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Caps Still Talking To Erskine, Fleischmann and Klepis

The Caps are still talking to their only remaining RFAs -- John Erskine, Tomas Fleischmann and Jakub Klepis, I'm told. But there's not much to report, according to a club official.

I'm an impartial obersever here. But I can't help but wonder what the hold up is, considering none of the players would seem to have much leverage. Agree?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 1, 2007; 2:56 PM ET
 
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Comments

Agreed, with the exception of Erskine. THe defense was better when he played than when he was didn't. I could see a case for a little more money but then again why look a gift horse in the mouth. As for Flash and Klepis, please. Take what you can get. In Klepis' case, he's lucky they'll talk to him at all.

Posted by: 007 | August 1, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the hold up is that the three all want one way contracts and the Caps want to give them two ways deals. The players, especially Flash and Klepis, would be worried that if they get two way deals the Caps will stash them in Hershey and won't bring them up because if the numbers game calls for a demotion they are now subject to waivers during the season. My guess is that the discussions could be around the players asking for a higher salary if the deal is two way and willing to come down on salary for a one way.

Either way this is typical MO for GMGM, he's always drags RFA situations into August. Look for deals to happen anywhere from mid month to end of month. They'll get done before camp because, as you imply, the players need to get in camp and fight for spots.

Posted by: Jay | August 1, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

if i were flash or klepis, i'd recognize there was some chance for me to get scoring line minutes opposite either ovechkin or semin (depending on what happens with clark), and i'd sign whatever they put in front of me. erskine, i'm torn on. he played well, and within his limits, for a stretch, and he may be an ideal partner for eminger is he sticks around. but would his minutes be better given to a schultz or a green?

Posted by: pgreene | August 1, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, to Green

Posted by: Finn | August 1, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Just speculation, but

I agree with Jay's post that the likely hold-up is one-way vs two-way and if a two-way, the salary on the AHL side of the deal.

Re-entry waivers will be an issue if any of these 3 sign one-way deals or a two-way deal paying over a certain amount (100,000 this season) in the AHL. That is unless the rule has been changed again, but last I heard it was still in place.

IF they are on one way deals, don't make the NHL roster and clear waivers on the way down and are assigned to the AHL, they will have to clear re-entry waivers to return to the NHL with the 50/50 split on the way up if they are claimed. Based on my calcs, Erskine doesn't qualify for the minor league vet exemption, because between the Isles, Stars and Caps, he was on an NHL roster for more than 80 NHL games in the last 2 seasons.

Posted by: sk84fun | August 1, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Agreed regarding Erskine. He played very well last year(given his somewhat limited skills) and gave the club an element that it has not had on a consistent basis for some time: a legimate physical presence on the blue line who is reasonably solid in his own end, is a willing and capable fighter and makes life uncomfortable for opposing forwards in front of the caps' net. Eminger seemed to play better when paired with Erskine and remember that Green was run more than once last year. "New" NHL or not I think that teams still need more than one person to do the dirty work (see Anaheim). It isn't fair to Brash to ask him to do all of the heavy lifting especially at his age.

Posted by: DG | August 1, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe these guys aren't signed. I'd be playing Thomas w/ Poti, and then Erskine should be paired w/ Pothier. As far as "Flash" goes - well, his name is marketable, so I'd be putting him w/ Ovechkin and Backstrom. I'd call that line, Flash, Thunder & Lightning...and I'd package a three game pack around them on weekends w/ a bonus Slapshot Sundae.

Did I mention I'd bring Ciernek back into the mix as well and pair him w/ Semin & Clark?? We'd call that line....well, I can't say that here.

Posted by: Butch Cassidy | August 1, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I understand the one-way, two-way argument. but what did Erskine, Flash or Klepis do last year to earn one-way deals?


Posted by: Tarik | August 2, 2007 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Klepis steps up when its necessary. Things didn't fall into place much for him in Washington last year, but if you'd paid attention to him in Hershey, you'd understand why he'd hold out. The guy can generate so many chances, and he's working on finally being able to score on them.


In regular season he scored a hat trick after a 7 hour bus ride with no sleep the night before. In the playoffs against Hamilton (Montreal) Kelpis was the only one that found a way to score on the phenomenon that is 19 year old Carey Price (unless it was Kelpis assisting Flash).

I think after he proved that he can put an entire team on his shoulders and still put numbers on the board that he deserves to ask for a little more.

Flash also showed a lot of growth between 06 and 07. He can read the ice and knows how to anticipate plays. He puts his heart and soul into that game every night and I've never seen him "flat" just "off". There's a difference. Flat looks like you're not trying. Off looks like you're still busting your butt, things just aren't falling for you.

You learn a lot loving and following a developmental team...

Posted by: Sally | August 2, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Erskine is our George the animal Steele; every team needs one to scare opponents and to serve as a bodyguard for our more timid players. I feel that when Erskine was promoted from Hershey that our team changed. Our players grew ***** and played like men for the first time, at that point already way into the season. We were the last team to accumulate a fighting major = softest biggest pushover team in the league. Erskine skated into town and that changed overnight. Eminger thrived, Brashear remembered his role, opponents and fans alike took note of the toothless wild haired enforcer. SIGN HIM MCPHEE.

Posted by: Vince McMahon | August 2, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

That's nice, but so far all Klepis has shown is that he's a tweener. Too good for the AHL, not good enough for the NHL. The Caps have too many of those types already.

Posted by: tallbear | August 2, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the defense, for example Eminger, played better when Erskine was on the same line as him.

At the same time, I'm tired of talking about the business behind hockey. LETS PLAY HOCKEY!!!

Posted by: Todd | August 2, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Anyone think these three guys are trade bait?

Posted by: phibar | August 2, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"I understand the one-way, two-way argument. but what did Erskine, Flash or Klepis do last year to earn one-way deals?"

Sure, that's the question anyone would be asking. And those three have no answer for it, although people could argue maybe that Erskine has a better case. But wouldn't they start the negotiations asking for a one way? I sure would.

If you go back and look at McPhee's tenure as Caps GM, he has a long history of not even starting negotiations with RFAs until August. Part of the reason for this is he senses no rush as they're his property (and no one is signing these guys to an offer sheet). The other part of the reason is he likes to let his roster shake out, see what's doing in the July development camp, see how arbitration cases go, evaluate if there are going to be players available last minute that are of interest (i.e. if someone walks away from an arbitration award) etc.

I would be willing to bet that prior to last week McPhee and the agents for these guys haven't done a heck of a lot more than exchange first proposals and had some small talk discussion. Now that we're moving into August, arbitrations are shaking out etc. they'll move discussions forward. They'll get the deals in the latter half of the month and I don't see it being that big a deal really.

Posted by: Jay | August 2, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Trade bait? I don't know. Flash and Klepis' value is a lot lower now than it was before the 06-07 season. At this point I would be inclinded to keep them here, since the Caps probably can't get anything significant for them. Might as well ride it out!

Posted by: DD | August 2, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

off topic, but just saw that Ken Klee went to the Thrashers.

Posted by: bill dorgeloh | August 2, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

off topic, but just saw that Robert Lang went to the Blackhawks

Posted by: other guy | August 2, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I think they are all holding out hope that Burke will match edmonton's offer sheet so that lowe offers them one!

:sarcasm:

Posted by: Mike | August 2, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

erskine knows he'll probably be down here in Hershey if he signs. Kleps as well. Flash i have no idea what the holdup is.

Posted by: dan nelson | August 2, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The caps had a swagger with big erskine in the mix. After he was hurt they fell apart.Flash has alot of potential.They need to compromise for a year.If he proves he can finnish at the NHL level then reward him.J Klep needs to take what he can get.

Posted by: BpuckingS | August 2, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Just because someone is willing to fight doesn't make them a good hockey player. Erskine isn't that great of a defenseman. If he were, he never would have escaped Dallas or the Islanders. I saw he get beat far too often last year by speed, quickness, and finesse. He's not that good.

It also amazes me how some can construct an opinion of a 22 year old player seeing him play 20 to 30 games at about 5 to 8 minutes a game. Klepis is a good hockey player, and the playoff run in Hershey last year demonstrated that.

Thanks Tarik. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Steve | August 3, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Just because someone is willing to fight doesn't make them a good hockey player. Erskine isn't that great of a defenseman. If he were, he never would have escaped Dallas or the Islanders. I saw he get beat far too often last year by speed, quickness, and finesse. He's not that good.

It also amazes me how some can construct an opinion of a 22 year old player seeing him play 20 to 30 games at about 5 to 8 minutes a game. Klepis is a good hockey player, and the playoff run in Hershey last year demonstrated that.

Thanks Tarik. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Steve | August 3, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

klepis is a big puss, he wont cut it

Posted by: Anonymous | August 3, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Fleischmann and Klepis and will play in Europe if they don't get the contract they want. I don't think Fleischmann has gotten real opportunities at the NHL level. He doesn't belong on the fourth line.

Posted by: atomic | August 11, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

What's the deal on Erksine? We are foolish to let him go as he is one of the few vets that we have on the blueline that can mentor AND protect our soft players. Eminger is useless without an Erskine type. Erskine sent notice to other teams that we are a team to be reconned with. Without JE in the lineup early last year, we were the softest team in the NHL that i have ever seen in 30 years. Soft = WEAK and BORING to watch.

Posted by: KMan | August 25, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I guess someone with the CAPS read my last post??? ITS ABOUT TIME.

Posted by: KMan | August 27, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

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