After a disappointing performance in Game 7 against the New York Rangers, the offseason for the Washington Capitals is, sadly, here till October. The Capitals have plenty to improve on in their roster situation in the upcoming Draft in June at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the upcoming Free Agent frenzy in July.
Here's where things get interesting for the Caps: Remember the offseason trade the Caps made where we gave away often injured goaltender Semyon Varlamov last summer? Well, the trade didn't make too many splashes then but it could be a huge difference maker for the Caps this offseason, especially as the Draft nears! In exchange for Semyon Varlamov, the Colorado Avalanche gave the Capitals their 2012 1st round pick (11th overall) and the option to grab a 2nd round pick in the 2012 or 2013 draft. Caps opted to take the 2013 2nd round pick as the Avalanche didn't struggle as much as we would have hoped this season.
General Manager George McPhee shocked and angered all Caps fans by not making one single move at the trade deadline when he had a team that was really struggling. At the time it seemed like he really messed up but in the end it was the right thing to do. Well played McPhee! Now the Caps have pieces to play with on the chess board this offseason to fix the biggest holes the team needs to get filled. Most notably, the Caps need to fill a major hole at the 2nd line center position. Who might the Caps sign in Free Agency to do that? How about Zach Parise, Brian Rolston, or even Jarret Stoll! Outside of Unrestricted Free Agency the Caps have the pieces to maybe make a big move at the Draft in Pittsburgh and cut a deal with the Penguins for, rumored to be on the move, Jordan Staal. The Capitals two 1st round picks could be in play this year as well as the 2013 2nd round pick from the Avalanche from the Varlamov trade last summer. Jordan Staal is good but realistically he isn't worth all that and the Caps will not offer all those picks for Staal. Why wont they? The Caps have the upper hand and can pass on Staal if the Pens want too much for him and work on signing Zac Parise. Parise will probably be a bit pricey, probably in the $5-$6.5 million per year range. The only way the Caps can afford Parise is if UFA Alexander Semin signs for less than his outrageous $6.7 million a year deal or we just let him go. Lets be honest, Semin is a good player but he is not worth $6.7 million a year. Every GM knows that and even though his huge ego thinks he can get that kind of money, a GM would be stupid to offer him that kind of money. The Caps will make an offer that is a bit less than last years deal and if he declines that and the other lower offers a few other teams might offer him, he'll be on his way to the KHL. To be honest, Semin will either be playing for the Caps next year, or in the KHL. I don't believe other GM's want to take a chance on him. As for the Caps others free agents, Vokoun will obviously not be back as the Caps finally have their man in net in Braden Holtby. Dennis Wideman may or may not be back as a Capital but he was not worth the $4.5 million we gave him this year. He better take a pay cut for his horrendous play in the 2012 playoffs or get out of town. McPhee would be stupid to resign him for that kind of money as there are others on the Free Agency market that are better defensemen and will cost less, like Johnny Oduya! Others might include, Matthew Carle, Brad Stuart, Filip Kuba and a guy I really like, Ryan Suter.
Mike Green is a Restricted Free Agent this summer and any offer that another team makes can be matched by the Capitals. I'm not a huge fan of Mike Green but I know the Capitals will do whatever it takes to keep him in a Caps uniform. I think that Caps should walk away from him if the price for him gets driven up too high because again, there are Unrestricted Free Agents that are better defensively then him (even though they aren't as good defensively. Mike Knuble is a UFA this summer and he will do whatever it takes to stay a Capital unless he decides to retire. He loves this team and the Caps need his leadership and experience. Jay Beagle and Perreault are RFA this summer as well and they will surely stay in Capitals uniforms as they are the type of players that go under the radar around the league but are crucial for the Caps. John Carlson has made a name for himself since enter the Caps lineup and as a RFA, he will surely stay a Capital. As for UFA and local man, Jeff Halpern, he's gone as the Caps probably wont attempt to resign him.
So, if the Caps get a cheaper Semin, or for that matter, pass up on him, they will be in play for signing Zach Parise in free agency or they could make a quick trade for Jordan Staal. Either one would do wonders for the Caps. The Goalie position is taken care of with Holtby. Semin should be resigned but for a big pay cut. Wideman should take a pay cut or let him walk and sign Oduya or Suter. Carlson, Green, Beagle, Perreault and Knuble (unless he retires) will all be back next season! Finally, the Caps need a new head coach and that man, in my mind, is Ron Wilson (again)!
Till Next Time,