Centers Of Attention

Word from The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson is that "[Ted] Leonsis and [George] McPhee would both like Sergei Fedorov back for another year, because he proved he could play and he was somebody Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin looked up to, almost in hero worship for Fedorov's three Stanley Cup rings in Detroit."

Interesting, but I doubt Fedorov is interested in being a third-liner, and the Caps already have their top two centers... or do they?

In a separate piece, Matheson notes that "the Devils need a first-line centre in the worst way after losing Scott Gomez and the Caps have Michael Nylander ($14 million over the next three years), but solidly No. 2 behind Nicklas Backstrom. Sounds like a perfect trade situation to me because the Caps then could try and re-sign centre Sergei Fedorov for another year at say, $2.5M."

As Spector notes, Nyls' "no movement" clause (aka his wife) makes any trade unlikely, as does the fact that the Caps really don't have any near-term first- or second-line pivots in the system who are taller than 5'8", so even if you believe that Fedorov can effectively center one of your top two lines for 82 games (I have my doubts) next year, what you've got after that is a nearly 40-year-old Fedorov and/or a gaping hole to be filled via free agency... which is exactly where the Caps were last summer. No thanks - I'll take my chances on a 37-year-old Nylander in 2009-10.

But how Fedorov might fit into the 2008-09 Caps' plans is obviously going to be interesting to watch. My guess is he's gone, but if he wanted to come back for a year at that $2M to get spot duty on the top two lines, kill penalties and help quarterback the power play, I'd welcome him back (hey, it ain't my money). Besides, if Sergei's responsible for unleashing Alex Semin's inner beast (and there's every reason to believe he is), he's a short-term investment that's well worth making.

Oh, and one last note on the Nylander-to-Jersey thought - Matheson concludes that "[i]f Dainius Zubrus wasn't making $4M in Jersey, he'd be a perfect return for Nylander because the Caps need better shutdown people." If only.

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