Thursday, June 21, 2007

What do the Caps really need?

The Washington Capitals will once again stand to gain big in this years NHL Draft which kicks off tomorrow with a party at Kettler, and a reveal of the new jerseys for the next season. But while most Caps fans will be entertained by former Caps (Mike Gartner will make an appearance) and flashy new threads, the fact remains, this is a team that needs a lot of help.

Some have said that the Caps need some d-men, others said they need a playmaker center. But what the Caps may need most is goaltending. Nicklas Backstrom will definitely improve the offense (which the Caps are pretty loaded up on right now), and there is still talk of landing a big name free agent (but McPhee won't be using draft picks for any trades as he told reporters on XM Radio that it's not smart to do so after the Philly/Nash trade). What the Caps may draft is a solid Goaltender, and that would make the most sense.

The Caps are loaded on prospective D-men, adding another that may waste away in the minors will be a ... er, well, a waste. Prospect forwards are starting to cram the starting lineup in Hershey and in DC. What's left? A veteran goaltender whose clock is running out and a back up goaltender that has not had a winning record since leaving St. Louis for Phoenix. The Caps are hurting in the goaltending column.

If Olaf Kolzig gets hurt again, it could be a career ending injury. That is scarier than finishing another season with 70 points. It's likely that Brent Johnson will take over the starting reigns, but his record is not a shining one: 16 wins, 33 losses over three seasons. Not a something to write home about. Johnson is a capable back up, not a starting goaltender in the NHL. The Caps have really no one in the tube after Johnson.

Fredric Cassivi's contract is not with the Capitals, it's with the Hershey Bears. And at 32 years old, he is not the future. Another prospect looks like he will be staying in the Russian league and the rest are as obscure as the Democratic presidential hopefuls after Obama, Clinton and Edwards. Picking a goaltender may not be a bad idea for the Capitals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Both Varlamov and Neuvirth, drafted last year, are going to be great goaltenders. And Max. D, in hershey now, will probably evolve into the backup role with the big club in a year or two.

Granted, Varlamov and Neuvirth are years away, and that leaves a gap from kolzig to them, but drafting another goaltender (in a weak draft for goalies) isn't going to fill that hole. They'll do it with trades once they know when olie wants to go (could be 3 more years).