I realize that it's early to speculate on stuff like this, since the salary cap for next year has not yet been announced and that will doubtless affect the outcome of this discussion, but the fact is that the Caps have to move some players. Eight players were signed during the '08-'09 season: Stefan Della Rovere (LW), John Carlson (D), Braden Holtby (G), Zach Miskovic (D), Trevor Bruess (C), Anton Gustaffson (C), Jake Hauswirth (C), and Joe Finley (D). Their contracts kick in July 1, and the Caps are already at the 50-contract limit with the signing of Staffan Kronwall off of waivers.
So, something's got to give, especially if anyone's going to be brought in via free agency. The good news is that we have 24 players in the organization who are either RFA or UFA come July 1. It's also entirely possible (read: likely) that GMGM will see fit to trade a few people. Here's the list of players up for free agency:
|GP - R||Key Stats
|GP- P||Key Stats
|Bourque, Chris||23||AHL||C||RFA||0.625||0.525||69||21-52-73, +10||16||4-14-18, +3|
|Bourque, Chris||23||NHL||C||RFA||0.625||0.525||8||1-0-1, +0||0||n/a|
|Brashear, Donald||37||NHL||L||UFA||1.200||1.200||63||1-3-4, -6||4||0-0-0, +0|
|Collins, Sean||25||AHL||D||RFA||0.850||0.685||39||1-7-8, +5||6||0-2-2, +3|
|Fedorov, Sergei||39||NHL||C||UFA||4.000||4.000||52||11-22-33,+4||14||1-7-8, +1|
|Fehr, Eric||23||NHL||R||RFA||0.735||0.735||61||12-13-25, +8||9||0-0-0, -3|
|Giroux, Alexandre||28||AHL||C||UFA||0.475||0.475||69||60-37-97, +23||16||9-11-20, +0|
|Gordon, Boyd||25||NHL||R||RFA||0.725||0.725||63||5-9-14,-4||14||0-3-3, -1|
|Helmer, Bryan||36||AHL||D||UFA||0.475||0.475||63||2-25-27, +13||16||3-5-8, -1|
|Helmer, Bryan||36||NHL||D||UFA||0.475||0.475||12||0-3-3, -1||0||n/a|
|Johnson, Brent||32||NHL||G||UFA||0.812||0.825||21||12 W, 2.81, .908||0||n/a|
|Joudrey, Andrew||24||AHL||C||RFA||0.600||0.600||69||7-20-27, +13||16||1-3-4, +7|
|Jurcina, Milan||26||NHL||D||RFA||0.881||0.912||79||3-11-14, +1||14||2-0-2, +6|
|Kozlov, Viktor||34||NHL||C||UFA||2.500||2.500||67||13-28-41, -9||14||4-2-6, +5|
|Kronwall, Staffan||26||AHL||D||UFA VI||0.244||0.500||59||9-25-34, +4||15||3-3-6, +2|
|Kronwall, Staffan||26||NHL||D||UFA VI||0.244||0.500||3||0-0-0,-1||0||n/a|
|Laing, Quintin||30||AHL||L||UFA||0.487||0.500||55||9-16-25, +12||3||1-2-3, +1|
|Laing, Quintin||30||NHL||L||UFA||0.487||0.500||1||0-0-0, +1||14||n/a|
|Lepisto, Sami||24||AHL||D||RFA||0.700||0.675||70||4-38-42, +24||0||n/a|
|Lepisto, Sami||24||NHL||D||RFA||0.700||0.675||7||0-4-4, -3||0||n/a|
|Machesney, Daren||22||AHL||G||RFA||0.493||0.490||36||19W, 2.97, .876||0||n/a|
|Mink, Graham||30||AHL||L||UFA||0.500||0.500||68||32-27-59, +26||16||5-5-10, +1|
|Mink, Graham||30||NHL||L||UFA||0.500||0.500||2||0-0-0, +0||0||n/a|
|Morin, Travis||25||AHL||c||RFA||0.535||0.535||1||0-1-1, +1||0||n/a|
|Morin, Travis||25||ECHL||C||RFA||0.535||0.535||71||26-62-88, +37||15||3-14-17, +8|
|Morrisonn, Shaone||26||NHL||D||RFA||1.975||1.975||72||3-10-13, +4||14||0-1-1, +1|
|Pinizzotto, Steve||25||AHL||R||RFA||0.715||0.580||45||4-7-11, +4||15||3-1-4, +5|
|Pokulok, Sasha||23||AHL||D||RFA||0.850||0.850||8||0-0-0, +1||0||n/a|
|Pokulok, Sasha||23||ECHL||D||RFA||0.850||0.850||23||2-9-11, +10||10||0-4-4, +1|
|Schultz, Jeff||23||NHL||D||RFA||0.750||0.650||64||1-11-12, +13||1||0-0-0, -1|
|Sloan, Tyler||28||AHL||D||UFA||0.475||0.475||46||2-10-12, +14||10||0-5-5, +11|
|Sloan, Tyler||28||NHL||D||UFA||0.475||0.475||26||1-4-5, +4||2||0-1-1, +1|
|Wilson, Kyle||24||AHL||C||RFA||0.575||0.575||80||28-30-58, +13||16||2-4-6, -1|
I haven't posted here all the stats I used to write this discussion, but I think the table above hits some of the salient points. So, given this, who stays and who goes? A couple stand out to me as "definitely keep" and "definitely goes". I don't know enough about all of them to make any kind of intelligent judgment, so I have to go with what I know.
1. Boyd Gordon. Pepper's awesome analysis of Gordon this year suggests that he is what he is - consistent, hard-working, takes minimal penalties, wins draws, and kills penalties. What you see is what you get. More offense would be nice, but I think he's worth keeping even with the minimal offense he provides, because he is so good defensively.
2. Chris Bourque. Our sample size of him at the NHL level is awfully small, but my eyes tell me he did good when he was up here - lots of hustle and energy and willingness to go into the dirty places, something we need. He may be small, but put a little more muscle on him and he's a fireplug. In the AHL, he's total money in the playoffs and is all over the ice.
3. Quintin Laing. Just for heart, soul, and character alone, and while he isn't exciting in the scoring department, I see him as being a grinder guy in the nature of Bradley or Gordon.
4. Tyler Sloan. There's arguments to be made here, but if that's his ceiling, that's not a bad ceiling when you think about it. Extrapolate his NHL stats to 78 games on the season and you get a +12. Not too shabby. I think he's better than some folks give him credit for. Can we get better? Not impossible, but at what price tag (for existing comparable in most stats, see ShaMo).
5. Bryan Helmer. He's not an NHL'er, but he's solid as a rock with good leadership qualities in the AHL and can fill in on defense up in DC if he has to. All the guys seem to respect him in Hershey and he really seems to care about them in return.
6. Milan Jurcina. A little shaky in the regular season, but he straightened up down the stretch and was awesome in the playoffs. Can throw his weight around, and if nothing else, his shot could make defensemen and glass walls everywhere duck.
1. Viktor Kozlov. Well, we knew that. He's going to Russia, which makes the whole rest of the argument sort of moot.
2. Sergei Fedorov. We can't afford him at that price tag, and it's looking more and more likely that Fedorov will head for Russia anyway. I think keeping him is a sentimental choice rather than a pure hockey choice - he has some "right place, right time" moments, but his stick fouls drive me NUTS and get the team into a lot of trouble sometimes.
3. Donald Brashear. Whether he goes to the KHL or not, I don't think he brings enough to the table to make him worth the $1.2 million cap hit, and the stats posted bear that out. I love Brash as a person and wish him well, but keeping him on the team just doesn't make sense to me.
4. Shaone Morrisonn. No way is he worth the $3M he's rumored to want. His stats weren't horrid, but literally the only thing he's got on Tyler Sloan is giveaways. For 2 1/2 times the cap hit, I don't see the bargain here, do you?
5. Daren Machesney. Holy goalie logjam, Batman. Machesney struggled a LOT this year, and even on the times I saw him play and he won, he didn't look that confident in the crease. If they do keep him, it's as a stopgap and a backup, not as a primary.
The rest ... I see pluses and minuses to all of them. Kyle Wilson's stat line is pretty good in the regular season, but that playoff line leaves something to be desired. And I like Staffan Kronwall, dammit. The arguments about Jeff Schultz rage on, but I'm leaning towards "keep, at least for now" - he 's another one who gets more abuse than he deserves.