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McPhee: 'Ideally, You Want to Avoid Free Agents'

Hello everyone. I'm back (but only briefly) after taking a few days off to decompress following a long season. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for my annual trip to cover the Indianapolis 500, but before I do, I wanted to leave you with a few Caps notes:

Not Much Interest
I'm hearing the Caps might not have that much interest in Florida free agent-to-be Jay Bouwmeester, after all. GM George McPhee inquired about the shutdown defenseman at the trade deadline, but Bouwmeester doesn't appear to be one of the Caps' primary targets this summer. That would be in line with McPhee's current philosophy regarding high-priced free agents.

"Can we address what we might need to address through a trade? Maybe," he said recently. "Ideally, you want to avoid free agents because they're always more expensive and longer-term than you want. You're better off looking for the bargains. I would prefer making a trade or something like that rather than signing a free agent."

Evason to Return
Dean Evason re-signed midway through the season, I'm told, so he's expected to remain as one of Bruce Boudreau's assistants next season (and beyond). I'm unclear on the status of Jay Leach, who heads up the D-men, and the Caps do not comment on coach/management contracts. When asked about the status of his assistants on Breakdown Day, Boudreau would only say that everyone, including himself, would be evaluated in the coming days and weeks. Boudreau inherited both Evason and Leach from Glen Hanlon's staff.

Nylander Buyout Details
McPhee said on Breakdown Day that he "doesn't think" he's going to buy out the remaining $8.5 million on Michael Nylander's contract because it does not make financial sense. I'm hearing that the structure of Nylander's contract makes the buyout figure (and cap hit) for 2009-10 significantly higher than the $1.42 million amount that's been previously mentioned. So that's one more thing management must mull when deciding what to do with No. 92.

No Surgery for Green
McPhee also said on Breakdown Day that Mike Green was going to undergo some tests to determine the extent of the damage to his shoulder. He confirmed today that Green won't need surgery.

Summer Schedule
Here are some of the key dates I'll be keeping an eye on this summer:

June 18 -- Awards Show in Las Vegas. How much hardware will Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green bring back? How much sleep will I manage to squeeze into the span of 48 hours? I'm betting on two and a half.
June 26-27 -- Entry Draft in Montreal. The Caps' first pick will be 24th (in front of San Jose, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Carolina, Pittsburgh.)
July 1 -- First day of free agency. McPhee has already said he doesn't expect to be a big player this summer. Instead, he and capologist Don Fishman might begin putting more effort into making certain the Caps retain their own talent, with Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin heading the list. Both forwards become RFAs after next season and discussions on an extension can begin on this date. Remember, McPhee laid the groundwork for Ovechkin's extension in Paris the summer before the star winger was scheduled to become an RFA.
"Is it best to do long-term [extensions] now or wait a year to see what we think the cap will be?" said McPhee, referring to a possible drop in the cap because of the poor economy. "We'll see."
July 5 -- Deadline for player-elected salary arbitration. These Caps are eligible: Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina. The one to watch is Morrisonn. As I've mentioned before, the 26-year-old defenseman asked for $3 million last summer and was awarded $1.975 million. If he is awarded significantly more than that this summer, the Caps may walk away.
July 12-18 --Tentative dates for development camp at KCI. This could be off by a day, so stay tuned.
July 20-Aug.4 -- Arbitration hearings in Toronto. (I'll be on the beach, but I'll have a Blackberry by my side.)
Aug. 6 -- Deadline for arbitration decision to be rendered.

Well, that's it for now. I'm off to Indy. Talk to you when I get back.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 20, 2009; 3:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

Repost from the last post:

Here's a list of FA defenseman, along with anything else you would like for the upcoming season, thanks to nhlnumbers.com

But it seems GMGM doesn't want to go this route....

Posted by: DaleHunter | May 20, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see GMGM not going to mortgage the farm for a High Priced Free Agent.

Posted by: hbcapsfan | May 20, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

(previous thred) richmondphil

I completely agree: "...it's not just a free agent market or the trades that could magically improve Capitals, it's also the things to ponder for Boudreau....the time, the new defensive system needs to be installed..."

It is a systems problem, and not an individual problem. The series against the Pens (and now watching Carolina against them) really exposed fundamental problems. For a team as talented as the Caps to allow as many odd man rushes and turnovers as they do is a very serious problem. It's like competing in a race of abled-bodied athletes with one leg. Whatever gain is made offensively is completely countered by huge defensive and offensive breakdowns.

I love BB's aggressive, offensive-minded style and I do not for a minute believe that it is incompatible with good defense. It's not either or. It is obvious that there has to be adjustments in the fundamental system. What do you know of Boudreau's ability to adapt from his Hershey years? Obviously he knows how to raise a team's level and take them all the way. Hopefully he will know what to adjust when.

Posted by: caraveli | May 20, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

In a mock draft from NHL.com, Jordan Caron falls to the Caps at 24. Sounds like a nice defensively aware forward who can score a bit. Has had some injury problems though.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=422333

Posted by: Moose33 | May 20, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see GMGM not going to mortgage the farm for a High Priced Free Agent.

Posted by: hbcapsfan | May 20, 2009 3:21 PM |

You aren't mortgaging anything by signing a Free Agent. Your statement applies to trades, not free agent signings.

I would rather see trades as well, like GMGM says, just because we have a lot of contracts already. But, testing the FA waters isn't a bad alternative, and whether we sign them or trade for them I want to see a more cogent blue line.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I think you need to look at anyway possible to improve your team. Trades, drafting and FA's.

Posted by: JSchon | May 20, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

every time McPhee says "bargain", I twitch.

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Milan Jurcina and the Caps coem to good arbitration terms. He has shown that he is worth every dollar and then twice what Shultz or Morrisonn get.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | May 20, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Given that the Caps defensive game proved to be their undoing, I've got a feeling that Jay Leach may be on his way out. Are the defensive shortcomings due to personnel or tactics (coaching)?

Posted by: Blueline | May 20, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Anyone think the Caps could get a 3rd rounder for Morrisonn? I know Nylander and Theodore have zero value, but after McPhee got a 1st for Eminger and a 3rd last year, I think he could get something for ShaMo.

Posted by: theskinnypost | May 20, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the great coverage this season, Tarik. Enjoy the 500!

Posted by: beeman | May 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Agree with carveli's post about there being a systems problem on the defensive end as evidenced by the numerous odd man rushes. Pittsburgh has a couple of less than fast defenseman (Gil, Scuderi), but rarely were they caught in odd man rushes or had any significant trouble breaking out of their own end. We had similar problems at times vs. NY as well.

Defensive responsiblity has not been instilled in most of the younger defensemen as was evident with Green. Except for Poti and Erskine, our defense tends to often be out of position or vulnerable to TO's. Some of that can be corrected with coaching. I can see Alzner making the leap next year and hope that Schultz is gone. We still will need another rugged stay at home defender to clear the crease and let our goals see the puck.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

caraveli, I don't it would take all that much to improve the system. "Make sure the puck will get out before you rush up ice" and "when the penalty is about to expire, get back" would improve the defense a lot IMHO.

Posted by: koalatek | May 20, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

When is the new cap announced?

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 20, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

well if we do this off season what we did last offseason and at this years trade deadline...which was exactly NOTHING...then we are going to have the same problems next year that we had this year...No Defense...No Team Defense...no puck responsiblity...and a team that cannot play "playoff hockey" nor compete in the post season...

and its just going to be tough to watch and ultimately disappointing like it was this season and has been every season since the 70s...we will never get over the hump if we dont evolve into a complete team...

using our best player as an example...
OV needs to learn to play team defense and a little dump and chase and stand in front of the net once and a while...he doesnt need to change the way he plays...he just needs to enhance and diversify his game...and the team needs to follow suit...

defense leads to offense...just ask the pesky pens...

Posted by: deadskin | May 20, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

A great economist once said, "There's no such thing as a 'free' agent."

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 20, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Morrisonn should be allowed to walk.

That $2M can be better spent when coupled with the monies saved on the expiration of the Kozlov, Brashear, Johnson and Fedorov deals.

I agree that with Backstrom and Semin coming up in 2011 the Caps should not be major players in free agency.

But I think the club needs to make at least ONE major offseason acquisition either via FA or trade for a veteran defenseman who can anchor the blueline in the postseason.

Green is a talented player, perhaps as offensively talented from the blueline as anyone since Paul Coffey.

But he is not a defensive anchor in his own end and does not play the style that will allow the Caps to advance with him as the linchpin back there.

He needs a partner on defense that is as much a defensive defenseman as Green is an offensive threat.

Posted by: leopard09 | May 20, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The problem is Jay Leach. There is nothing wrong with our defensemen (though I sure wouldn't complain if we got a good one). They are talented and athletic and there is no reason they shouldn't be able to be coached into playing better defense. Bring up Alzner and Beasley. I for one would like to see Brashear back, but i think at this point in his carreer he has to take the Russian money and run. I love Kozlov but I think he is getting much bigger offers from Russia than we are willing to match so you can't blame him. Federov will be back at a discount to make one more run, and I would love to see Johnson here instead of Theodore but that is probably just wishful thinking unless the Caps pay part of his contract. I have no problem letting Morrison and Jurcina go. I think you have to keep Fehr and Gordon. I know I am in the minority, but does anyone else think Clark is that good? He is the captain for his leadership I guess, but has he played 20 games the last two years combined? Mike Green will come back strong if he can stay out of Archbalds and The Camelot, or at least just don't let them move in with him, geez.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | May 20, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Ideally, you want to avoid free agents because they're always more expensive and longer-term than you want." see nylander,micheal

trades are good, as long as they include the name theodore...

can someone explain the nylander cap issue. this is strange because i thought the whole concept of signing him was that he would retire after a few years and the deal was structure to make that cap friendly...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | May 20, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@ dbrine1261:

Who is Beasley?

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | May 20, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"McPhee: 'Ideally, You Want to Avoid Free Agents'"

Dan Snyder's head just exploded.

Posted by: smutsboy | May 20, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have an opinion on Karl Alzner? He was supposed to come in and be a star defenseman.

Posted by: nativedc | May 20, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Brash & Fedsback. And they both want to be back. Brash prefers Caps to Russia.

Posted by: capsfan01 | May 20, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"McPhee: 'Ideally, You Want to Avoid Free Agents'"

Dan Snyder's head just exploded.

Posted by: smutsboy | May 20, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse


Hooray!

Posted by: LA_caps_fan | May 20, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Is there something that will make Vinny Cerrato's head explode?

Posted by: Moose33 | May 20, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

There are 3 potential defensemen in Hershey or via the previous drafts, Alzner, Carlson and Finley from North Dakota. Finley is supposed to like to hit and is 6'7". Maybe and only maybe as we have not seen a lot of him here, Finley could be the trumper needed on defense. Those 3 alone give the Caps options on who to sign, who to sign and trade and who to just let go.

Posted by: RichC3 | May 20, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Is there something that will make Vinny Cerrato's head explode?

Posted by: Moose33 | May 20, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

No need with Snyder's head exploded. The puppet is useless without the puppet master.

Posted by: swags | May 20, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

people hype finley but when he's been evaluated, he doesn't look nhl ready yet.

Posted by: am_jim | May 20, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Finley? supposed to like to hit? Finley once attacked the Wisconsin Badger mascot. he is a mean SOB and if he gets a little better at his mobility, he will be the punisher we need for the slot.

Posted by: DER27 | May 20, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The fact McPhee said the Caps are not interested in Bouwmeester means the Caps are probably going to make a major run at him.

Posted by: cplcespod | May 20, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Tarik deserves a pay raise and extension!

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | May 20, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

"Bring up Alzner and Beasley. I for one would like to see Brashear back, but i think at this point in his carreer he has to take the Russian money and run. I love Kozlov but I think he is getting much bigger offers from Russia than we are willing to match so you can't blame him."

In his interview posted on On Frozen Blog today, Kozlov said he would take a reduced contract to be with the Caps, though that might not last 'til the end of his career, which I understand. Like he mentions, an athlete's career is short so he really has to look at those offers from Russia. Personally I think he wants to play here next year but if it doesn't work out, reduced contract and all, he will just go to Russia. I know that if I had the chance, I would try to stay with the Caps, especially if I was a vet that hasn't won a Stanley Cup - the Caps are contenders at least and I'm sure he knows this and that's part of the reason he wants to be here.

Here is a link to the interview:

http://onfrozenblog.com/2009/05/20/kozlov-on-capitals-a-great-spirit-of-friendship.html


Posted by: capsfantess | May 20, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

"It may sound banal, but Pittsburgh is a very good team. They don't have any weak spots. Their forwards are good, as well as their defense and their goalie. The duo of Malkin and Crosby... You understand that it is not easy to deal with them. But there are also Staal, Guerin, Kunitz." - Kolov, from On Frozen Blog

Two of those guys were "suckers bets", right?

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Remember those Nyles rumors that had us getting Byfuglien back from the Hawks.

Im not sure how much truth there really was to those rumors but that would have been a nice trade. Byfuglien is the perfect type of player, one who will just stand in front of the net.

I know we dont have the money, but the Wild's Gaborik I believe is a UFA and I dont think the Wild are going to retain him. Boy would a Ovie-Backy-Gaborik line be sweet.

Posted by: digster1013 | May 20, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Not Gaborik. He brings new meaning to "walking injury." Never mind that he's never been the most popular guy in the locker room. And he's going to want boatloads of cash. No, Gaborik is a bad investment from the Capitals standpoint.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 20, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I know he is injury prone, but he had surgery this past season and even returned late to put up impressive numbers.

He has always tried to avoid surgery and just rehab but he always just reaggravated his injuries and finally took the smart route.

I agree about the money issure, thats why I said before we probably wont have the money anyways.

Posted by: digster1013 | May 20, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

The problem is Jay Leach.

Gee, none of our players showed up for the game 7 that I attended. That's Jay Leach's fault?


There is nothing wrong with our defensemen (though I sure wouldn't complain if we got a good one). They are talented and athletic and there is no reason they shouldn't be able to be coached into playing better defense.

We have too many one-way players and offenceive defenceman. They lack the physical tools to play the body for extended periods of time.

You cannot coach a poodle into a pit bull.

Posted by: btcg | May 20, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure we have 'bargain' defensemen.

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Please get rid of Morrison.

He is not worth re-signing for 1.5+ when we can just call up Alzner/Carlson/Lepisto/Sloan.

He just always seems like he is overmatched on the ice.

Green-Alzner
Poti-Erskine
Juice-Pothier?

I'd like to see one of Carlson/Lepisto/Sloan instead of pothier but I would understand if they want to hold off on Carlson. But he is going to be good.

Posted by: digster1013 | May 20, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Alzner is not a top-2 d man, and we are kidding ourselves if we are relying on him.

As I have already preached, our defense men are too slow. They cannot break out fast enough. Malkin and Fedotenko said so themselves. Even Green, with all his skill, is pretty slow (and im not talking about his skating). They need too much time to make a decision other d men can make a lot quicker. You can teach them to be quicker, but you cannot teach them to be smarter or more "cerebral". That rests with the player.

The thought of a healthy Gaborik to complement Ovie's wing makes me twitch. Too bad it will never happen.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 20, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

What about Komisarek, boys and girls?

btcg:
You've clearly never owned a poodle ... ;-)


Posted by: --Boo-- | May 20, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. Dan Snyder has beaten free agency to death, but it does serve a purpose.

We need a high-profile, highly talented d-man to lead our corp.

We need to upgrade our D. We need to fork over some cash and land a monster who can eat up ice time and kill people.

I'm sorry, but the fact that he said this is discouraging..........

Posted by: CF11555 | May 20, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik for bragging about your multiple vacations. First Indy, then the beach.

Isn't Gaborik supposed to make 10 Mil?

I would like to see one of those "under the radar" moves, like trading Shultz for someone like Cam Barker or Brent Seabrook

Posted by: Osfan092589 | May 20, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

CF11555

Two years ago at the trade deadline he also said he didn't expect to do much, the next day, three trades, actually four, I believe the 4th brought Giroux back from ATL. So you can't listen to the man.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | May 20, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Alzner would be paired with Green, doesnt necessarily mean hes a number 2 D-man. That would still be Poti.

And no way would you get Barker or Seabrook for Schultz. As nice as that sounds, you would need to add something else.

Boy are the Hawks stacked for the future. It would be nice if the Caps could snag one of Havlat or Byfuglien

Posted by: digster1013 | May 20, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I have news for you, we do not have a #2 defensemen.

Mike Green is clearly our PP QB and minutes hog and our #1. After that we have a bunch of #4's and #5 and #6's.

Alzner will be our #2 eventually, unlike richmondphil, I think Alzner is by far more skilled for getting pucks out of our zone than the meatheads we have manning the blueline right now.

Posted by: JSchon | May 20, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you can throw Alzner out with Green next year, though, and expect him to perform up to expectations in the vast (70+) majority of games for a couple of reasons. First, its exceptionally rare for someone to be very sound at the position at a young age (and if the Caps blue line is anything, its young and unsound). Green is quite the exception to this, but in some ways his offensive output hides the maturing he still needs to do at D. Which brings us to point two, which is there is no way on god's beautiful sheet of ice that I'm putting a relatively untested semi-rookie who hit a serious wall on his one tour of duty in '08-'09 on the same line was Mike "I'm actually a 4th forward!" Green (and I say this as someone who will defend Green's D skills until I'm blue in the face).

I think Alzner would be well served playing less minutes against slightly easier competition playing with, say, Juice. Doesn't have to be Juice, but I'm not sure Alzner is ready for the expectations, the minutes, or the level of competition of a first-pairing D-man. Let the kid mature and learn the game, don't feed him to the sharks.

Just my two cents, not that I'm a hockey GM.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 20, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Alzner was drafted to be atop d-man. Of course, that means nothing since not all first rounders turn out to be what they were projected to be when they were 18 years old.

Regardless, we are expecting way too much if we expect all our green blueliners to contribute so young. Oduya, a 7th round Washington pick, came together at 26. You can't just throw out guys before they develop. Expecting guys like Green, Schultz and Alzner, Carlson, even Jurcina etc, to perform like established vets is unrealistic. Its going to hurt the team. Especially when you dont pony up and get a fierce blueliner to mentor these kids, like an Ohlund or Komisarik.

The blueline has been a mess since GM took over. The old guys, like Calle and Reekie, even Klee and Witt (some will say Tinordi), were never replaced at all and what we have now is McPhee's idea of 'bargain' defensemen. Since we're STILL talking about the blueline, 5 years later, maybe the bargain idea, along with waivers, is a mistake and the Caps should shed some pounds up front and shore up the back line. "bargain" coming from McPhee's mouth makes me say "uh-oh, here we go again."

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

redbirdie, saw your post after i wrote mine; we're on the same page.

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious to see what a healthy Poti and Pothier could do for the team, both in terms of their experience and mentoring that kiddie korps of a blue line (sexy lumberjack excluded). I've given up hope of Poti returning to offensive dynamo form. But then again, who am I kidding? Hoping that both of those guys play 75 games next season is probably akin to hoping the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus play me a visit. Which, really, is a shame, because I think the lack of experience is one of the things that has really hurt the team.

I mean, there were nights where 27 year old rookie Tyler Sloan was the oldest guy on the blue line, and Morrison's the guy with the most NHL games under his belt. That, to me, screams guys learning my running across hot coals (and maybe hopping through a burning hoop or six...), not learning the game and the position with the benefit of some strong veteran leadership. Even then, Poti and Pothier are both fairly young. They both just turned 32.

(in checking those ages, I noticed that Fedorov is nineteen years older than some of his teammates! And the much-discussed John Carlson? Yeah, born the same year Feds defected. Un-freaking-believable)

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 20, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

someone want to tell me how this isn't, I dunno, perhaps a penalty or somesuch?

http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0905/nhl.most.rugged.players/images/brooks-orpik.jpg

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 21, 2009 12:50 AM | Report abuse

someone want to tell me how this isn't, I dunno, perhaps a penalty or somesuch?

http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0905/nhl.most.rugged.players/images/brooks-orpik.jpg

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 21, 2009 12:50 AM

He was just checking his skate size.

Posted by: oo7 | May 21, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1

I'm calling shananagins on this one (unless there's some bonus's or whatever on Nyls contract). The CBA reads that if a team were to buy out a player the cap hit is 1/2 of the remaining money owed over twice the remaining term. So since we owe him 8.5M 1/2 of that is 4.1. He has 2yrs left on the contract so it's 4.1M hit over 4yrs (twice the term) which is just above 1M per year. Like I said I think the #'s GMGM and Tarik are stating are bogus unless there are some incentives or whatever built into the contract. Maybe GMGM will buy him out after next year as the hit then would be 750k for 2 yrs. That mathematically doesn't make much sense since you'd pay him 5.5M this year alone. Unless there's something I'm not seeing the hit is 1M and at that price Nyls needs to go like yesterday. It would only free up 4M in our payroll this coming year, we could use that.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | May 21, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

according to nhlnumbers.com, Nylander's contract is structured at 5.5m for 09-10, and 3m for 10-11. not sure how that affects buyouts and such.

Interesting, Semin will make 5m next year. So I'm not sure how much of a "hefty raise" he'll really be looking for. Certainly some, but not going from around 2m to, say, 7m that I somehow thought it might be (given the doom and gloom some were forcasting when it comes to his payraise). To put that $5 million paycheck in perspective, Only Nylander and Ovie will make more than that next year, with green making the same amount. Nicky, however? Due for some major cash.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 21, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

schultz is terrible!!!!

Posted by: nwilson2 | May 21, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter how much Semin USED to make. It's based on performance. Semin and his agent will go the caps with comparable player's contracts and go from there(like all players do).

He is a point a game player.... I can't envision LESS than 6 mil but i really think he can get 7. He certainly has the case for it when looking at the contracts of other point-a-game players..

Posted by: hardyboys0 | May 21, 2009 2:51 AM | Report abuse

hey, redbirdie, i'm with you on that pic! thanks for sticking up for semin too! he clearly has very few friends on this board. too many "experts" who know everything, and too few fans who just enjoy the game, imo.

Posted by: spinner-33 | May 21, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for extending Backstrom and Semin. But look what McPhee said - based on the economy, maybe the cap goes flat or even drops. You certainly don't want to overpay. The two players are different cases. Backstrom, once his current deal ends, has four more years until he reaches UFA status. With Semin, it's only one add'l year. Any offer Backstrom gets, Caps can match. Semin, though, could do like Bouwmeester and go for a one-year arbitration for 2010-11, thus ensuring himself UFA on July 1, 2011. With no compensation (draft picks), he'd be more likely at that point to get a better deal (somewhere around $7M is the breaking pt from 2 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd to then 4 1st round picks. It isn't settled yet for next year, much less two yrs from now).

Anyway, with Semin being older, it is more imperative perhaps that he be taken care of first. Once you get past July 1, 2010, it's purely in his hands to either go for an offer sheet for long term or for arbitration with the Caps for his last year before UFA.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 21, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

@spinner-33: Expect me to have a Semin jersey wherever he plays! =) Though how I'd balance that with being a Capitals fan, I'm not sure. I'll figure it out if he ever leaves. Hope he doesn't 'cause man, those jerseys are expensive. =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 21, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Morrisson hasn't played well enough to earn more than what he's making now. They need to find a way to drop Nylander. A buyout may be a bit of a hit but unless they can find someone who wants to trade for him that's the best option.

Posted by: Stu_c | May 21, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It's great to read all the possibilities being discussed and most of them could make sense for the team. The Caps can't retool their entire d-corps in one off season so I would think at least 4 guys will be back, Green, of course, Poti, Pothier are my guesses at sure things I imagine Juice and Erskine are likely to come out of camp. Morrisonn could be there too depending on the outcome of arbitration. So Alzner and the Bears will have to really impress to make the team. I think Schultz will be in camp but has a really good chance of just not making the team. I liked Shcultz when he came up but he hasn't progressed much and while he is still young and can learn the theory of playing d in the nhl I don't think he can skate well enough and he is beyond the age where you want to be teaching a guy how to skate.

Semin will be interesting after next year as I think the KHL may be a real option for him. They will throw a ton of money at him, so they can get a Russian star in the prime of his career not after he is done in the nhl and he doesn't seem to love it over here.

As much as we would all love to see a net crashing forward I think the d has to be the first priority. When the Caps win they create chances from the transition game and they often happen as odd man rushes so the guy in the crease isn't as important. The big issue they ran into was that the d was turning the puck back over (or not getting it at all) before the transition could begin and then they were left with the forwards rushing up ice and the puck in their own zone. The Caps have to get a d unit that can get the puck and move it up ice and whether that is with different players or different coaches is up to GMGM.

Posted by: ds_kelly | May 21, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

thats always been gmgm's problem,he's always looking for a bargain and never wants to pay for what they need.well you know what they say,"you get what you pay for".stop bein a penny pincher and pay for what we need!

Posted by: gratefuldid | May 21, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

lol, the perennial bargain hunter. He'd rather overpay a bit for a mediocre player (Poti, Pothier) than pay big bucks to a really good player.

newsflash to mcphee - you won't find a "bargain" player out there thats any real quality who has a chance to really improve our team. We're a decent enought team right now, no "bargain" player will be an upgrade on what we currently have. If you're content to just be in the mix instead of as a real cup contender then keep doin whatcha doin!

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 21, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

It's about time that people started looking at GMGM and what would he do if he didn't get Ovie. He has drafted poorly, made bad free agent signings, and can't keep the good players that he has had thru the years. He is up against the max on the salary cap and has no wiggle room. That's why we did not get anyone at the trading deadline, not because he couldn't get a bargain.

Ted needs to wise up to all the excuses from the last several years, stop cuddling up to the players, lay down the law and get some "character" players in the room.

Posted by: CB28031 | May 21, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

@leftie - me too! =)

Posted by: spinner-33 | May 21, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

This is Ted's team. Like it or leave it, he will build the team the way he wants to. He is good to his players and has shown us fans that he wants to give us an exciting brand of hockey. On top of the, he is extremely giving to the community. It's his baby and should not be judged. Don't like it? Buy your own team.

Posted by: gonchpup | May 22, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I too am a fan of Semin. Yes he was a disappointment after his sizzling start, but I still think he has alot of upside. One of the hard part about talking about improving defense is evaluating who is good. There aren't that many stats you can look at.

Tarik. During the summer maybe you could have a once a week (same day) report, rather than just random. If I know you are posting every wed. or instance I'll make a point of checking in. Additional breaking news of course goes in as appropriate.

Posted by: rjma1 | May 22, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Lets add as many Penguins as we can and then we will start winning games not named Southeast Division battles or Rd 2 Playoff games.

Give Pittsburgh credit where its due. They earned that series and are proving it against Car.

Posted by: laker2313 | May 23, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Semin for Johan Franzen, how about it?

LOL sorry, a wishful thinking.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Is'nt it nice to sit here and talk about CAPS hockey,what the CAPS should do or what they should'nt.Everyone should just sit back,relax and just enjoy the season past.i'm sure Ted and the "gang",have a plan. just sit back and watch it unfold. then everyone can start #itching again.

Posted by: just_call_me_shell | May 24, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

From the way some posters are calling GMGM "stingy" and saying he needs to go out and throw big bucks at an FA signing, it's apparent that those folks don't understand what the salary cap is or how it works, or both.

Moving on... "Alzner is not a top-2 d man, and we are kidding ourselves if we are relying on him."
Maybe Alzner is not a top-2 d man -today- but he has the potential to be. As others have said, he needs a strong mentor, as do most of the other youngins on the Caps blueline, but currently the Caps lack such a mentor. Poti and Pothier are not that mentor, as they are both offensively minded d men and what the bulk of the Caps current crop of young d men need is a mentor who can teach them the defensive side of the position because that is what that mentor excels at. IMHO, of course.

Posted by: Hordedog | May 24, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hordedog,

stop thinking like a defeatist, I'm sick of people like you who keep saying we can't do this or that because of the salary cap. That is just an EXCUSE!!!

I'm not saying they should go out and sign some high priced free agents ignoring the salary cap. All salary caps do is keep an even playing field which I'm in favor of. When you have young stars like OV, Backstrom, Semin and Green, the Caps are in better position than 90 percent of the teams in the NHL. They do NOT need to go sign a high priced FA. All they have to do is find a few players who can fill the obvious holes on the team. And let go of the role players already on the team who can't do the job.

Posted by: joek443 | May 24, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

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