As much as the fans and the management would have liked to see both return, it could be a blessing in disguise for the Capitals. Both Russians' contracts pulled heavily on the Caps purse strings to steer clear of the salary cap. Now this frees space for the Caps to sign some key players whose contracts are up or up shortly.
Namely Nick Backstrom and Michal Neuvirth. Both will be entering their last season under their entry-level contracts for the '09-'10 season. Backstrom is definitely a talent the Capitals wish to keep, while Neuvirth is progressing nicely in the AHL. It will be an expensive venture to keep both and the freed cap space will help.
Although, having Fedorov on the Capitals may have made us starry eyed in the face of a future hall of famer and an extraordinary talent. He made some clutch goals for the Capitals, the rocket slapshot that beat the Florida Panthers and spun the Capitals into the playoffs for the first time in ten years. Or his game winning goal that won the first series win the Caps have enjoyed in 11 years. His talent and classy constitution will be missed.
But how many more years could Fedorov keep up his two way play at this level? It is a question we will never know as Feds will pack up his sticks and go someplace else.
Caps Draft Notes:
- Looks like the Caps have some major interest in Landon Ferraro. Son of Ray Ferraro (once called a "little ball of hate" by a teammate), Landon's speed has piqued the Caps' interest, but many are saying that Ferraro is still a few years away from wearing a NHL sweater.
- George McPhee most likely will not trade his picks for players. According to the Capitals Insider, McPhee's philosophy remains solid:
"If you're doing the right things, you're always taking the best player," [McPhee] said. "And you find other ways, whether it be a trade or free agency, to fill any holes. (In the draft), you want a left winger who can play, versus a right defenseman that's not going to play."
He added: "If you draft for positions, then sometimes you make players out to be better than they are and you (pass over) someone who ends up playing and being a good player. If you have too many good left wingers, then maybe you have to move somebody to fill a position some place else."
- While first round picks are always helpful, the Detroit Red Wings have gotten by with a bunch of late rounders. Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula were picked in the third round, Pavel Datsyuk was a sixth round pick and Henrik Zetterberg was picked in the seventh round. I guess it proves that scouting wins out the best players, not necessarily first round picks. Something to chew on while you watch the entry draft tonight.