Thursday, June 24, 2010

Number 500 - The Last Week and Free Agency Looms...

Yes that's right, this is the 500th "Mark's Musing" I've posted here. I started this blog on November 21st, 2007. Wow. My first post was made as the Washington Capitals were in the middle of some turmoil as you'll recall. I had been a season ticket holder for a little over a year and I had found "the blogsphere" as a great place to follow and keep up with the Washington Capitals.

My first ever post was on November 21st, 2007 and was titled "My First Blog..." such a unique and creative title, and it was filled with unique and insightful information and analysis - NOT - you can see it here if you don't remember it. I sure didn't and I needed to refresh my memory. Following immediately that same day I made my first substantive blog post: "Caps Tonight (Home Loss To Atlanta)." Of course the blog started as what I thought as going to be a way for one Caps STH to deal with the ongoing frustration, only to be pleasantly surprised and then more than a little pleased with how things proceeded from there. That said those who remember those dark days can truly agree "we've come a long way, baby" in any number of ways. I like to think one of them is with the quality of the content in this blog but I know I shouldn't ever quit my day job. Any way now back to the present day - Free Agency starts tomorrow, what's that mean for the Washington Capitals?

As always DMG over at Japer's Rink has a great analysis and commentary, if you haven't read it yet it's right here.

So here's my view/details/pertinent data, etc.
2010-2011 Salary Cap: $59.8M
Projected Washington Capitals Budget: $59.8M
Current Available Salary Cap Space: ~$13.5M

Current Roster - Total Cap Hit: $46.514M
Current Roster - Forwards (8) - $30.87M
1) Alexander Ovechkin - Cap Hit: $9.5M
2) Nicklas Backstrom - Cap Hit: $6.5M
3) Alexander Semin - Cap Hit: $6.0M
4) Mike Knuble - Cap Hit: $2.8M
5) Brooks Laich - Cap Hit: $2.1M
6) Jason Chimera - Cap Hit: $1.87M
7) David Steckel - Cap Hit: $1.1M
8) Matt Bradley - Cap Hit: $1.0M

Current Roster - Defense (5) - $14.0M
1) Mike Green - Cap Hit: $6.0M
2) Tom Poti - Cap Hit: $3.5M
3) Karl Alzner - Cap Hit: $1.675M
4) John Erskine - Cap Hit: $1.25M
5) John Carlson - Cap Hit: $0.875M
6) Tyler Sloan - Cap Hit: $0.700M

Current Roster - Goaltenders (2) - $1.644M
1a) Semyon Varlamov - Cap Hit: $0.822
1b) Michal Neuvirth - Cap Hit: $0.822M

13 Total Players Currently Under Contract Projected to Be on 2010-2011 Opening Day Roster;
5 Additional Forwards; 1-2 Additional Defensemen
Key Needs: 2nd Line Center; At Least 1 Additional Top 4 Defenseman.

Current Capitals Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) who have been issued qualifying offers:
1) Jeff Schultz
2) Eric Fehr
3) Tomas Fleischmann
4) Boyd Gordon.

Likely salary Cap space if Caps sign all qualified RFAs: $~4.5M.

Likely Approach To Filling Key Needs:

Per today's blog post by the Washington Post's Tarik El-Bashir, Caps GMGM indicated the Caps would likely be involved in the Free Agent talks but he didn't think Caps fans should be too surprised if the organization doesn't make any big splashy signings. McPhee's assessment of this year's UFA crop: "There's not much out there." Who knows what that really means, one thing I've learned following the Caps closely over the last 4+ years is, don't play poker with George McPhee.

The likely approach to filling need #2) Another Top Four Defenseman - Likely solved by the resigning of Jeff Schultz which will happen unless someone puts a "silly/stupid" offer sheet in front of him.

The likely approach to filling need #1 - second line center is harder to guess. McPhee wonders aloud if either Mathieu Perrault or Tomas Fleischman is ready or close enough to ready to go that way. Tarik El-Bashir thinks aloud the Caps will go our and try and get either Saku Koivu or Matt Cullen to be the second line pivot between Laich and Semin. DMG thinks any number of forwards including: Koivu, Cullen, Olli Jokinen, Vinny Prospal, Matthew Lombradi or Mike Modano. Personally I'm thinking the list of possibles the Capitals might be interested in for the right deal is one of the following three players: 1) Saku Koivu; 2) Matt Cullen or 3) Vinny Prospal - if they don't go with Mathieu Perrault. Basis for my feelings on this one pure gut instinct.

Long shot, surprise move, as in what would be the biggest surprise move you'd be happy to see the Capitals make. Sign UFA defenseman Dan Hamhuis or UFA Defenseman Mark Eaton for a reasonable cap hit, 3 year deal.

Okay so is it September yet?

Let's Go Caps!!!

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