I know this is far away but with Nylander's waiver clearing and freed up Cap space, I began thinking about the question of keeping both Semin and Backstrom during the next offseason. With circles gone this will be easy. The way Semin has been playing and his frequent injuries he honestly doesn't deserve anything more than the 5 mil he makes now.
So what if the Caps went after Kovalchuk and spare Semin the trouble of learning English???
At first I thought this would be impossible given the 9mil+ OV makes and a hefty pay raise for RFA Backstrom. Backstrom makes .850 mil in salary off of his rookie contract with the Caps, however, his cap hit is 2.4 mil this year. ( I don't know why.) With a potential strong FA class and weak economy I can't see Backs making any more than 5-6 mil a year. Which would only be about 3.5 mil more against the cap. I think Backstrom campares with Ryan Getzlaf who makes 5.125 mil.
On the other hand Kovalchuk will probably command 8-10 mil per year. However we should have room with Nylanders 4.8, Theo's 4.5, Pothier's 2.6, and Semin's 4.6 all coming off. That will also leave us a surplus to give pay raises to RFA such as Flash, Fehr, Gordon, and Schultz.
In all liklihood Ilya will resign with the Thrashers. I think its fun watching the two best scorers wear red for Russia, but it would be really fun watching them wear red at Verizon.