FanPost

Solving That Second Line Center Problem

I've been giving a lot of thought to the second line center position, which I think is the team's most glaring need this offseason.  Here are some players who I think could be reasonably available that could fit the bill. 

#1 Patrick Marleau
See my previous post on this.

#2 Marc Savard
Why I like him
Just a fantastic year last year.  He really put it all together after a few good years before that.  He's an all-around player now.

Why it makes cap sense
The Broons are hard up against the cap this year, and Savard's 5 M for 09-10 may be the easiest salary to move.  He's only signed for one more year, so he's a great fit for the Caps.  But with the Caps and the Bruins battling for 1 and 2 all year this past year, I doubt they'd trade Savard to Washington.  It could really come back to bite them.

#3 Brad Richards

Why I like him
I've been a Richards fan for years.  Richards is 29, right in the middle of his peak.  But his numbers have dropped off a bit, mostly due to injury and the poor play of the Stars.  He knows the Southeast and has a Cup.  On the Caps, I think he's good for 25 goals and 50 assists easy.

Why it makes cap sense
Richards is signed to a massive contract -- 7.8 Million per year for the next two years.  That makes him a very tight fit.  The team would probably have to offload Nylander and Theodore to make this work.  And the move would tighten the budget for 2010-11, when Backstrom and Semin need to get paid.  On the other hand, he's a true star and may be worth it.

I think Dallas may be down on Richards because of his injury and because his numbers have been down.  And Ribeiro had a great year, so Richards may be expendable.  But Dallas would certainly demand a lot from the Caps for Richards.  This is one of the boldest moves the Caps could make.


#4 Jason Arnott
Why I like him
Big body who plays big, defensively sound, scores lots of goals.  He's a finisher and exactly the veteran presence the Caps need. 

Why he makes cap sense
Signed for 4.5 Million for each of the next two years.  That makes 10-11 a challenge, but not a huge one.  I'd snap Arnott up in an instant.  Nashville's nowhere near the cap, but they may have other money concerns, so this might be possible, but I doubt they'd move him.  It would probably be easier to get Legwand, but Legwand is signed for a much longer deal and is not as good a player.

McPhee says he ain't going after UFAs, and I believe him, but for completeness here they are

#5 Henrik Sedin
Why I like him
Simply put, the best center available as a UFA.  A creative playmaker who gives a steady point per game. 

How he could make cap sense
He probably doesn't, unless the market really falls apart.  He's just going to be too expensive.  But hey, anything's possible.

#6 Saku Koivu
Why I like him
Very creative playmaker who is also solid defensively.  Very good veteran leadership.  But he seems to be nearing the end of his career.  There's not much tread left on those tires.  Could end up being Sergei Fedorov lite -- with less of everything Sergei brought. 

How he could make cap sense
Koivu is a UFA.  At 3 Million or under, he'd probably be a good deal. 

#7 Olli Jokinen
Why I like him (kind of)
Great scoring numbers.  Jokinen paired with Semin could be really beautiful hockey.  But he's untested in real pressure situations, although 5 points in 6 playoff games this past year ain't bad (it ain't great, either).

How he could make cap sense
Jokinen at age 30 will make more than Koivu at this point.  He'll probably demand and get about 5 Million.  Which is probably too rich for the Caps.  The Caps should be willing to move mountains to find the budget for Savard or Marleau or Richards or Arnott.  Jokinen, not so much.  But if the market truly falls apart and Jokinen is available for 3.5 Million or so, that's a fair price and he could help this team.

#8 Mats Sundin
See the blurb on Saku Koivu.  Will demand more money than Koivu.  And I'd rather have Koivu right now.  Sundin will give you better numbers, but Koivu would be better in the room.  Backstrom's the number 1 center.  Koivu would respect that; Sundin is a prima donna.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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