I wanted to take a look at some of the players available in free agency this year and see who we might want to make a run for on the Capitals. Added to this, I also wanted to take a look at some players that we might perhaps trade for, maybe giving away an extra 4-6 defenseman where we are deep.
With that said, I want to make a couple things clear:
1. I have no idea who we might bring up from Hershey next year, which might make this whole conversation moot.
2. I am not a salary cap expert. I would assume that we can't afford to break the bank for anyone next year, but I don't know the complete details. With that being the case, I'm not looking at guys who have a $4 million salary...we couldn't afford it.
3. I am not a trade expert. I will look at some trades that might make sense for the Caps in the player they would recieve. I don't really know if such a trade would make any sense for the other team.
4. I am a Caps fan and have seen almost zero games by other teams, except when they play the Caps. I will make most of my judgements based of salary, player size, contract situation, goals, and points. Based on those stats, I might look at a player who doesn't actually fit the role we are looking for, even if all the stats are there.
5. In this conversation, I am just looking at forwards. We all know we need to improve the defense as well, but we have to see what we have in some of the guys in Hershey. The need for D might be filled from the Bears, or from a deadline deal. Here I am just looking at a gritty winger and maybe a 2nd line center.
With all that said, basically I'm looking for some gritty forwards who maybe scored 15-25 goals this year. We aren't looking for an all star, just someone who will play physical, play puck control, and get their body in front of the net. On first look, I am disturbed when I go down the scoring list how quickly we come to guys who scored 25 goals. Top end scoring wasn't huge anywhere this year, and there just weren't a whole lot of guys who scored more than 25 goals. These guys could be more expensive than you would ordinarily think. There were only 59 guys who scored 26 goals or more. That averages at 2 per team. Who knows what the market will be.
Joe Pavelski C San Jose 25-34-59 5'11" 194 $1,637,500
At 24, he is probably a RFA, not a UFA, but his numbers are solid. Not a big guy, but might make a fine 2nd line center.
Dustin Brown RW Las Angelos 24-29-53 6'0" 200 $3,175,000
Another 24 year old, he is under contract through 2011-12. Kind of expensive, but since it would involve a trade, we would move some money their way too.
James Neal LW Dallas 24-13-37 6'2" 185 $??????
21 years old. No idea his contract status, although I'm sure he's under contract since he was drafted in 2005. Pretty skinny for his size, so probaby not the guy we are looking for in front of the net.
Alexei Ponikarovski LW Toronto 23-38-61 6'4" 220 $2,105,00
29 years old and under contract through next year. Nice cap number and good size. I doubt Toronto would want to move him, but who knows, if they don't do something to get better, maybe they would trade him now to avoid him just walking away after next year.
Andrei Kostitsyn LW Montreal 23-18-41 6'0" 205 $3,250,000
24 years old and under contract until 2010-11. Not sure Montreal would trade him, and not sure that he would want to leave his brother behind. Decent size.
Todd White C Atlanta 22-51-73 5'10" 193 $2,375,00
Price is right, decade of experience, would be a great 2nd line center for us. Under contract until 2010-11. Forget about it though, he centers Atlanta's top line (and best nick name Little White Russian line)
Ryan Clowe RW San Jose 22-30-52 6'2" 215 $1,600,000
26 years old and some experience on a good team. either a RFA or a UFA, this guy has good size, good numbers, even with a raise should be an ok cap hit.
Andrew Brunette LW Minnesota 22-28-50 6'1" 210 $2,333,333
Holy cow! This guy is still playing? Loved him as a cap. 2 more years on his contract, but Minnesota might have a major overhaul this year, so who knows if he is available or not. Ok size, can he play right wing opposite Semin?
Matt Cullen C Carolina 22-21-43 6'1" 200 $2,800,000
Another 10 year vet with good playoff experience. Nice numbers, nice size, nice salary with 1 year left. Not sure Carolina would move him in division, if at all.
Niklas Hagman RW Toronto 22-20-42 6'0" 205 $3,000,000
Probably more than we want to spend, but at 29 should still have some game left. Contracted through 2011-12 so would have to be a trade.
Colby Armstrong RW Atlanta 22-18-40 6'2" 190 $1,200,000
At 26, either a RFA or UFA. Good numbers, good size, but a little light. Could be a nice salary level even with an increase.
Ryan Callahan RW New York 22-18-40 5'11" 185 $575,000
At 24, he is a RFA this year. Considering how he played against us, I'm sure he's not available. Still, even with a substantial bump in salary, he could be worth it.
Patrick Berglund C St. Louis 21-26-47 6'4" 187 $1,246,667
20 years old and putting up those numbers? This kid ain't available. Needs to hit the weight room anyway.
Rene Bourque LW Calgary 21-19-40 6'2" 213 $1,300,000
27 and good experience on a playoff team. Good size and numbers and cap hit. 1 year left on his contract. Don't know if Calgary needs any 4-6 d-men.
Mikko Koivu C MInnesota 20-47-67 6'2" 207 $3,250,000
26 years old and great numbers. Contracted through 10-11. Whatever restructuring Minnesota does to their lineup, you can't imagine them trading this guy, but who knows.
Travis Zajac C New Jersey 20-42-62 6'2" 200 $984,200
At 24, he is a RFA. With those numbers he will get a substantial raise. I imagine the Devils will match any offers.
Mikhail Grabovski C Toronto 20-28-48 5'11" 182 $850,000
At 25, he is a RFA. Should get a raise based on his numbers. Does Toronto match an offer sheet on him?
Drew Stafford RW Buffalo 20-25-45 6'1" 202 $984,200
23 year old RFA. Good size, good numbers, probably cheap. Buffalo probably makes him an offer.
Ales Kotalik RW Edmonton 20-23-43 6'2" 225 $2,333,333
30 years old. Should have some playoff experience from Buffalo. Real nice size and numbers. Should be affordable. UFA.
Tomas Plekanec C Montreal 20-19-39 5'10" 196 $1,600,000
26 year old RFA or UFA. A little small, but nice numbers/salary.
David Moss RW Calgary 20-19-39 6'3" 203 $550,000
27 year old UFA. Nice size, nice numbers, real nice price.
Jason Williams RW Columbus 19-28-47 5'11" 185 $2,200,000
28 year old UFA. Nice numbers, but small.
Dave Bolland C Chicago 19-28-47 6'0" 176 $845,833
22 year old RFA. Needs to hit the weight room, but I imagine Chicago makes him an offer.
Steve Ott C Dallas 19-27-46 6'0" 193 $1,425,000
26 year old RFA or UFA. Could use a little more size, but nice numbers and low price.
Mikael Samuelsson RW Detroit 19-21-40 6'2" 211 $1,200,000
32 years old UFA and the experience doesn't get any better than playing in Detroit. Nice size, nice price.
Chad LaRose RW Carolina 19-12-31 5'10" 181 $875,000
27 year old UFA, this guy stat and size wise looks like Flash with fewer assists. No thanks.
Tim Connolly C Buffalo 18-29-47 6'1" 199 $2,967,000
28 year old UFA. Perhaps a little expensive, and a little light, but who knows?
Kyle Okposo RW Islanders 18-21-39 6'0" 195 $850,000
21 year old signed through 2010-11. Not sure what Islanders would take in trade, if they would even consider it.
Andrew Cogliano C Edmonton 18-20-38 5'9" 178 $850,000
21 and under contract through next year. Cheap, but really small. Any better than Aucoin?
Kyle Wellwood C Vancouver 18-9-27 5'10" 180 $997,500
25 year old RFA. Small and not great numbers, but cheap. Don't know if Vancouver lets him go. All I know about him is he took a couple sticks to the face in the playoffs and kept right on playing. Not big, but tough.
Joel Ward RW Nashville 17-18-35 6'2" 215 $?????
No idea what this guy's contract status is except that at 28, this is his 2nd year in the league. Last year was in Minnesota. Nice size, ok numbers.
David Clarkson RW New Jersey 17-15-32 6'1" 205 $837,500
25 and another year on his salary. Ok size, ok numbers, cheap. Doubt NJ makes a trade.
Nick Foligno LW Ottawa 17-15-32 6'0" 188 $850,000
21 year old under contract through next year. Nice numbers, needs to spend some time in the weight room. Nice salary. No idea what Ottawa might do in the off season to get better.
Clarke MacArthur LW Buffalo 17-14-31 6'1" 191 $600,000
24 year old RFA. A little light, but nice numbers for the price.
Sam Gagne C Edmonton 16-25-41 5'10" 191 $875,000
19 year old with a year left on his contract. Small, but nice numbers for someone so young. Don't see Edmonton making a trade.
Ruslan Fedotenko LW Pittsburgh 16-23-39 6'2" 195 $2,250,000
30 year old UFA. Perhaps a little expensive for this level of production, and considering who he played with, I don't see him putting up better numbers anywhere else.
Brendan Morrison C Anaheim 16-15-31 5'11" 181 $2,750,000
33 year old UFA. Small, and too much money for that production.
Matt Stajan C Toronto 15-40-55 6'1" 180 $1,750,000
25 year old under contract through next season. A little light, but very nice production for the price. Who knows with Toronto if he would be available.
Antti Miettinen RW Minnesota 15-29-44 6'0" 190 $2,333,333
28 year old under contract through 2010-11. Good production for the price. Even with changes in Minnesota, I doubt he's available.
Rich Peverly C Atlanta 15-29-44 6'0" 185 $??????
26 year old who was traded from Nashville to Atlanta. No idea what his contract situation is, but nice numbers.
Todd Bertuzzi RW Calgary 15-29-44 6'3" 245 $1,950,000
34 year old UFA. Definitely adds size and grit, but comes with a ton of baggage. Nice price for his production.
Radek Dvorak RW Florida 15-21-36 6'2" 200 $1,550,000
32 year old UFA. Nice size and ok numbers for the price.
Tyler Kennedy C Pittsburgh 15-20-35 5'10" 183 $541,667
22 year old RFA. Integral part of their checking line, don't think they let him get away.
Scottie Upshall RW Phoenix 15-19-34 6'0" 197 $1,225,000
25 year old RFA. Very nice player for the price, but who knows who is calling the shots in Phoenix, if anyone.
Steve Bernier RW Vancouver 15-17-32 6'2" 233 $2,500,00
24 year old RFA. Really nice size, doubt Vancouver lets him get away.
Nikolai Kulemin RW Toronto 15-16-31 6'1" 183 $1,487,500
22 year old with one year left on his contract. Ok size, good numbers for the price. Again, it's Toronto.
Maxim Lapierre C Montreal 15-13-28 6'2" 200 $687,500
24 year old with a year on his contract. Very nice size and affordable. Don't know why Montreal would trade him.
I mostly looked at RW and C since that is where our need is. This took a lot longer than I thought it would once I started considering players that we could trade for. A couple things that jumped out at me as I did this.
1. There were a lot of high paid players that only scored 25 or fewer goals.
2. There are not very many UFA's in this group, but a lot of RFA's. Don't know if there are any chances to grab a RFA.
I ended up posting a lot more players than I had intended to, but I know virtually nothing about most of them. I hope to get a lot of feedback on whether any of these guys would fit, if any would be possible to get, or if this was just a giant waste of time.