Thursday, July 08, 2010

Eric Fehr Returns!

Eric Fehr signs with the Capitals for $4.4 million for two years. Needless to say, I'm down with the cause.

Last season was the first chance folks got to see a healthy Fehr on the ice. When Fehr was in Hershey, he dealt with injuries that hindered his full skill set from coming out. Even in the beginning of this season, the 24-year-old's ice time was very limited because of injuries as well.

As mentioned before in my pre-signing post, despite Fehr's little ice time, he proved to be very efficient, if you look at his production for the time he was on the ice. He's also fantastic defensively, as a potential two-way forward is always welcomed in Washington.

I look forward to seeing him on the ice even more next season.

So Tomas Fleischmann is left to re-sign... I may have mixed feelings about him like I have mixed feelings about whether I like Jefferson Starship, but there must be something worth re-signing - I feel it. Plus, with the Caps' love for re-signing players grown within the system (the past three signings example enough?), I would assume Flash sticks around too, leaving probably 3 million for someone else...

Stay tuned... the saga will continue...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Jeff Schultz re-signed

" If Schultz deal is as reported #Caps would have about $10.8 million left to sign Fehr and Fleischmann and then fill the last 3 roster spots."
@Bmcnally14 - Twitter around noon today

Today the Caps re-signed Jeff Schultz for a 4-year deal for up to $3 million. With this piece of information aforementioned, it seems there probably is a plan in place to make some kind of move to obtain players for the Caps.

As mentioned before, Schultz has slight potential to be a solid guy on the team. A four-year signing would say Washington would say the same. I still think that Schultz's numbers were inflated because of the entire team's performance early in the year. However, I will give him full credit for 129 blocked shots, which is more of an effort from him to do so than a lot of other defensemen on the Caps (129 blocked shots is pretty below average for what the Caps could be doing in that department). Maybe that stat will go up this year.

Once the Caps accomplish re-signing Flash and Fehr then, there is room for a cheap outsider, or two reeeeeally cheap outsiders. I sure hope whomever the Caps get is quality and will be a difference-maker and not a random Joe-Coschmo... Speaking of which, Joe Corvo signed back with the Carolina Hurricanes for $4.5 million today. I didn't want him back anyway.

I can just see this method of signing though being like waiting to get a new game console or a phone. You see the console or phone, and you think it's cool, and you'd love to have it, except you know that paycheck is for other things like groceries or your girlfriend (t-he-he). So you have to wait for the price people pay to go down, and then once it's at your liking, you go get it. It is in hope, however, that by the time the price goes down a bit, the product doesn't suck or have issues because the better ones are gone already... I digress...

So two moves in two days, we will continue on with this saga of WTF Caps. Until later... or until Ilya Kovalchuk signs with someone... *turns television to ESPN 10 to watch hour long announcement of where he will play - in Russian*

*Evgeni Nabokov signed in the KHL btw. Sorry teams that need a goalie. He probably is on the downside anyway.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Boyd Gordon Counts in the Offseason, Right?

Just quickly, I would like to state that the Capitals have re-signed Boyd Gordon for under a million for one year... It's a move! Be happy!

Gordon was out for a large portion of last season from injuries. However, Gordon's above average faceoff percentage, efficiency on the penalty kill and hard-nosed style for going after pucks are things the Capitals NEED going into next season.

This doesn't mean though that there's nothing else the Caps need and that there are no other holes to fill. Contrary to popular belief, the Caps have a little more cap room than we like to believe, depending on who they choose to re-sign and keep through next season. As previously stated, I would have loved to trade Alex Semin, but as we've all exhausted, no one wants to carry that burden ($$$ wise of course!). Washington will be able to make-do then with what they currently have.

In acceptance for what the situation is, I can't complain because "it is what it is."

Caps Offseason Signing Issues Continue

As if the sense of urgency folks feel for the Capitals to sign players wasn't enough, three current Caps players filed for arbitration yesterday: Tomas Fleichmann, Eric Fehr, and Jeff Schultz.

With this now becoming a primary concern, and as the Caps look into future players they must re-sign, the rush to sign outside players becomes less of an issue. While I still think Washington has holes that need to be filled by a player from the outside i.e. defense, I can vision signing these Caps more of a priority.

I'm really a big fan of Fehr. Fehr, 24, had his best season to date last year, and I think his presence will make a difference in the future for Washington. Despite his limited time on the ice, Fehr still was able to get 21 goals and finish with 39 points. The numbers seem low for the high-scoring Caps offense, but Fehr scored goals at very opportune times and made things happen when he did get out there ratio-wise. He also did show up in the playoffs when he was put on the ice. I say give Fehr more time on the ice and he'll be able to show

Jeff Schultz. Yes, I always call him a traffic cone, and, yes, I sometimes attribute his improved numbers from last year to the performance of his peers and not his own (things like plus/minus - a misleading stat I believe). But for the flak I always give Schultz, I think he could actually fully turn out in about one more season.

The Caps do need defense, and with Schultz's familiarity of the system and improving play, he could become pretty useful. For the time he spent on ice last season, the team will ability to evenly distribute time among defensemen; Mike Green can get a break!

Finally Fleischmann... I used to defend him often. My favorite showing of Flash came when he returned from his blood clot and displayed some versatility, helping the Caps power play slightly and also playing on the penalty kill. He recorded 51 points this year, adding to that necessary secondary scoring.

But the 26-year-old winger's invisibility during the playoffs put question marks around him. Almost Semin-esque, Flash can choose to show up or not; usually when he's picked on he'll show up big, but if left alone, he seems to fade away. Nonetheless, I say sign him and see what he'll do when Bruce Boudreau leaves him alone and trusts him to show up. Maybe the key will be to not pick on him and test him, but to just let him play. After all, I'll admit I wasn't the biggest fan of scratching Flash for Scott Walker in Game 7 *bitterness*.

Like I said before, however, the Caps still have holes they need to get filled now if they intend to win at all. I COMPLETELY understand that the prices that these quality players went for on the first couple days of free agency were slightly astronomical. But who wouldn't want to play for Washington? Had the Caps been in the front of the race for some of these guys, they definitely could have gotten some players for a more reasonable price. My addiction to Pawn Stars on the History Channel and experience in sales have shown me that negotiations can work in your favor, and with such negotiations, some folks will make accommodations to close the deal.

All of this just shows that Caps fans just have to deal with it (like that's anything different). None of us outside of the front office really know the plan that GMGM has for the team (of course, unless you work directly with the team). For all we know, the Caps could care less about winning the Cup this or next year and want to wait another five years... O_o... Okay, I doubt that but still...

As a fan for over a decade now, I still don't know exactly how to feel about this offseason. All year, I thought this was the Caps' best chance to win it all, and then fairly quickly, that idea was shot to hell. So naturally, I assume that next year would lead to victory with a couple of additions. Clearly though, it's not that simple. I would love to see the Caps make moves to win tomorrow, but I guess if I would take winning three out of four seasons over winning once, and never seeing it happen again.

Looking at other Caps news, rookie camp begins next week. That's about it.

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And all condolences to the family of former NHL player, Bob Probert (Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings), who passed away yesterday at the age of 45 from heart failure. About the time I began watching hockey, Probert was still playing. He retired in 2003. Can't tell you how much I loved watching those clips of his fights when I was younger. It's definitely a little more personal in actually having memory of watching the guy play.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Caps Inactivity on Day 1

So I haven't been here for a while. I've been working quite a bit, as I am on a mission. But I have a day off today so I thought I'd take advantage.

Yesterday was the much anticipated first day of NHL free agency. All the hockey fans who have gotten over the NHL and AHL playoffs and the Draft have been looking forward to this day. I personally was even more excited for free agency than the Draft.

Noon came around and I'm hearing a few deals of defensemen signing with various teams. Many who expected the Capitals to sign a defenseman yesterday were quite disappointed, and actually rather pissed off. The heavily desired defenseman Anton Volchenkov from the Ottawa Senators ended up signing with the New Jersey Devils (something NJ hardly ever lacks anyway). Former Capital Sergei Gonchar can finally dodge the hate from Caps fans as he left the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Senators, who let go of Volchenkov.

Other defenseman signings included Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin who went to Pittsburgh, Dan Hamhuis, who left for the Vancouver Canucks, Jordan Leopold who is now a Buffalo Sabre and Toni Lydman now on the Anaheim Ducks.

I, along with a few others, believe Washington could really use a quality defenseman; one who could preferably stay at home and truly play defense. I am one who advocates signing a free agent, because considering the Caps' window for being a top Stanley Cup contender, I would hope they are trying to win it all this year. After next year, I believe that window starts closing, especially after the shortcomings of the previous two seasons.

An aggressive approach to signing this free agency period would be important. The best would be gone after Day 1, and most likely none would be left after Day 2. If you know what you need and want, I say go after it.

However, I also understand the delay. Most of the defenseman signings yesterday, regardless of how quality these guys were, were in price ranges that I don't think the Capitals want to deal with right now. I am a proponent of being smart at least when being aggressive.

Nonetheless, the sitting-down-doing-nothing approach does slightly annoy me, and annoys many other true Caps fans as well (trust me, it's not just those who don't understand hockey who are frustrated). The only move Washington has made today in Day 2 of free agency was sign goalie Dan Sabourin (name sounds familiar I know). This was clearly a move to replace Michael Neuvirth, who the Caps are ready to bring up permanently to the big team along with Semyon Varlamov re: the unsigning of Jose Theodore.

Another free agency concern for the Capitals includes a strong center. I was a huge Eric Belanger fan during the season; it's always great to have another great faceoff guy on the team. There seem to be players on the AHL Champion Hershey Bears that could potentially fill that spot i.e. Mathieu Perreault, etc. I'm not opposed at all. But I would assume the window argument as well. Regardless my main signing concern is defense.

It's only 10 a.m. though on Day 2. I'll be patient and see what happens.
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