Capitals Off-season Report
Vokoun Traded to Pittsburgh
The Washington Capitals traded goaltender, Tomas Vokoun earlier this week to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a seventh round draft pick in this year's draft. As the Stanley Cup Finals are winding down to the end, the NHL Entry Draft creeps closer. Coming on June 22nd, the draft is a great opportunity for any of the 32 teams in the NHL to greatly improve their teams. Even if a team like the Capitals do not have the highest draft position, through trades and future considerations, a team can bump up their roster as well as draft position.
One thing the Capitals front office have been able to do well consistently is draft great talent. Every franchise, no matter how well they draft, will have some flops when it comes to players; it is inherent in the drafting process. This Vokoun trade gives the Capitals another draft pick in their arsenal to use or to trade away. Regardless, the Capitals have two very capable goaltenders on their roster and can let go of a 35 year old, somewhat injury prone veteran.
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Capitals Cap Room Scenario
The general manager George McPhee of the Washington Capitals has a ton of analytics, statistics, and scenarios to not only cover before the NHL Entry Draft, but also for evaluating his own team and free agents. The Capitals have a ton of cap room to play with during the off-season and depending on their drafting, they might have to save some money in order to sign said draft picks, especially if they trade up in the first round.
As of right now, the Capitals have $25,267,651 of cap room according to CapGeek.com. If the Capitals were to resign everyone who is a free agent from last season, the Capitals would have $14,155,151 of cap room to acquire big name free agents(paying them what they earned the previous year). However, the Capitals have already told Mike Knuble that they do not plan on resigning him, leaving $16,155,151. It is a bit ridiculous to assume they will resign every free agent, but for projecting which free agents the Capitals can go after, it is somewhat necessary.
In an unofficial report on Rick Nash's trade list, the Columbus Dispatch reports that the list goes as such: 1)New York Rangers 2)San Jose Sharks 3) Toronto Maple Leafs 4)Boston Bruins 5) Carolina Hurricanes 6) Capitals. The Columbus Blue Jackets desire a goaltender in making a deal however, will make the trade if a desirable one comes along without one. Nash's contract has a $7.8 million cap hit each of the next six seasons.
If the Capitals make a trade for Nash, or attempt to sign a big-named free agent, they will have plenty of cap room to then sign almost any free agents they want. If the Capitals do not go after Nash, they will have enough cap space to sign Zach Parise($6 million), Dustin Penner($4.25 million), or even Ryan Suter($3.5 million).
The fact of the matter is the Capitals have plenty of room to acquire some great new pieces during the off-season, especially if Alex Semin is not coming back next season. To be honest, Semin has not been performing up to his $6.7 million salary, considering he only scored 54 points in each of the last two seasons. Plus, his laziness to get back on defense causes the Capitals to spend a lot of extra time on the penalty kill, considering he registered 127 penalty minutes combined in the last two seasons.
The Capitals are better off parting ways with Semin. However, the Capitals will not be better off without the Russian right winger if the Capitals do not acquire better pieces with the extra cap room. There are plenty of big names in the free agent list that would and could make the Capitals team much stronger. For all Capitals fans, it would really help if the Capitals had some excitement during the off-season because usually the Capitals do not go after high profile free agents. Hopefully, McPhee sees good pieces in the list of free agency.
By: Stephen London
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer