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Question of the Day

Should the Caps trade veteran right wing Richard Zednik or keep him?

It's a decision the club must make between now and the Feb. 27 trade deadline. And from what I'm told, it's a decision the club is grappling with.

Since the 31-year-old returned to the lineup Thursday after missing 25 games with an abdominal injury--his second serious injury this season--he's been one of the team's best forwards, in my opinion.

I know his numbers aren't great. But he's fast. He's strong. He ventures into the corners. He generates scoring chances. He's rarely out of position. In other words, he's pretty much exactly what the rebuilding Caps need.

So what should they do? Trade him to a contender for a draft pick who won't be ready to contribute in Washington for three years? Or make every effort to bring him back?

He's in the final year of a contract that pays him about $1.976 million and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. It would seem to me that the Caps have all of the bargaining leverage.

What would you do? I'll admit that I'm torn on the issue.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 5, 2007; 10:04 AM ET
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Yesterday's game completely convinced me that we should keep him on-board and sign him again. He worked hard and understood where to go with the puck to create chances in a way many of the younger Caps haven't learned to yet. His dedicated work ethic and veteran instincts would serve the younger Caps well and I think trading him off for another prospect or picks would be a mistake. Especially if he is fitting in in the locker room.

Posted by: false_cause | February 5, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Im also torn on Zed. He has definatly been one of the better forwards since returning, but if we could pick up a d-man with good size and reliablity (ie no behind the back, no-look, outlet passes) than i woudl think we should take that.
Im not ready to completly give up on this season or Zed, Im still holding out some crazy hope that they will pull together.

Posted by: zjackson | February 5, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Keep him. His trade value will be minimal- what, a 2nd or 3rd round pick maybe, or a bubble defenseman? - and he does create at least some action out there - something the rest of the team is really struggling with now.

Posted by: katzistan | February 5, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The only reason I'd trade him would be as part of a package for a 2nd or 3rd defenseman. I think GMGM should try to sign him for two more years at 2.5 million.

Posted by: Hockey Amor | February 5, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Keep him. As others have noted, we won't get much for him and he adds speed, skill and energy to the lineup. He has always been a streaky scorer, and we will all fall in love with him all over again once the next streak gets underway.

Posted by: rocketman | February 5, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Why can't they trade him and re-sign him this offseason?

Posted by: TG | February 5, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Trade him if it's a good deal, otherwise keep him. That one goal he scored on breakaway against Canes was awesome. Canes couldn't recover after that.

Maybe rent him like Recci was rented?

Posted by: Alex Ovetjkin | February 5, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

On a team that is desperate for a veteran presence they have to make every opportunity to keep him. It sounds as though Zed likes the area and the team so if they make a reasonable offer he should re-sign. The only way you trade him is if somebody offers a young player who has tremendous upside and is ready to play in the NHL now. You don't just trade him for a draft pick, that's something this team doesn't need.

Capital Fanatic

Posted by: Capital Fanatic | February 5, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

keep him. but get a top 4 d man and a first or second center and this team goes deep in the playoffs, if we can get to the playoffs.

Posted by: rchckncoop | February 5, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

My only concern about keeping him is the space he takes for Zubrus (who should be on the RW, not C) and Fehr (who probably should be on the big club full time next year).

If he can be packaged with someone for a legit top two C or a top 4 D, then go for it.

I like what he brings, but if he can be part of a good return, then I would suppot that.

Otherwise, which line is he on next year?

Posted by: Caps Fan | February 5, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Keep him. He adds some much-needed excitement to the games and he has Hollywood Hair.

Posted by: OnIce | February 5, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure that it will come down to what anyone is willing to offer for him. If the Caps can get high enough pick for him, go for it; otherwise, bargain hard with him over the summer. Hopefully, both sides can be happy with a contract that's heavy on incentives in lieu of some of the guaranteed portion.

What I don't have any sense of are the intangibles: How much leadership does he bring to the team? Does the youth movement lead to a team that is all spirit but no steadiness? How much does having a lead by example type aid or hinder Hanlon? I suspect that some of that would benefit this team, but I don't know if Zednik right for such a role or if the powers that be percieve such a need.

Posted by: hsn | February 5, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Keep him! He has played well since coming back from injury and enjoys living in the DC area.

Posted by: zednik27 | February 5, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

They'll get barely anything for him, so why trade him? He could be a good second line winger for the club next year if they choose to resign him. They have enough prospects already. I don't think further demoralizing the players and the fanbase is a good idea.

Posted by: Ian | February 5, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Why not trade him and then try to re-sign him as a UFA, like the Pens did with Recchi and the Blues with Weight last season? You get something for him now, free up a roster spot to give a kid (or Clymer/Bradley) more playing time down the stretch, and then bring him back (if it's reasonable to do so) for next year. Win-win, no?

Posted by: J.P. | February 5, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

high risk, low return

Posted by: caphcky | February 5, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

A 31-year old missing 31 of 54 games to two injuries (wrist, groin) and who has seen production drop a bit since his high-water mark in Montreal in 2002-2003 raises some flags. I can't question his effort in the 23 games he's dressed. He's gotten his nose dirty and worked hard most every night.

But, even though the Caps are weaker on the right side than the left, they are going to have some competition on the right side coming through the pipeline. Eric Fehr has gotten time lately, and I would think the club will take a long look at him, if not for all of the remainder of this season, then certainly next fall with an eye toward his assuming some second line responsibilities.

I've been of a mind that the Caps need to add some veteran blood for next year; the timing now seems about right for it. Is Zednik that veteran? I'm not sure. He's got 43 games of playoff experience over five seasons of playoffs, but he's been a complementary player for most of his career. I would wonder if the club isn't looking for something more than that in adding a veteran for the next stage of the rebuild.

A month ago, I'd have considered it a betting certainty that Zednik would not be with the club next year. I still think he'll be moved in the end. But now I'm kind of torn over the idea -- he could be insurance for Fehr if the youngster doesn't progress as hoped, and he could provide some pop from the right side if he's healthy.

The worry in the back of my mind is the road already traveled here. Last year the Caps brought in a 29-year old left wing with some reputation as a goal scorer. He missed about 30 games with an abdominal injury and has only 5 goals in 95 games the last two years. I'm hoping Richard Zednik doesn't turn out to be next year's Jeff Friesen.

Posted by: The Peerless | February 5, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

If they get an attractive enough offer for him then yeah, I'd say tarde him for now and re-sign come July. I would hope they run any possible deals by him first, rather than just saying yes and wavign goodbye. I'm sure he would appreciate being kept in the loop about his future.

Posted by: EricS | February 5, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Feed him vitamins and keep him. When Zed puts on the wheels he is unstoppable. Why he doesn't turn on the jets more often is beyond me. He is exciting to watch in a team where they occasionally venture into the offensive zone.

Posted by: Alan | February 5, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Awwwww, Peerless said the "F" word!!

Posted by: alpca3877 | February 5, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

They need to wait till the deadline approachs, his value is bound to increase no matter what. If they still have a shot, which I am guessing not, then hold on to him, if its the latter then trade him for the best deal. The Caps can always try to resign him in the off season. More then likely any team going after Zed is just looking to rent him for a run. Similar to the Bondra move a couple years back with the Senators. The only risk is he could get injured, but if he stays healthy he should be well rested to help anyone for a long playoff run.

Posted by: Dodah | February 5, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps' desire to built through the draft/farm team has it half right. They need to infuse the roster with veterans that are leaders on and off the ice. They need cup winners to teach the puppies in the lineup how to win, ala NY Rangers' signingof Shanahan. Is Zednick that person? I think not. Realistically speaking, the playoffs are not in the cards this year. Trade Zed, and if you must, resign him as an UFA this summer.

Posted by: Genotype55 | February 5, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Since Zed won't bring much back in a trade, the Caps should probably keep him. It's not like the Caps need more prospects, we need more established players now. Plus, we need a decent second scoring line (a complaint often voiced by Caps fans in the past 35 years) since Hanlon likes to pair Ovie and Semin when we fall behind.

Posted by: tallbear | February 5, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

No one is going to be giving up good blueliners heading into a cup race for one Richard Zednik. But, it all depends on the return. Everything has a price. Caps are thin on the RW. After Zednik and Fehr, there is no skill. If they do trade him, they should replace him with a RW or there will always be this glaring deficiency. If teams only have to worry about one side of a line, it makes it a lot easier to defend against the caps.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 5, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

trading zednik, in the eyes of the fans, would be giving up on the year. It would also send the message that they are comfortable saying "next year" for the next 2-3 years or so. unacceptable.

Posted by: ovemin | February 5, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It depends on two things in my eyes.
1. How ready is Eric Fehr to play on the right side next year?
2. How good of an offer do we get for Zed? If we get a trade that surprises us in its quality, I say go for it and try to reacquire him in the offseason (like Recchi, as was previously mentioned, and Weight).

Posted by: FS | February 5, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Why trade him? He's a good player, hard worker, fun to watch, and what would the caps get for him anyway?

Posted by: Erol | February 5, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

If Zednik is resigned then it will all but signal GMGM and his terrible management team has admitted that the Fehr pick was a mistake(I wonder how Ryan Getzlaf is doing in Anaheim?).

If they sign him and pay him over $1 million to be a 4th line winger then they will admit that signing guys like Bradley and Clymer to long contracts was a mistake.

It doesn't appear they have a choice in the matter. McPhee is politically savvy and that is the only reason he has kept his job this long in the face of utter failure.

Posted by: Tinordi24 | February 5, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I'd shop him to gauge the market value and then make the decision.

If they can get a second-rounder, then pull the trigger. They'll need the roster spot once everyone else gets healthy anyway. He's returned from his injury playing well but let's be honest and agree that Zednik isn't a core guy.

If they really want to keep him in the fold next year then, as has been mentioned above, they can always sign him in the off-season.

The guy I'd like to hear more about viz-a-viz the trade deadline is Zubrus. Will he reach an agreement before the deadline or will he too possibly be shopped?

Posted by: idl | February 5, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse


Any word on why Brash was benched for the 3rd last night???

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 5, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Brash wasn't benched, according to Hanlon. He told me that he went to three lines because of the score.

kinda disappointing since simon clearly wanted a piece of Brash.

Posted by: Tarik | February 5, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Fehr is not a determining factor in whether or not to keep Zed. In the new NHL, the better teams have two top scoring lines, a checking line, and a fourth line that can be a scoring energy line. For proof, look no further than Zed who has been his most productive with the Caps this season on the so-called fourth line. In that setup, even assuming Clark stays on the first line next year and beyond - by no means a certainty - there is still room for both Fehr and Zed, particularly because injuries come to mind and Fehr may not be ready to be a full-time second line RW next season.

The real issues regarding whether to keep Zed are the following. First, do the Caps think Zed can stay relatively healthy next year and presumably the year after? He has missed substantial time to injury in recent seasons. Second, do the Caps think they can sign Zed to a two-year contract at reasonable value now in February. If Zed either intends to test the UFA waters or is sticking to inflated salary demands, then the answer is no and the Caps should look to trade him to the highest bidder five minutes before the trade deadline. In the summer Zed may find the UFA offers not all that appealing and sign with the Caps for the sort of numbers the Caps were interested in all along.

Posted by: Monty | February 5, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

If it can save me money to help me buy the Wizards, then I am all for moving any reasonably priced talent to a contender. I act like I care about the fans; but I really quit caring when my AOL stock took a dive.

Fire Pollin!

Posted by: Cheap Ted | February 5, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Look what happened the last time they traded him away - the team (which had been on a winning streak) completely collapsed. You have to keep him.

Posted by: Charlie | February 5, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The real question is health with regard to Zed. A lesser concern of me is where he might play if he's with the Caps next year..... even if he ends up on the 3rd or 4th line, he's probably better than some of the scrubs we've used in those roles over the past couple seasons (he can kill penalties, works hard in the corners, etc). Having a guy on the bottom 2 lines that can actually score a goal is NOT a bad thing. I'd rather see Zed out there than Clymer.

Posted by: SM | February 5, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

For me, it seems that Zed is pressing pretty hard since he came back. It seems like he is on an audition more then anything. He's a hard skater, guys seem to like him, but if you get something that makes sense, you got to take it. Speaking of second line, think that Backstrom is coming next year and how will he do?

Posted by: Melonballer | February 5, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Talk to me after the Saturday's game againts the Rangers. If the Caps somehow manage to win all of the next three games, they could be within striking distance of the 8th spot. If that's the case, Ted owes it to the players and the fans to do whatever he can to try to make the playoffs and that means keeping Zed. Signing him for next year is a different question. Frankly, how do you justify signing Zed at close to $2 million per year when Clark is making only $1.1?

Posted by: borr4 | February 5, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Zed has looked very good coming back from his injury but this caps teams, largely due to obvious lack of experience/talent on the D-side, is not going to make the playoffs. I would say they should trade him at the deadline to a contending team. I couldn't imagine Zed not wanting that. They could always resign him in the off season but that is a different discussion.

Posted by: usiel | February 5, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

A couple of questions need to be asked and answered prior to making this decision:

1. Does RZ want to re-sign here, and if so, how much is he expecting? It'd be a lot easier to pull the trigger on the deal if he doesn't, pull the trigger with Zed going to the highest bidder. If he does want to re-sign here, and at a rate comensurate with his production (1.5M/year or less), consider question 2 -

2. Does trading him to a contender at the deadline significantly decrease his likelihood of re-signing here?

3. At the time the deal is consumated, will the Caps have any realisitc chances of making the playoffs? If it were today, I'd say they don't. Not given who's currently in the top 8 spots, and who is between the Caps and the 8th spot. Currently, the Caps would have to jump over 3 other teams to unseat...Carolina... from the 8th spot? Not real likely. So that shouldn't be any real obstacle to dealing him.

4. What is being offered for him? a 2nd rounder? OK, I'd go with that, or even a third rounder, which is what they gave up to get him. Much lower than that, and I think you truly send the wrong message to RZ, and the other guys in the lockerroom.

5. Is there any commitment on the part of Caps management to infuse the roster with a higher-level of NHL talent next year - particularly, in the pivot and on the backline? If not, why keep Zed here? If so, he may be a guy you want to keep in the fold, or at least re-acquire in the off-season

Posted by: Steve | February 5, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik I REALLY apriciate your feedback on that, there has been some disscusion about this on the caps boards, and I was sure that you would know the deal. Yah, I was at the game and it seamed Simon wanted a piece of anyone who was willing. Guess the Caps just needed the win too much :) maybe next time.

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 5, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

> kinda disappointing since simon clearly wanted a piece of Brash.

I am glad it didn't happen. I love the fights, but it's not completely what hockey is about. Winning the game was more important than the winning the scrap. Seems like Hanlon is controlling the situation. Very good.

Posted by: | February 5, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

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