Since the defense is pretty much all set, there may be more holes up front. With the departure of Viktor Kozlov and Sergei Fedorov the Capitals have made the stop to the free agent market picking up Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison. The departure of Donald Brashear makes room for a few players to try to squeeze into.
Again, it's not really fair to make these one on one draw ups. It is just fun to conceptualize. The choice today involves two very different players; a bit of the old and the new.
Quintin Laing or Oskar Osala?
Fan favorite from the previous season Laing won over the Capitals' faithful with his shot blocking prowess. If there was a shot from the point, he would not hesitate laying down his body to block the shot. A hard skill to master in today's NHL. He is also a favorite of head coach Bruce Boudreau, who thought Laing played a big part in getting the Capitals into the post season in '08. The quintessential role player, Laing is clearly a defensive forward and his skills in that matter makes him an important part of penalty kills. You will get experience and solid defense but you are not going to get much offensive production from him.
Osala may not be the defensive player of the year, but he was second among AHL rookies in scoring. In 68 games for the Hershey Bears, he scored 23 goals and 37 points last season. Osala brings size too, at 6'4", 217 lbs., he has some good hands for a big player. Osala basically brings in youth and scoring. He was brought up for two games last season coming in for some injured players and did not produce much. Osala did play all 22 games in the post season for the Bears in their championship run, producing 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists).
My money is on Laing over Osala. Osala could use another year in Hershey to season a bit, while Laing can prove to be more valuable on a checking line and on the penalty kill. Laing's hard work ethic is also contagious.