thrown to the wolves with two rookies and Semin who will occasioanlly float his way through a shift.

We need a good center acquisition. Dainius should be a RW anyway, I'm tired of watching the top line lose face off after face off, especially on the PP.

Posted by: Graham | February 6, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I think Zubrus is a typical Cap: works hard, tries hard, but infuriates the fans with his tendency to not convert excellent scoring chances. I love the guy, but I don't think he's worth 3.5 million per year. We can always get another Russian mentor for the Sashas.

www.hockeyamor.blogspot.com

Posted by: Hockey Amor | February 6, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

IMO, the caps should resign zubie as long as the terms are not outrageous. I'd also like to see him at RW. His defensive work as a center in his own zone seems to have worsened this year.

Posted by: usiel | February 6, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

He's an RFA right? Not a UFA?

Posted by: Tyler | February 6, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

bad move if they let him go or trade him. he is an important part of the team on and off the ice. he has speed and great moves and is still young. but he should be on the wing and not playing center. and it would send a bad message to the fans and the alex's. imho.

Posted by: rchckncoop | February 6, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Zubrus will be a UFA.

Posted by: Jay | February 6, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget that next year, the Caps are likely to have a potential first line center in Nick Bakstrom. If he is able to center Ovechkin and Clark, Zubrus on a second line with Semin and whomever would be a great one-two. Having Bakstrom on the PP would also help alot.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | February 6, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

4 years at 2.5 (on average).

Anything more on length or $$ is a non-starter.

Posted by: Caps Fan | February 6, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I'd go 4 yrs @2.25 per. Chemistry signing only. Best option is to sign Drury/Briere (what are those odds with the beef between he and Ovie), and put Backstrom on a top line, moving Zubrus to the wing. The dillema then, is Clark, Zubrus, Fehr. Which one do you put on a non-scoring line? Move Clark to a checking line with Sutherby and Pettinger? Ovie-Backstrom-Zubrus, Semin-Briere-Fehr?

Too many questions right now, but for the sake of keeping your best two players happy, re-sign him at all costs. The youngsters need that older brother type in the locker room.

If older players like Andreychuck can hang around into their 40's for chemistry reasons, why can't Zubrus?

Keep in mind a top 2 defensemen, and a top line center are on the wishlist and there is only so much money to go around.

Posted by: Jeremy | February 6, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It would be a massive mistake to deal him and to not get a deal done ASAP. Zubrus is a big reason Ovie has made such a quick transition and is the kind of player the fans take for granted. If he's gone, you'd notice the difference immediately--the decline in backchecking from the top lines, the lack of puck protection in the offensive zone, etc, etc. This is a guy who does it all for this team on the ice to go with his leadership off it. The Caps dealt a first rounder to get him and it would be moronic to let him go.

Posted by: JL | February 6, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What's the point in keeping him? I hope for his sake they trade him. Does this team have a clue? Did anyone else see Hanlon's comments regarding practicing shootouts in practice? How it's not the same as "playing in front of 17,000 people with a point on the line". First, the CAPS don't draw 17k at home. Second, you could make this stupid argument for practicing just about anything. Here's a tip Hanlon, NBA teams practice free throws for a reason!! With that multi-zillion dollar new facility over there maybe you can "simulate" a game environment, pipe in some noise and have a lot of purple spots representing the empty seats.....

Posted by: Disgruntled Fan | February 6, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey "disgruntled fan", relax. Don't know how long you have been a fan, but with the rant, it sounds like less than most Caps fans.

I like the idea of keeping Zubrus and Zednick for vet leadership and having two players with the letter "Z". Seriously though, if we bring in some talent in the off season (something we would not get in a trade for these two) and Backstrom is as good as they say, Zubrus and Zed make great 2nd or 3rd line players. They are just playing in situations that are too high on the depth chart for.

Posted by: CT Caps | February 6, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

We can always get another Russian mentor for the Sashas.

Zubrus is from Lithuania.

In terms of mentors who speak Russian, who would you get instead? Zubrus has been here in the NHL for just over ten years; though his production was never really worthy of a first-round pick, he has been an effective player since his escape from Philadelphia. Most of the former Soviet players from his draft era are either retired after putting up bigger numbers (Bure, Mogilny) or pouting messes (Yashin, Fedorov, Kasparaitis).

I realize this comment makes the case for keeping Zubrus for reasons other (or in spite of) his on-ice production, so if you are looking strictly at the numbers, you could almost flip a coin about whether or not to keep him.

Besides, if he leaves via free agency, I had the strange idea of him ending up in New Jersey.

Posted by: P-Mac | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Question for Tarik -- you see Zubrus every day, how healthy is the knee really and do you think that will limit his on-ice contributions for the rest of the season and possibly the future? He certainly hasn't looked like the same player since the surgery.

Posted by: DC Domer | February 6, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

There is more to a teammate than what he does on ice. He does a lot for team chemistry, getting players (and not just ones named Alex) psyched before a game, pumping them up, chatting them up. You need that type of leadership. Just look at the team that plays in PG county in the fall to see what happens when you have no leaders. The caps are doing as well as they have in SPITE of a lack of talent. Chemistry is carrying them so far.

Posted by: Lee | February 6, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Keep him, 2 year deal, with 2 year option, 1.9, with bonuses for goal, assist, playoff.

Posted by: Sparks | February 6, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I have been a CAPS fan since 1984. I am not one of these "fair weather'ites" that bolted when they traded Jagr, Lang, and Gonchar. I'm just tired of this team underachieving when other teams in our division like Tampa Bay, Carolina, and even now Atlanta are getting better when we are stagnant. There is no way we shouldn't have made the playoffs this year, and every time I read comments from both Hanlon and McPhee I know why.

Posted by: Disgruntled Fan | February 6, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

The type of knee surgery Zubrus had takes a long time to heal. He still ices it, and it's not 100 percent, but I don't think it's holding him back.

Posted by: Tarik | February 6, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Keep him, 2 year deal, with 2 year option, 1.9, with bonuses for goal, assist, playoff.

Sure, and that's probably what GMGM started with. No way in hell Zubie signs that deal. He'll get at least $2.5M guaranteed and he'll get 3 years. At this point, given all the intangibles, he's probably asking for 5 years at $4M per knowing that he'd take 4 years at $3M per once the negotiations get into the nitty gritty. Can they get him to take a 3 year deal with an option year? I don't know.

Posted by: Jay | February 6, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, I don't think you can underestimate the importance of leadership and chemistry with your young stars like Ovechkin and Semim.

Zubrus' value on the trade market is nowhere near what he actually contributes to this team so I just don't see him getting traded at the deadline and nor should he.

I think he should be resigned at a 3 to 4 yr deal.(The guy is only 28) As for salary, his production certainly has dropped from his torrid start at the beginning of the season. While I thought 4 million would have been appropriate if he kept up that pace, I think 3-3.5 million max per year is a little more on the mark.

Getting a 28 year old solid leader, who contributes offensively and defensively at 3 to 3.5 million a season is a pretty good deal in this market.

As for where he plays... he basically can play C/RW on either the first or second line. Finding a spot for him on either line should not be a problem. For prediction's sake just lets throw out this:

Ovechkin - Backstrom - Clark
Semin - Zubrus - Fehr
Pettinger - Gordon - Zednik
Brashear - Sutherby -Bradley/Laich

Posted by: C-A-P-S | February 6, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

> In terms of mentors who speak Russian, who would you get instead?

Samsonov is on waivers. ;)

Seriously, though, I wouldn't give Zubrus more than $2.75M / year for three years. He has been just as streaky as the rest of the club as equally as infuriating.

Considering that the Caps would be better off with more of a playmaker center, I don't think he's irreplaceable given their RWs. If he were to be dealt, I'd want a young, NHL-ready center in return that can be a playmaker for one of the Alexanders (think Wellwood-esque).

As for the comment about signing Zubrus to a contract with an option year and incentives, Zubrus wouldn't qualify for bonuses and the CBA has disallowed contracts with option years. The only contracts with option years are from before the newest CBA was agreed to.

Posted by: idl | February 6, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

4 yrs., $2.3-2.5 per. That's fair for someone who, in reality, is only a 50 pt. guy (at best) without Ovechkin. If (and that's a big "if") the Caps were to sign a true #1 center, then Fehr on the 1st line wing and Zubrus on the wing with the 2nd line of Semin-Backstrom makes sense. After all, Zubie's just a bigger, slightly more talented version of Clark (now that Zubie has learned how to play in his own zone), and that 2nd line would need someone who can play both ways. Put Clark back where he belongs, on the 3rd line with Sutherby and Pettinger, and give 4th line duties to Gordon-Laich-Brashear (I can do without Bradley and Clymer. Neither contributes much offensively and, as of late, even less defensively). Then all we'd have to worry about is who would play defense...

Posted by: Right Winger | February 6, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Resign Zubrus. Move him to right wing. Use the under-the-cap money to sign UFAs Pavel Datsyuk and Andrei Markov to deals that expire around the time the Sasha's become UFAs themselves. And tell everyone else to learn Russian.

The lines could be Ovechkin-Datsyuk-Zubrus, Semin-Backstrom-Fehr, Zednik-Gordon-Pettinger, Brashear-Sutherby-Clark; your defense becomes Markov-Eminger;Green-Pothier;Morrissonn-Jurcina/Schultz; the first power play line is Ovechkin-Datsyuk-Zubrus-Semin-Markov; the second is Backstrom-Fehr-Zednik-Clark-Green/Eminger; and if Backstrom is ready and adapts, the Sasha's take defensive responsibilities seriously, and Fehr and the young D mature, the Caps have a legitimate shot at being a playoff team. If nothing else, that team scores a few goals.

Both Zed and Zubie bring something to the table if they can be had for the right price. They also seem to bring an attitude to the clubhouse and to the ice that benefits the younger players.

If only it was this easy.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Fred, I agree. If only it were that easy!

Posted by: TG | February 6, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Zubrus remins me of Sergei Brylin of New Jersey, the only three-time cup winner still with the Devils. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done and can't be judged by his plus/minus. Zubrus is the type of player this team needs as a bridge while he younger players mature. Same with Zednik.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 6, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

He looks tired lately (just like the rest of the team). An example of that is his puck dump that Malkin intercepted and passed to Staal to score an empty netter, it was so was predictable.

Zubbie is a hard worker, his work ethic is incredible and it could be a good example for Semin.

He is not soft by any means, he can drop the gloves unlike many Euros. Put him on his natural RW position and he could excel even more.

I'd say keep him unless Pens offer Malkin for him. :-)

Posted by: alexovetjkin.blogspot.com | February 6, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I gotta agree with 4 years at 2.5
I could see having a club option for a 5th year at 3mil.
I know he wants to finish out in DC so I think the caps will have to give him at least a 4year deal to keep him, but with the new NHL I dont think anything more than 4 or 5 years is going to happen. As far as the money I think that 2.5 is a nice raise for him. If he wants more let him earn it in incentives.

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 6, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Given that Zubrus is his own agent, any contract speculation is entirely accademic until the season is wrapped up. I say keep him. He's worth far more as one of the longest-serving members of the team, and one of a very few completely fluent in Russian and English, than we would get back for him on the trade market.

I say in the neighborhood of 3 mil a year, give or take .25 depending on how they finish the current season.

Posted by: EricS | February 6, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

SIGN ZUBRUS! No Capital has been as good at winning battles on the wall in the offensive zone. Very few are as competitive on the boards winning stalemates as he is. I agree there may be better centers out there, and Backstrom may likely become one with several years of experience, but Zubrus is really the heart of this team. I fear when player's like Zuby go, Ovechkin will not be far behind. Zuby sets a great example and I hope GM GM knows how to put a price on the "other" contributions he makes that aren't tied to stats.

Posted by: Chris | February 6, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I think that Zubie would be going better if Ovie played better in his zone.
Ovie is always cheating towards the neutral zone leaving Clark and Zubrus the burden of defending. So when the pass comes out its to Ovie and he doesn't have time or space to carry or make a good pass because he always has a shadow now. I would like to see Zubrus or Clark getting the puck throught the neutral zone and Ovie coming in third.

Most of Ovie's goals have come as a result of traffic in front of the net and he seems to know where the puck is going to squirt out. But his line can't clog up the crease much less gain the zone because he is so heavily defended when he has the puck.

I would like to see a better "system" for Ovie and his line. Then I think Zubrus would be more effective. Think of how much greater Ovie would be if he played both ends of the ice like a Cam Neely.

Just a thought.

Posted by: clarendon | February 6, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Zuby has been one of my favorite players for a while now. A guy that does the little things right.

Now he is finally putting up the numbers that everybody hoped he would but we all know who is playing a big part of that.

Hopefully Zuby realizes he isnt a 70 point a season guy without Ovechkin and will sign a contract for somewhere around 2.5 for 3 years. I might settle for 3 mill a year.

Posted by: ComebackKono3 | February 6, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that this will be the most complicated, most soap-opera-like story to unfold with the Caps in the next few weeks . . .

Zubrus -- whatever his other qualities -- isn't a top-line center on a contending club (he isn't on this one in 2-3 years if Nicklas Backstrom develops any part of his potential), but he's going to expect to be paid like one.

The money might be better elsewhere (I think it almost certainly would be), but unless he ends up as a winger to Sidney Crosby or Joe Thornton, his career isn't likely to see better days. He and Chris Clark had career years last year scoring goals; Clark has already surpassed that this year, and Zubrus would do the same sometime next month.

Zubrus is probably at the peak of his trade value (plus-minus aside). The Caps might hold on, sign him to an extension, then repent next year.

Zubrus is "Backstrom insurance," if the kid either doesn't come over, is gently eased in, or gets off to a slow, rookie-like start. And, since the club will still have center issues (unless there is a deal this summer), keeping Zubrus has its charms . . . but for a 4-5 year deal?

If the Caps are out of contention in two weeks, and the sides are still very far apart, I think the club has to listen seriously to offers. Putting a value on him is hard, because he benefits from being matched with Ovechkin, but he also has the versatility to play other forward positions. I suspect his return would be a couple of picks (not a first, at least I'd be surprised if that came back).

Now, if the Caps are out of it, and the sides are in shouting distance of a deal? Well, that's why George McPhee is GM, and I'm writing a comment to this topic. It's not easy.

Posted by: The Peerless | February 6, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about the rest of yall, but Zubie is probably the hardest working Cap on the ice. AO wouldn't get near the amount of chances that he gets without Zubie coming back into the defensive zone(if he's good at it or not is up to you guys, I think he makes up for a lot of AO's shortcomings in that regard), and the fight along the boards. Clark might try just as hard, but isn't nearly as good at it or as skill away from the boards.

Posted by: Melonballer | February 6, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

until this team tanks our brilliant GM it won't matter... sign Zubie... it still won't get us to the playoffs... Hanlon well I won't even go there... best move the Caps could have made last off season was to sign Bondra... if for no other reason than to respect his contribution to the Caps when they were good and for the value of increased ticket sales and fan loyalty... Ted's 5 year plan is quiclky becoming a 10 year torture... but I still watch every game...

Posted by: SupraFan | February 6, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I'd say we keep Zubrus but move him back to wing because he's not that great a center.

Posted by: Zach | February 6, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

not signing zubrus would be like spitting in the face of every caps fan out there, and you can kiss ovie good bye too, once he realizes how little they care about their players and winning

Posted by: ovemin | February 7, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Since we have sooo many talented forwards, guys with skill and speed who can play effectively in the defensive zone, we should trade Zubris....NOT...Outside Ovey and Semin the skill level falls dramatically. Zuby is a good fit, he gets back to the defensive zone, is effective in the corners, skates well and has decent speed and hands, but he needs to win a few more faceoffs to become a complete center. He seems to be a good mentor for the 2 Alexs, and if he can be signed to 4 yr, $12 or so Million contract then GMGM sould go for it...

Posted by: genotype55 | February 7, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Sign him. 4 years, $3M per.

Given Kolzig's age, the window of opportunity is pretty short for this team. Varlamov may be great one day, but goalies usually take years to develop, and the kid is only 19.

Teams that compete for the cup don't just have superstars, they also have strong supporting casts. IMO the Caps are on their way to building that cast with players like Zednik, Zubrus, Pettinger and Clark. Any one of those guys can get hot at any given moment and steal a game/series in the playoffs, and that's crucial.

I expect this team to seriously compete by 08-09, but they can't do it if they let those cogs roll away. Besides, if they get Zuby for $3M per they can always trade him away to some desperate team at a future trade deadline. Just make sure the contract doesn't have a no trade clause...

Posted by: Devil Dancer | February 7, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

It is critical for the Caps to resign Zuburs more for what he brings off the ice than on the ice. If the Caps don't sign him this would be sending the wrong message to Ovechkin and Semin. I will be very disappointed if the Caps don't get him signed. If they can give Pothier a 4 year contract they can certainly give Zubrus a 4 year or even 5 year contract. He is only 28.

Posted by: 4capitals | February 7, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It won't send the wrong message to anyone if they take the money that they would pay Zubrus and put it towards signing a true #1 center.

Posted by: Gary | February 7, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

you mean someone like the #1 center they just drafted. he's part of the core team they say they are building. Not to mention he is one of the team captains and entering the prime of his career. assuming both sides are reasonable, this is just obvious. keep zubrus, period

Posted by: ovemin | February 7, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Sign him, but first sign a PROVEN 1st-line center. Then, as has been already said, put Z on the 2nd line RW, where he belongs.

Posted by: Caps fan in ID | February 7, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

There is no reason to get rid of talent and chemistry for the sake of a wish and a prayer. He'd make a great second line winger or can play center, but I like him best as a RW. Caps are thin on that side anyway. Regardless, the chemistry has to be replaced as well, you know? Easier said than done.

BUT he would be a great grab for any team making a serious playoff run. I think he adds depth. Thats why we should keep him. But we still need a top tier center for ovechkin. Uh, that said, Semin needs a solid center as well. Semin- Zubrus-Fehr might be interesting. Would it be enough? Fehr has already shown a penchant for big goals at the nhl level!

Zubrus seems like a stand up guy and I too could see him land in New Jersey.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 8, 2007 3:14 AM | Report abuse

First everyone assumes that Backstrom will be here next year. Bad assumption, he did not come this year because he likes playing where he is, he is a superstar at home, and he said he did not want to play for a losing team. Zubrus can't win a face off, is a defensive liability, turns the puck over in both ends of the ice, can't hit an empty net (scores if Ovie bounces the puck in off his big butt), and speaks Russian. So How is this worth 3 mil?? Sign him for 2 and keep him as a solid third line player after we get a real center and maybe talk Backstrom into coming over. Zubrus has always looked like a hockey player but never lived up to the potential.

Posted by: Bob | February 8, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

A month ago, Hanlon called him his favorite player, so unless the price is sky high, imo, they'll keep him.

Posted by: Karl | February 8, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Now, I know it may not be a popular decision, but the Board of Directors believes that Zubrus should be traded. It is the BOD's opinion that soft Euros have no place in hockey, and the quicker he stops infecting our team with his soft Euro virus the better. We need tough players with grit and more grit. We need hard hitting gritty players who play with grit.

Signed,
Caps BOD

Posted by: Caps Board of Directors | February 8, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

My answer is to be smart and keep our options open with regard to Zubrus.

If Backstrom is as good as advertised then we do not need Zubrus at a crazy price. Zubrus is a good guy and I would love to keep him but the goal of this organization SHOULD ALWAYS BE to win a cup.

Posted by: Virtual GM | February 8, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

3 point night and the gwg, yeah why not trade him who needs him, great idea, but i have a new one, how about we dont completely give up on the season, intersting thought i know but it just might work. Anyone that still thinks we need to trade zubie is just plain silly, and in my opinion, not a real caps fan.

Posted by: ovemin | February 9, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

the truth is that Zubrus is not a top line center on a contending team. The Caps have one of the weakest lineups down the center in the NHL and it (along with the lack of a veteran defense)is one of the main reasons the club is fighting to finish with a .500 record, despite 50 and 40 campaigns from Ovechkin & Semin and another outstanding year from Kolzig. Zubrus is worth a mid-tier contract because when this team is ready to contend he will be IMO a third line centerman.

Posted by: bulldog | February 9, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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