I think most of us will agree that Shaone Morrison is likely gone. Nothing against the guy but he wants more than I think the Caps are willing to pay him. This conclusion has been written by bloggers and commenters alike, and generally includes references to last summer's arbitration hearing where Mo apparently wanted 3 million, the caps offered 1.5 (or 1.25) and Mo got 1.95.
I think its safe to assume we'll trade his rights at the draft. He's an RFA so any team we trade him to will have the right to match any offer sheet he signs.
In the unlikely event that Mo does not get traded at the draft, and he signs an offer sheet with another team, the Caps would get compensated.
For 2008-09, the compensation">compensation due for signing a RFA to an Offer Sheet was:
Amount Compensation Due
$863,156 or less : None
$863,156 - $1,307,812 : 3rd round pick
$1,307,812 - $2,615,625 : 2nd round pick
$2,615,623 - $3,923,437 : 1st and 3rd round pick
$3,923,437 - $5,231,249 : 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
$5,231,249 - $6,539,062 : Two 1st's, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick
$6,539,062 or more : Four 1st round picks
"The amount is determined by taking the total compensation due in the Offer Sheet, and dividing by the number of years specified in the Offer Sheet, or five (5) - whichever is less."
With the Salary cap expected to remain close to the same level as this season or decrease slightly, I don't foresee the compensation changing much. That would put Mo's value somewhere between a 2nd round pick and a combination of a first and third round pick if you balance out what he asked for and what was awarded in arbitration.
If you think back to recent trade deadlines, the Caps got Fedorov for a second round drafted player (Ruth), and Huet for a 2nd round pick, so either scenario a 2nd or a 1st AND a 3rd could land some serious help at the trade deadline. Huet and Fedorov only required a 2nd round pick in part due to their expiring contracts. Any team that trades for Mo would control his rights for a bit longer.
Still, I would count on Mo being a significant piece of a multi player trade sometime before Free agency, most likely at the first day of the draft. He could be packaged with another mid level prospect in Hershey or a 2nd or 3rd round pick to get decent return. But this assumption raises questions...
1) If we're so ready to just let Mo walk, it doesn't seem likely that another team would trade a Defenseman deemed more valuable for Mo + Picks/Hershey prospect(s). Possibilites exist if the team is rebuilding and/or is trading a defenseman in the last year of a contract that they don't expect to resign. Still I think its more likely that Mo is how we address our need for a top 6 forward either a RW or a 2nd line C.
2) If you believe that Mo is our most tradeable assest, with Varly, Alzner, Neuvirth and Carlson being essentially un-tradeable, who/what do we package and what could we expect in return? Chris Bourque might be given more of a look at the NHL elsewhere. Flash's cheap contract might make him attractive to other teams, but its hard to trade a guy making only $750K that can score 20 goals. Sami Lepisto is recovering from an injured spleen which will certainly hurt his value.
3) What teams may be more open to adding an experienced top 4 d-man and a tweener or pick? I guess one might start at the bottom of this year's standings and work their way upward. Do any players on those rosters jump out at you?