There is a good chance the NHL will lower the salary cap for teams in '09 - '10 season. For those teams up against the ceiling it will be tough to put a competitive team on the ice for the campaign. The Capitals are one of those teams that are up against that level. But there will be some reprieve for them if Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov make the move across the pond.
That also leaves room for younger (and cheaper) talent a chance to crack the lineup. The newbies would have to replace 24 goals and 50 assists. That is the total offense of both Kozlov and Fedorov in regular season play. And the Caps do have some talent that could help in that regard.
Oskar Osala is one of those players that had a good year in the AHL. Osala, 6'4" 220 lbs., is a big kid that uses his size well. He was good for 23 goals and 14 assists in regular season play. His entry contract is a tad cheaper than the paychecks for Fedorov, but he still has to prove he is NHL material.
Another young prospect that could help replace the two Russians is Chris Bourque. Bourque had 21 goals and 52 assists for the regular season in Hershey, and like Osala saw some time up with the Capitals. Bourque has tried to break the line up for now four seasons and time is a factor for him (if his size isn't a hinderence already). But he has been a producer in the playoffs for the the Bears. In the post season he has accumulated only 4 goals, but has 14 assists.
There are others that can come in and make some noise if the Capitals chose to resign them. Alex Giroux is a UFA in the off season, but was Hershey's top scorer with 60 goals and 37 assists. He had his chances with the Capitals but only scored one goal and one assist in 12 games when called up to the big club.
Keith Aucoin has a year left on his contract and came in second in the scoring race behind Giroux. He mounted 25 goals and 71 assists and also saw some time with the Capitals. Aucoin is an energy guy who played well when he was called up.
The Caps will bring a few new faces into the fold for training camp in Anton Gustafsson and Jake Hauswirth. This will be the first time we will see Gustafsson at Capitals training camp since he was drafted by the Capitals a year ago. Hauswirth had a good rookie camp last year.