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Newsday: Yashin Can't Talk To Other Teams Yet

By now you've probably heard that the Islanders have bought out the remaining four years on Alexei Yashin's contract, thus making the Russian center a free agent.

But his agent, Mark Gandler, can't talk to other teams yet, according to Jim Baumbach of

Gandler wouldn't say whether any team has reached out to him yet, however, he said he can't speak to teams until the Islanders give him a letter formally stating their intentions. No doubt there are hundreds of Islanders fans who'd personally deliver that letter to Gandler's Franklin Lakes office. "What's he going to do now?" Gandler asked. "He's going to play hockey, that's what he's going to do."

Read the whole thing here.

Yashin, when motivated, can still be one of the game's best centers. The Caps need a first line center.

So here is the question of the day: Should General Manager George McPhee dial up Gandler? One thing we already know is that GMGM is familiar with the agent, who is also Alexander Semin's representative.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 6, 2007; 12:36 PM ET
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Key questions: Would Yashin be a negative influence on the already mercurial A. Semin? Does AO want him here? (Presumably.) Would/Should the Caps give Yashin more than a two-year deal? I think 2/$6M would be acceptable.

(Aside: AO-Yashin-CC... uh, two guys on that line are *not* known for their defensive prowess....)

Posted by: TLGDC | June 6, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Very tempting assuming the right price, but even at the right price, I think he's a wild card at best as far as team chemistry is concerned. On the flip side, playing with more talented ruskies might help his attitude.

Posted by: Marks4Java | June 6, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

No. Way. The last thing a young team that's build a solid chemistry base needs is a temperamental primadonna, even if he does have amazing skills. Yashin's game is great when he wants to play and is given star treatment, but he also has no problem disappearing completely when he's not happy. Not a value we want to impart on a young and impressionable group of players.

Posted by: Derek | June 6, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"The last thing a young team that's build a solid chemistry base needs is a temperamental primadonna, even if he does have amazing skills. Yashin's game is great when he wants to play and is given star treatment, but he also has no problem disappearing completely when he's not happy."

Sounds way too much like Jagr part deux.. NO!

Posted by: Dave in DC | June 6, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Let's see... Lazy, check. Bad locker room guy, check. Hurt a lot, check. Wildly overrated, even in his prime, check.

Yep, he's a McPhee guy alright. He'll be a Capital by the weekend.

Posted by: zamboni | June 6, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Zamboni -- how do you really feel?

Posted by: Tarik | June 6, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

No no no no no no no. Yashin is not what this team needs. Please no.

Posted by: katzistan | June 6, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

If not Yashin for cheap (less then $3 mil and no more then 2/3 years), then who should the caps get? Cause you know GMGM wont blow the bank and compete for Gomez or Drury.

He is a center. We do need a center. And if we trade, we all know GMGM will give up WAY too much for a top line center.


Posted by: Go Skins Go | June 6, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I think signing him to a 1 year deal might be OK. Obviously it could backfire, and if it does we won't be a playoff team and come the trading deadline you dump him for a 2nd round pick (or whatever). I'd much rather have Nylander but Yashin is going to cost less (one would think) than Nylander, and may only get 1 year offers. Plus, with OV and Semin on the team, he's got his Russian country-men to (in theory) keep him happy.

All things being equal, there are a lot of other guys who would be better fits on this team, but that doesn't mean they will want to play here.

At least Yashin has the SKILL to be a good centerman for OV.

Posted by: Jeff | June 6, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Man, that's a tough one. The guy has skill, but you can't help but question his motivation and temperament. The scary part of this equation is that GMGM is able to acquire Yahsin cheaply (because of NYI's buyout) and gives up on any attempts to acquire a true first line center with character.

Dating back to his salary tantrum while with Ottawa, you certainly wouldn't list Yashin as a character guy who plays for the love of the game.

Posted by: Blueline | June 6, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree 110% with blueline's comment. I don't mind signing him to a 2 year deal for about 2-3 million a season with clauses. But in NO WAY, can we just stop there and say "Ok, we don't need to keep looking for another solid center." That just cannot happen. Period.

Posted by: blankn1612 | June 6, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

If he can come somewhat cheap and we can net other good people because of this, why not? Who wouldn't be excited to play with Alex Ovechkin? Ovie brings the best out of other players. And we need a right wing and good defenseman too right? This could make sense, maybe.

Semin is pretty lazy, and he had - other than the fight with Muir and the multiple benchings - a pretty good year. Motivating him doesn't seem to be that big of a problem, and I'm pretty sure he's more of a basketcase than Yashin is.

Your thoughts on that Tarik?

Posted by: Ian | June 6, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Aging NY centers:
Nylander > Yashin

Posted by: slappy | June 6, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Too much risk for the capitals here. If they were an older team with a lot of veteran leadership I could maybe see the gamble.

Posted by: usiel | June 6, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

sign him as the right wing on the first line and go after, gomez first, then drury, nylander, comrie, or backstrom as #1 center

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Not worth it my estimation. Aging center with issues. Read some of the low-lights as reported in wikipedia:

In 1998 Yashin had promised to give a million dollars to the National Arts Centre, the Centre's largest ever donation.[6] When the NAC learned that one of the conditions of this donation was for them to pay Yashin's parents $425,000 in consulting fees for "loosely defined" services, they balked and Yashin cancelled the deal.[7] The failed arrangement served to further damage Yashin's already strained relationship with the public in Ottawa.

On draft day, 2001, Yashin was sent to the New York Islanders for defenceman Zdeno Chara, forward Bill Muckalt and the second overall draft selection, which the Senators used to draft highly-touted centerman Jason Spezza.[8] The Islanders signed Yashin to an enormous 10-year, $87.5 million USD contract. Although his contract was reduced 24 percent due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2005, Yashin is widely considered overpaid and virtually untradeable

Since joining the Islanders, Yashin's point production has declined. While he helped his new team make the playoffs for the first time in eight years in 2001-02, the Islanders have been unable to advance beyond the first round.

The following years, his mediocre point production led people both inside and outside the Islanders organization to question his effort and salary.

* A common defense of Yashin's decreased offensive output had been the lack of a legitimate first line winger to play with him. Satan and Yashin showed signs of chemistry early in the season, but generally produced disappointing results. When Satan was moved off Yashin's line, his offensive output increased markedly. After the season ended with the Islanders out of the playoffs for the first time since his arrival, Yashin acknowledged that he needed to score more. After the' season ended, there had been speculation that the Islanders would buy out his contract and rebuild in a different image, but the team decided to retain him.

Say NO to Yashin... not another Yagr please!!!!

Posted by: Caps Fan | June 6, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I see Semin mentioned here so I beg you again, Tarik: I need to know what makes this kid tick/not tick. I want to know about where he came from. His family. etc etc. Please please!

Posted by: On Ice | June 6, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, no room at the inn. We're all stocked up on Russian Alex-s. And we're still paying for one malcontent. One would hope the Caps would have learned their lesson.

Posted by: maruk | June 6, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"One thing we already know is that GMGM is familiar with the agent, who is also Alexander Semin's representative."

Yeah, and he sued him.

Posted by: norske | June 6, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If we can sign him cheap and short and management is prepared to cut him loose at a financial loss if he begins to poison the locker room atmosphere, sure. I must emphasize that all those conditions are required IMO, otherwise I say hell no.

Posted by: false_cause | June 6, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I would rather we resign Zubrus than sign Yashin. While Zubrus would be better on RW if the choice was between Zubrus playing center and signing Yashin I would rather the former.

Posted by: 4capitals | June 6, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mac | June 6, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mac | June 6, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone go for Yashin before Drury/Briere sign? Anyway, the only way the Caps should even look at Yashin is with an incentive-laden contract, but they should really pass.

Posted by: Scott | June 6, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Any chance they can make a play for Ryan Smyth? He is locker room gold, and a true hockey player... Beyond that, do anything you can to get Chris Drury. He can turn the team around w/ leadership alone. Did anyone read that Sports Illustrated article?

Posted by: Caps Fan | June 6, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh, hell no!

Posted by: M | June 6, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

It would take a really cheap or incentive laden contract like you've never seen before to make that really worth while. The business with the NAC is beyond unseemly. It's more like money laundering. Zuby would be a far better match for the team if we could get a real center to pair him up with.

Posted by: EricS | June 6, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Yashin isn't eligible for an incentive laden contract.

Posted by: norske | June 6, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I think the reason anyone (including myself) would argue to bring Yashin to DC is because some of us are of the opinion that the Caps aren't going to sign one of the top guys (Briere, Drury, etc).

Personally, I don't think the Caps should spend 6-7 mil to get one of those guys. I'd rather spend that money on 2 or 3 guys...and if Yashin is one of those and comes cheap, I'm on-board for that.

Posted by: Jeff | June 6, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Karen | June 6, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

If the Islanders really had to "buy out" the rest of that 80-whatever million dollar deal, then Alexi's pretty much set for life.

And that's despite the fact that the guy has not been a "top" NHL player for several years now.

The next step for any sane human being, would be to rebuild the reputation. Not a lot of sane human beings in the NHL, but If Yashin wants to do the right thing, Washington could be the place. I think he actually played a little bit on a line with Ovechkin at the Olympics.

Let's review:
1) He's set for life financially
2) He hasn't scored more than 70 points since 2001

I'd give him a two-year deal worth no more than four million dollars. He's worth a gamble at that low price. And if he doesn't want it, let him go screw up somebody else's team.


Posted by: Oneal | June 7, 2007 1:47 AM | Report abuse

For under $3.5M, I'd bring him in.

I think the current "Tier I" free agent centers like Drury/Briere/Gomez will cost way too much, especially for the Caps, or they will not consider Wash. at all.

Compared with the "Tier II" guys like Nylander/Lang/Stumpel, I'd take Yashin.

Basically, I'd prefer $3.2M for Yashin and another $3.2M for Zubrus to something like $6.5M for Briere. And I also think that Ovechkin could be a great fit on a line with two powerful and skilled guys, as per last Olympics:


Looks like a playoff-worthy top-6 to me, with plenty of money left for a top D.

Posted by: Vlad | June 7, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I've always felt that Yashin was over-rated, and he never seems to improve the teams that he goes to. However, his yearly numbers are worth looking at.

But judging from what I hear in the press about the Caps say in the locker room, they say they want a leader when things get tough. Yashin is certainly not that. Yes he's a skilled center that could fit on a line with AO or Semin. But he's not going to improve his numbers, and he's not going to be a good role model for any young players. I think the Jagr comparison is appropriate.

My answer is NO. I hope that GMGM agrees and passes on Yashin.

Posted by: Randy | June 7, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely NOT!!!!!! This would be yet another stupid thing. Please don't let this happen!

Posted by: Susanne | June 7, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather see Drury or Gomez, but based on the fact that the entire NHL will be after them, Yashin might be the next best thing.

I would probably take him at 2 years/5-6 million.

Posted by: Murshawursha | June 7, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Stay away from both Gandler and Yashin and you'll sleep well.

Posted by: alexovetjkin | June 7, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Not at any price. One of the Caps' strong points is the team chemistry, and Yashin has poisoned every lockeroom he has played in. That just spells disaster to me.

Also, word is that Smyth had something to do about Yashin being kicked off the Islander squad:

Posted by: exwhaler | June 7, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

No. Yashin's bad habits are the opposite of what this team needs. We need a captain-caliber player at first line center. Drury or Gomez being the best fits.

If that can't happen I'd take back Nylander or Lang for certain and in that order.

If and only if we can't get anyone else, I'd take Yashin over playing Steckel on the first line, for example, if it's fairly cheap and only 1-2 year contract. Even then I'm not certain.

Posted by: Shmoo | June 7, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I have never really been a Yashin fan (ok - well maybe when he was first with the Sens). I am trying to put my negative thoughts aside and look at it from a different perspective. The center that the caps will be looking to buy is someone who can play on the top line with Ovie. If Ovie and Yashin have a good relationship (which i think they do) it may just work. Ovie's the one playing with him. Secondly, if we could (and should) get him for much cheaper than a gomez or briere then that will leave the caps with more money to focus on defense. Pick up a SOLID d or two, possibly another winger. The caps would be in good shape.

I still don't like the guy, but if it were to happen there are some positives that could come out of it.

Posted by: cs | June 8, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Yashin is really a tempting option, but the Caps should resist it. The Caps need veteran leadership and skill and while Yashin has skill, he's no leader. He pouts with the very best of the all-time pouters, when he's unhappy and he completely shuts his game down and takes teams with him. He's the wrong guy for this lockerroom.

Posted by: NHL Observer | June 8, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

YASHIN..? >>>>NO!!!!!
If any team should have learned there lesson about a plan like that I would think it's the Caps. As for Smyth, no matter what you offered him there is 0% chance he would go to the Caps. that being said there is alot of talk up here (canada) that the caps are choking down on there salary and not signing anyone positioning themeselves for a move. Throw OV a bone!

Posted by: LUKY13 | June 9, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe some of you would want him. Are your expectations THAT low?

Posted by: capmaster | June 10, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

This is from Sunday's Boston Globe...

The Islanders said last week that they'll finally part ways with the underperforming, undermotivated Alexei Yashin, whom they hailed as the franchise savior in June 2001 in the disastrous deal that sent Bill Muckalt, Zdeno Chara, and ultimately Jason Spezza to the Senators.
Yashin, 33, had four years left on his deal, worth some $25 million. To dump him, the Isles will have to pay him $2.2 million a year for the next eight years, all of it easily digestible under a salary cap that will be dialed in around $49 million for 2007-08 and likely will be $60 million or more by 2014-15.
Now what for Yashin? Washington, in need of a setup man for Alexander Ovechkin, is a potential landing spot, if he cared to try to recoup some of the $8 million he'll forfeit via the buyout. Both the Thrashers and Kings could use help in the middle, too.
Yashin's skill base remains solid enough to help a lot of teams, but his application and attention have been an issue, dating back to even his best days in Ottawa. Sounds as if it's time to put his feet up, without the nuisance of attending morning skates.

We'll see..


Posted by: Oneal | June 10, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Hockey Amor | June 13, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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