Monday, June 30, 2008

Its 7:30 PM Do You Know Where Your Free Agents Are?

The free agency market opens tomorrow at noon. The Caps are still talking with their free agents but nothing to report yet. Well, hang in there and just remember when no one wanted any of our players. It wasn't that long ago.

For some insight to the days events Tarik El-Bashir at the Post and Corey Masisak at the Times have been doing a first rate job following the Caps negotiations, so check it out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Caps Qualify 5 Players

Yesterday the Capitals extended qualifying offers to Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, and Shaone Morrisonn. The Caps did not extend offers to Stephen Werner and Jamie Hunt (pictured). Hunt played one game with the Caps back in 2006 and joins the following list of players that made it to the big club for only 1 game.

Caps One Game Wonders:
  • Jamie Hunt
  • Shawn Cronin
  • Chris Ferraro
  • Alex Forsyth
  • Corey Hirsch
  • Jonas Johansson
  • Tyler Larter
  • Ken Lovsin
  • Barrie Moore
  • Robbie Moore
  • Alain Raymond
  • Mike Rosati
  • Rod Seiling
  • Brian Stapleton
  • Joey Tenute

Monday, June 23, 2008

Capitals Buy Out Clymer

Per TSN,

The Capitals have elected to buy out the final year of Ben Clymer's contract. Clymer was set to make $1,100,000 this season. He spent the entire 2007-08 season on the roster of the Cap's AHL affiliate Hershey Bears. Clymer began his career with the Capitals in 2005 when he signed as a free agent.

Ben Clymer's Capital Stats:
143 games, 23 goals, 30 assists, 53 points, -24 rating, 227 sog, 3 ppg, 13 ppa, 3 gwg, 116 PIM

Somewhere in south-central PA large puck bunnies are crying.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Capitals 2008 Off-Season - Free Agency

The next task for the Washington Capitals General Manager is free agency. Unofficially the Capitals have 8 unrestricted free agents and 7 restricted free agents. The Capitals currently have 39 players under contract for next season. They are limited to a total of 50 contracts so that gives them 11 spots to add players. In recent years GM George McPhee has kept a couple of open slots to give him a bit of contract flexibility during the year meaning he may be looking for 8 or 9 more contracts.

The unrestricted free agents are Dean Arsene, Josef Boumedienne, Frederic Cassivi, Matt Cooke, Sergei Fedorov, Cristobal Huet, Olie Kolzig, and Jason Morgan. Longtime Caps goaltender Olie Kolzig made his intentions clear at the end of the season that he had played his last game as a Capital and I don’t see him coming changing his mind. The events leading up to his decision were indeed unfortunate but such is life in competitive sports. Cassivi and Morgan have both signed contracts to play in Europe next season. Arsene had significant injury problems last season with the Hershey Bears and I would be shocked if he were offered a contract. Boumedienne is an interesting situation. Here is a veteran defensemen playing in Hershey, for not a lot of money, who came over to the Caps after playing in Europe for some time. He plays an offensive playmaking style of defense, has NHL experience, and from all indications enjoyed mentoring the young defensemen on the Bears. Personally I think you keep him because he can be a positive influence on the young guys and is a veteran who can be brought up to the Caps in the case of emergency. Matt Cooke was an excellent acquisition at the trade deadline last season. He played admirably for the Caps down the stretch and in the playoffs. However, he plays a position the Capitals were short due to the injury to Chris Clark. Unless Clark is unable to play I do not see Cooke being offered a contract. Another deadline acquisition, Sergei Fedorov was absolutely rejuvenated with the Caps last season. At 38-years old he is beyond his prime, but it was a prime that included three Stanley Cups and a Hart Trophy for league MVP. He now brings intangibles such as leadership, work ethic, and experience as well as a style that fits right into the Caps system. I don’t know how much the Caps can afford and with Michal Nylander returning where exactly he would play but I would like to see what he could do in a full year with the Caps. Cristobal Huet was also acquired at the trade deadline and went on an incredible run with the Caps. He was 11-2-0 with a 1.63 GAA in 13 games and took the #1 net minding job from the aforementioned Olie Kolzig. From the reports I’m hearing (these are the same ones you are hearing as well) Huet and the Caps have agreed on the length of a contract, 3-years, but not the dollars. Huet holds a little leverage on this one as the Caps don’t have an easy solution to replace a #1 goalie but Huet wants to win and there are not a lot of places to go with as much upside as Washington in terms of a team ready to go for it all. GMGM needs to get this one done.

The restricted free agents are Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Mike Green, Jamie Hunt, Brooks Laich, Shaone Morrisonn, and Stephen Werner. The Caps careers of Hunt and Werner may be heading to a close as the younger more talented draft picks seem to be progressing much faster than these two and I don’t foresee qualifying offers being extended. Brooks Laich went to arbitration last season and won. He then turned around and had a career year and is developing into a core member of the team. I think you have to give this guy his due but at the same time I think a one year deal is what he will be offered. The center position is very crowded on the Caps roster but Boyd Gordon just seems to keep improving. He is a defensive forward who was a bit banged up last season but his face-off prowess has and defensive ability has him on the ice in most critical situations. He needs to continue working on his offense and strength. He will most definitely get a qualifying offer. Eric Fehr has taken a tough road to the NHL. After missing almost a year to a nagging back and hip ailment he is starting to contribute to the big club. A lot of so called experts are starting to write him off but I think he will be a late bloomer and is ready for a breakout season this year. The next two were the Caps #1 defensive pair last season. Shaone Morrisonn is the defensive end of the pair and at 25-years old is still learning to be an NHL shutdown defender. He has gotten better each season and continues to progress. Mike Green had a career season to put it mildly. He scored the most goals of any defender in the league. His offense is second to none but his defensive play needs some work. He’s 22-years old and wants the big money. He is set to test the offer market this off-season but the Caps have stated they will match any offer he is extended. I would think both will be back next season.

It goes without saying that this should be an interesting couple of weeks. The Caps will also look to see if there are any free agents they can add. I wouldn’t expect too much but GMGM has been pretty active the last couple times he’s said he won’t be. It may not be a hockey game but its still more exciting than baseball.

Day 2 at the 2008 Draft

On the second day of the Entry Draft the Caps made the following selections:
  • Eric Mestery, round 2, 57th overall, Defenseman, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Dmitri Kugryshev, round 2, 58th overall, Right Wing, Moscow, Russia
  • Braden Holtby, round 4, 93th overall, goalie, Lloydminster, NH
  • Joel Broda, round 5, 144th overall, Center, Yorkton, Saskatchewan
  • Greg Burke, round 6, 174th overall, Left Wing, Portsmouth, NH
  • Stefan Della Rovere, round 7, 204th overall, Left Wing, Richmond Hill, Ontario
Overall the Caps drafted 8 players and 4 of those in the first two rounds. They were able to get some value for Steve Eminger so at first glance a successful draft for the Caps.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Caps Trade Eminger to Philly for 27th Pick

The Capitals traded D Steve Eminger and the 84th pick (3rd round) for Philadelphia's 1st round pick. With the pick they selected defensemen John Carlson. Carlson is a big guy with good skating ability but will be a project.

Capitals Select Anton Gustofsson in the First Round of the 2008 Entry Draft

The Caps traded up with the New Jersey Devils and with the 21st pick in the 2008 Draft the Caps selected Anton Gustofsson. The Caps traded the 23rd pick and the 54th pick in order to secure the son of former Caps great Bengt Gustofsson. The 6'-2", 194 pound center played 23 games with the Frolunda junior team scoring 10 goals, 13 assists and earning 43 penalty minutes. The scouting report on Anton is that he is a good two-way center with excellent play-making ability. I'm sensing a theme in Washington; Russian wings and Swedish centers, all with good size. The big question - Will he wear #16?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Capitals 2008 Draft Preview

Let’s take a look at the upcoming draft and see who the Capitals will go after with their 1st round pick. The Caps have the 23rd overall pick and should be looking to the best possible player rather than a specific position. In the most recent draft, only four European prospects were taken in the first round. Going on that basis we can look at a range of players the Caps may be looking to select.

First is Tyler Cuma, a 6’-2”, 180-pound, defensemen for Toronto, Ontario. Cuma played for the Ottawa 67’s in the Ontario Hockey League and was born January 19, 1990. In 59 games this past season he scored 32 points and took 69 minutes in penalties. He’s an offensive defensemen with good defensive sense and loves to get up in the rush.

Jamie Arniel is a center from Kingston, Ontario. He was born November 16, 1989 and played last season with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. His uncle was a former NHL player and he represented Team Canada at the 2007 Under-18 World Championships in Finland. He is known as an adept face-off man, a bit of a sniper, and a gritty 2-way forward.

Nicolas Deschamps is a 6’-0” center who was selected the QMJHL’s Best Defensive Player and to the All-Rookie Team. He scored 24 goals and 67 points in 70 games with Chicoutimi in the Q. He’s from Lasalle, Quebec and is a good skater and hard worker who surprised a lot people this season.

Greg Nemisz is another center who brings a little size with him. He’s 6’-3” and 197 pounds. He scored 34 goals and 33 assists in 68 games with Windsor of the OHL. He was a member of Team Canada at the 2008 Under-18 IIHF Worlds. The Oshawa native has one of the best nicknames - “Nemo.” He plays on the power play as well as the penalty kill and is looked at as a power forward type. He has good hands but needs to learn to use his size to his advantage.

From Vetlanda, Sweden is Mattias Tedenby. He’s a 5’-10” left wing who played 23 games for HV 71 of the Swedish Elite League. He was a member of Sweden’s Under-18 World Championship team. Plays fearlessly and has been compared to Saku Koivu.

Lastly is Anton Gustafsson, a reach pick but he is the son of former Caps great and current Team Sweden Head Coach Bengt. He scored 32 points in 33 games with his Swedish Junior team Frolunda. Sports a big body at 6’-2” and 194 pounds and plays center like his dad. He is considered a playmaker with strong puckhandling skills and excellent vision.

A lot can happen on draft day but if the Caps hold on to the 23rd pick on Friday look for one of these players to be wearing Capitals red, white and blue in the near future.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alex Ovechkin - You Gotta Love This Guy

Here's a great interview with Alex from June 11th:

Capitals Take 3 Awards

Alex Ovechkin took home the Pearson Award and the Hart Trophy. Bruce Boudreau was the Adams Award winner. The Caps 2007-2008 season had a rocky start but the finish showed just how far they have come. Nicklas Backstrom did not win the Calder but his efforts were not unnoticed as he was one of the three finalists. We now look forward to next season with increased anticipation. Good job fellas! Hockey is back in DC.

Datsyuk and Lady Byng

Good thing they vote for Lady Byng before the beginning of the playoffs as Pavel Datsyuk may not have been nominated after this run in with Gary Roberts in the Stanley Cup Finals. Oh well, I enjoy it any time a Penguin gets pounded.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Osala Signs with Capitals

From European Hockey.Net

Posted 4/6/2008: fi Oskar Osala (F)
From fi Blues Espoo to us Washington Capitals (NHL)
Added By: Davide Tuniz, Status: Confirmed
3 yearsdeal - entry level contract

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Detroit Wins the 2007-2008 Stanley Cup

In the sixth game of the Stanley Cup Finals the better team prevailed. The Cup returns the Detroit after another show of why they were the best team this year. The Wings outplayed the Pens in all facets to beat the wishful Pittsburgh team. The Wings brutalized the Pen vaunted offense and completely disrupted their system. The experience factor was huge as the Wings never looked rattled following the three overtime loss on Monday. They knew what it took to win and went after it. The Pens were held in this series with an excellent performance from their young goaltender, but at the other end of the ice the consistent effort of Detroit' s Chris Osgood, who won by two games by shutout, was as unspectacular as it was masterful. When it was all said and done, tonights game just seemed to draw to the to the inevitable conclusion and Nick Lidstrom took the Cup home to the winners. Good job fellas. Now its on to next season...

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