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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Agents (Editorial)

                                                   Written by Netty, March 23rd, 2010

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Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz (Photo from Yahoo)

The Capitals have a large number of players becoming either restricted or unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2009-2010 season.

The following players will be free agents following this season:
- Nicklas Backstrom
- Eric Fehr
- Tomas Fleischmann
- Jeff Schultz
- Milan Jurcina
- Jose Theodore
- Brendan Morrison
- Scott Walker
- Eric Belanger
- Boyd Gordon
- Quintin Laing
- Shaone Morrisonn
- Joe Corvo

Here who the Caps already have on contract for next year then (organized by forwards/defensemen/goalies for your convenience)

FORWARDS
- Alexander Ovechkin
- Alexander Semin
- Mike Knuble
- Brooks Laich
- Jason Chimera
- Matt Bradley
- David Steckel
DEFENSEMEN
- Mike Green
- Tom Poti
- John Erskine
- John Carlson
- Tyler Sloan
GOALIES
- Jose Theodore
- Semyon Varlamov

Now, here’s the current Capitals line combinations (I think):

FORWARD LINE 1
- Ovechkin
- Backstrom
- Knuble
FORWARD LINE 2
- Semin
- Morrison
- Laich
FORWARD LINE 3
- Chimera
- Belanger
- Fleischmann
FORWARD LINE 4
- Walker
- Steckel
- Gordon / Bradley / Laing
DEFENSE PAIRING 1
- Green
- Schultz
DEFENSE PAIRING 2
- Poti
- Corvo
DEFENSE PAIRING 3
- Morrisonn
- Carlson
EXTRA DEFENSEMEN
- Sloan
- Jurcina
- Erskine

Plus, there are some prospects that are waiting down in Hershey

- Chris Bourque (Forward, Left Wing)
- Karl Alzner (Defenseman)
- Mattieu Perreault (Forward, Center)
- etc, etc.

So….. here’s who I’d keep and why, and who’d I’d drop and why:

KEEP
- Nicklas Backstrom; he’s pretty much Ovechkin’s only center, they play great together, and he’s among the top forwards in almost every category. And he’s only 21. Do I need to go on?
- Eric Fehr; can score with almost no time on ice, probably not very expensive, and he’s also pretty young.
- Tomas Fleischmann; another pretty young scorer, also a Czech Olympian. Keep, but not as big of a contract as Semin or Backstrom will get. Otherwise, out!
- Jeff Schultz; a solid defenseman, young, and the top defenseman in +/-. He’s young, so he’ll only get better.
- Brendan Morrison & Eric Belanger; keep at least one of these centers, unless you can drop both, call up a prospect from Hershey, and grab Patrick Marleau; he’s a free agent after this season.

DROP
- Scott Walker; he’s a rental, and we already have Knuble. I’m thinking he's not getting resigned.
- Joe Corvo; a veteran defenseman, I’m actually not sure on Corvo; but I’d drop him in a heartbeat if Nicklas Lidstrom, another free agent after this year, could be had for a low price.
- Boyd Gordon & Quintin Laing; we have forward prospects in Hershey that’d do great on the fourth line.

UNDECIDED
- Jose Theodore; I actually want to keep him, but the price is too much. I’m thinking drop, only because the salary cap won’t allow for his contract to fit.
- Milan Jurcina & Shaone Morrisonn; I’m not terribly knowledgeable about these two, but I think they could effectively be replaced with prospects and free agents.

Finally, to finish things off, some interesting names in the free agents market this summer…

FORWARDS
- Patrick Marleau (C); he’ll undoubtedly be too expensive, but, for the right price…. yes please!
- Saku Koivu (C); again, too expensive to be a second line forward, I think; but boy, would he be an amazing pick up to center Laich and Semin!
- Ilya Kovalchuk (LW); at least as good as Semin, but, too expensive. I can dream, right?
- Teemu Selanne (RW); the greatest Finnish NHL player, but, maybe a bit to old. I’d love to have him though.
DEFENSEMEN
- Nicklas Lidstrom (D); another great player, old, but maybe he’d have one year left. Expensive, though!
- Scott Niedermayer (D); see above.
- Paul Martin (D); he was injured for most of the year, but he would have been a USA Olympic defenseman. Expensive, again, but only 28.
- Brian Pothier (D); hey, we got Milan Jurcina back!
GOALIES
- Evgeni Nabokov (G); great goalie; yes. Clutch goalie; not in your wildest dreams.
- Antero Niittymaki (G); I’m thinking that he wouldn’t take a $600,000 contract like he did from Tampa Bay, but if we could get him for that price, I’m all for a 1-year contract for Niittymaki.

Anyway, post your thoughts in the comments! Thanks!

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