Monday, June 23, 2008

Anything But Free

With the Draft now in the books, the focus now turns to more immediate concerns. Free Agency has already have some players salivating at their calendars with a big circle around July 1st. For the Capitals, there are some pretty big holes that need to be filled, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some contracts signed this upcoming week.

The biggest contract that might give the Caps some fits would be the Mike Green signing. Already it sounds like there is a rift between GM George McPhee and Green's agent. Don Meehan called out GMGM publicly for "low-balling" Green on a new contract. McPhee responded by stating that the Caps would match any offer for Green if they stretched the talks to July 1st, which Meehan wants to do to test the market. Testy-testy.

Another big hole the Caps have would be in net. They seem to have burned the Olie Kolzig bridge and Cris Huet seems to make the most sense to hold onto. Especially after his fantastic play late in the season, where Huet help the Caps make the playoffs for the first time in 5 years with impressive numbers.

If Kolzig leaves and Huet finds better cash somewhere else, the Caps could be with out a number one goaltender. That could make for a rough season and the Caps can ill afford to take their foot off the pedal now. If they miss the playoffs next season, it could be huge step backward. I don't see this team making the post season with Brent Johnson and a rookie in net.

Others that need to be resigned in terms of unrestricted free agents include Sergei Fedorov and Matt Cooke. I find it unlikely that Cooke will be back next season, I figure he would like to test the market for something better.

Fedorov is still a question mark though. He would have to take a pretty extensive pay cut to stay here in DC, but his chemistry with both Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin at the World Championship could convince the talented Russian to stay. I wouldn't be surprised to see July 1st come and go, and training camp to come around before Fedorov does decide what he wants to do.

Other restricted free agents that are on the Caps' radar include Shaone Morrisonn, Boyd Gordon and Brooks Laich. The most important signing maybe keeping Morrisonn in the fold considering the chemistry he had with Mike Green. It may also depend on Mike Green being in a Caps' jersey come fall. Morrisonn had a solid year and like all the Caps' defensemen stayed pretty healthy all season long.

Gordon would be a good character sign, a strong defensive center and good in the face off circle. Laich is the only talent I could see moving on in this group to be honest. He has already gone to arbitration last summer, and he may want to test the market for his services come July 1st. With talent in the pipeline, would Laich's face be missed all that much?

While that is what the Caps' hand looks like, we have yet to hit what free agents are available elsewhere around the league. Do the Caps need another defenseman? Is there a talent out there that is looking at the Capitals as a team they want to be apart of? How about Sean Avery? I guess we could let the speculation and rumors overrun us until July 1st, when all our questions will be answered.

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