Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wideman Out

Caps make a move on their first free agent this summer. Denis Wideman's rights have been traded to Calgary.

There was a possibility of Wideman leaving to test the market, I guess those talks broke down between GMGM and the only Capitals representative at the 2012 All Star Game. Per Caps' PR:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have acquired a fifth-round draft pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and defenseman Jordan Henry from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Dennis Wideman, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Henry, 26, collected 11 points (two goals, nine assists) and 97 penalty minutes in 68 games with Abbotsford and Chicago of the American Hockey League (AHL) last season.

Wideman recorded 46 points (11 goals, 35 assists) in 82 games with Washington last season. The Kitchener, Ontario, native was named to his first NHL All-Star Game last season and has tallied 251 points (67 goals, 184 assists) in 535 career NHL games with St. Louis, Boston, Florida and Washington.

Both players are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Caps Name Adam Oates Head Coach

News first broke by TSN's Darren Dreger, then confirmed by Caps sources. Per Caps PR:

"ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Adam Oates the team’s head coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

“We are very pleased to name Adam Oates as the new head coach of the Washington Capitals,” said McPhee. “Adam was a highly intelligent player in the NHL for 19 seasons. He has been an assistant coach in our conference for the past three seasons and is prepared to lead our club as head coach.”

Oates, 49, becomes the 16th head coach in Washington Capitals history and will make his head coaching debut after three seasons as an assistant coach. Oates became an assistant coach for the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2009-10 season before moving to New Jersey in 2010. He was behind the bench as an assistant for the Devils’ Stanley Cup playoff-run last season.

Oates played 19 seasons in the NHL from 1985-2004, appearing in 1,337 games and collecting 1,420 points (341 goals, 1,079 assists) with Detroit, St. Louis, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton. Only Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux averaged more assists per-game than Oates in the NHL history. During the 1990’s only Gretzky (662) recorded more assists than Oates (636).

The Weston, Ontario, native ranks sixth all-time in assists and 16th all-time in points in NHL history. Oates ranks 25th in NHL history in playoff points, having recorded 156 points (42 goals, 114 assists) in 163 career playoff games. The former center led or was tied for the league lead in assists three times in his career (1992-93, 2000-01 and 2001-02) and ranked in the top-10 in assists in 12 of his 19 seasons. Oates was named an NHL All-Star five times (1991-94 and 1997) and was a six-time Lady Bing finalist during his career (runner-up in four straight seasons).

Oates played in 387 games for the Capitals from 1996-2002, compiling 363 points (73 goals, 290 assists). He ranks 18th in scoring and 10th in assists among all players in the Capitals history. Wearing No. 77 for the Capitals, Oates was an alternate captain during the 1997-98 season before serving as the team’s captain from 1999-01 campaign.

Oates was originally signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Detroit Red Wings on June 28, 1985, after spending four seasons with R.P.I. of the NCAA. After stints in Detroit, St. Louis and Boston, he was traded to Washington by Boston with Bill Ranford and Rick Tocchet for Jim Carey, Anson Carter, Jason Allison and Washington's 3rd round choice (Lee Goren) in the 1997 Entry Draft, March 1, 1997. After playing parts of six seasons with the Capitals, including the team’s run to the 1998 Stanley Cup final, Oates was traded to Philadelphia by Washington for Maxime Ouellet and Philadelphia's 1st (later traded to Dallas - Dallas selected Martin Vagner), 2nd (Maxime Daigneault) and 3rd (Derek Krestanovich) round choices in the 2002 Entry Draft, March 19, 2002. Oates spent time with Philadelphia, Anaheim and Edmonton before his retirement on April 3, 2004.

Oates joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as an assistant coach for the 2009-10 season, helping the team go 34-36-12. He joined the New Jersey Devils staff the following season as the Devils went 38-39-5. Last season Oates helped the Devils finish with a record of 48-28-6 as New Jersey reached the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 2003."

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The Washington Capitals finished their seven rounds of pick heaven picking up two centermen, a center and left winger, 3 wingers, 3 defensemen and one goaltender. Among the picks are three Canadians, two Swedish players, a Russian goaltender and 4 from the US National Team Development Program. They picked up a prospect that was slated to go around 7th in many mock drafts and picked up a little muscle along the way. In all, it was a quiet but good draft for the Capitals.

In the first round the Caps picked 11th overall and they choose Filip Forsberg. A natural play maker, Forsberg was slated to go much earlier in many mock drafts, so consider him a steal for the Caps. They also picked some muscle in Thomas Wilson, a kid that can play and throw the punches.

"You can find guys that are tough, but if they can't play, what good are they?" said General Manager George McPhee of their 16th overall pick in Wilson. "This kid seems to be that rare combination these days of a big kid who's tough that can play. Worst-case scenario he can play on the fourth line. But we think if he develops properly he can be a third-line, second-line player."

The Caps did not have a pick in the second round after trading it to Dallas for Mike Ribeiro. The gave up a prospect in Cody Eakin for a skilled center man to fill out the middle for the Capitals.

"It seemed like when I was watching the playoffs we had some big, gritty forwards and I just wanted to get another skill guy in the middle of it," McPhee said of acquiring Ribeiro. "I think him makes us immediately better."

In the third round the Caps picked up Chandler Stephenson (77th overall). A left winger and a centerman, Stephenson played for the Regina Pats last season and was able to accumulate 42 points in 55 games despite missing 14 games with injury. He was named the Pats' 'Most Sportsmanlike Player'.

Thomas Di Pauli (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The next four picks for the Capitals featured all American players, all from the U-18 US National Team Development Program. The Caps had two picks in round four and took Thomas Di Pauli (100 overall) and Austin Wuthrich (107 overall) who played last year with Notre Dame. The fifth and sixth rounds, the Caps only had one pick which they took Conner Carrick (137 overall) and Riley Barber (167 overall) respectfully.

Barber's father, Don, was selected 120th overall in 1983 by Edmonton and went on to play in the NHL for Minnesota, Winnipeg, Quebec and San Jose between 1988-89 and 1991-92.

Finally, the Caps had three picks in the seventh round.  They chose Christian Djoos (195 overall), Jaynen Rissling (197 overall) and goaltender Sergei Kostenko (203 overall). Rissling comes from an NHL family. Per his Draft card:
His uncle, Gary, signed with Washington in 1978 before being traded to Pittsburgh in 1981 -- he played 221 games in the NHL, amassing 1,008 penalty minutes. His dad, Kelly, played in the Western Hockey League (Portland, Lethbridge) and International Hockey League.
Ross Mahoney, Caps' director of amateur scouting answered why the Capitals took so many players in the middle rounds from the USNTDP per
Ross Mahoney, the Caps' director of amateur scouting, had a simple reason for why the club targeted so many players from the USNTDP.
"They're winners," he said. "They won again [World Under-18 Championship gold medal]. Talking to the people in that program, they said it was the best group of kids they've ever had, and they've had some pretty good young men come through that program. … We think they're all good athletes and good players and they're winners."
For those drafted, the next step is developmental camp in August. The Caps will get a close look at those they drafted as well as see other prospect's progress over a year's time.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Getting Centered

The Capitals addressed their immediate concerns at the center position before the Draft in the evening. The Caps traded Cody Eakin and a second round pick (54th overall) to the Dallas Stars for Mike Ribeiro.

The Caps struggled with a second line center last year behind Nick Backstrom. They tried to fill the hole with Marcus Johannson, Mathieu Perreault, and even Brooks Laich at times. But the Caps finally land some proven talent in Ribeiro who has great speed and a quick release. He had 63 points in last year's campaign (18g, 45a). He has some playoff experience under his belt with the long playoff run in 2008 where he has 17 points in 18 games with the Stars.

The Caps give up prospect Cody Eakin. Eakin spent most of his time in Hershey, but was called up a few times. In my opinion, he is still a year or two away from being a mainstay in the NHL. His speed is deadly, but he needs more experience to use it effectively at the top level. When he finds his game, Eakin will be a solid offensive producer at the NHL level.

George McPhee's trade for Ribeiro also cost them a second round pick in this year's draft. Ribeiro has one year remaining in his 5 year contract and will count for $5 million to the salary cap for the Capitals.

This might quiet some talk of the Capitals trying to land Rick Nash. The Capitals will still have to fill a hole left by Alex Semin, as well as some grit in the loss of Mike Knuble. Jordan Staal was also rumored to be courted by the Capitals after he refused a 10 year contract with Pittsburgh, but he was traded to Carolina and will play with brother Eric.

Pick Two

They may not have a coach, but the Washington Capitals have two picks in the first round of the NHL Draft. Picks and 11 and 16 were Caps to choose and they picked up more offense and some size.

Picked 11th overall, Filip Forsberg, is a natural play maker. NHL director of European scouting describes Forsberg this way:
“A leader who shows by example -- I would compare him to Anaheim's Corey Perry a little bit. Has a nose for the net, and often scores the big goals. He's a creative playmaker, good skater with fine straight-ahead speed. He's a right-handed forward with an excellent shot and an effective two-way player with a great winning attitude. Filip's a solid puck carrier with very good puck-handling skills; mature, good size and physically strong. On top of that, he'll sacrifice himself to make the play.”
Don't get to excited, he is not related to NHL great Peter Forsberg, but Filip does model his game after him.

Pick 16 the Caps picked up a player that was rumored to be picked up by the Flyers. Thomas Wilson was selected for his toughness, size and his ability to put the puck in the net too. TSN analysts believe he will be the next Milan Lucic, but better looking. He is a gold medal winner with Team Canada in 2011 in Helsinki and he was voted "Best Body-Checker" in the OHL's 2012 coaches poll. He loves to hit, fight and help his team win. In 49 games played he registered 27 points and was a plus 17.

Consistent with class, the Pittsburgh fans in attendance freely booed the Capitals picks. The boos were not as loud as they were for the Flyers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pick 11 And 16

The Washington Capitals are heading into the unknown in a couple of areas. One is coaching, another is draft picks. The Caps have the 11th overall pick in this year's NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. They earned that pick from Colorado for Semyon Varlamov.

If you were wondering what kind of player the Caps could get at 11, let's take a trip down memory lane and look at some notable 11th overall picks in past NHL drafts.

2007 - Brandon Sutter
2005 - Anze Kopitar (recent Stanley Cup champ the LA Kings)
2003 - Jeff Carter (another King getting a ring)
1995 - Jarome Iginla
1994 - Jeff Friesen
1993 - Brendon Witt (Caps prospect that wanted no part of a rebuild, hmm)
1984 - Sylvain Cote (selected by Buffalo and Caps' stand out D-man)

An interesting group to say the least.

The Caps also have the 16th pick in the first round. Since 1980 the 16th overall pick has included the likes of R.J. Umberger (2001), Marcel Hossa (2000), goaltender Martin Biron (1995), Markus Naslund (1991) and former Caps players in prospect Jakub Klepis (2002, traded from Ottawa) and verteran Jamie Heward (1989).

This year's mock draft has the Capitals picking up Radek Faksa with the 11th pick. Faksa has been with Kitchener in the OHL. The mock draft also has the Caps picking up Sebastian Collberg with the 16th pick, a swedish winger who has played in the Swedish elite league.

The NHL Draft will be in Pittsburg this year June 22 - 23.