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Road to the Stanley Cup Gets Harder, Carlson Still Not Signed

 

Over the course of the weekend, the hockey world and the Nashville Predators had to absorb the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers signed All-Star defenseman Shea Weber to a 14 year, $110 million offer sheet. Considering Shea Weber was a restricted free agent, the Predators could match the offer or would get supplemental draft picks.

Numerous outlets have been reporting that the Predators do plan on matching the Flyers offer sheet with the intent to trade the Canadian defenseman. If the Predators were to match the offer and trade Weber, the 6'4" 234 pound defenseman would end up in the Eastern Conference in the hopes that the Predators will not have to play against Weber.

Not only can the Eastern Conference teams expect Weber one way or another, they can also prepare to play against Rick Nash. Yesterday, the saga of Rick Nash wanting to be traded by the Columbus Blue Jackets ended with a trade to the New York Rangers. The Blue Jackets get a first round pick, forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov as well as defenseman Tim Erixon.

The Rangers have had offensive issues the last couple of seasons, hence why they were willing to give up so much for one forward. The Rangers have had one of the best goaltenders in the league in Henrik Lundqvist for years and have seen their playoff runs end due to their lack of offensive firepower. Acquiring Nash is exactly what the Rangers needed; a forward who is known for creating a lot of scoring opportunities.

While acquiring Nash will really help the offensive issues that have plagued the Rangers and the Flyers most likely getting Weber will help their defensive struggles, both of these moves means one thing for the Washington Capitals and the rest of the Eastern Conference teams: It just became a lot harder to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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As the Eastern Conference progressively gets harder, the Capitals have yet to sign young gun defenseman John Carlson. The Capitals either consider Mike Green a more integral part of the team, or Carlson is asking for too much money. Green, although he has been injured most of the last two regular seasons, was signed to a three-year, $18.25 million contract eight days ago.

Carlson on the other hand, has played in every game in the last two seasons while having the highest plus/minus of any Capitals defenseman in the 2010-2011 season(+21). Also, Carlson led the Caps defensemen in points in the playoffs this past season with five points (2 goals, 3 assists). Carlson has been a key part to the Caps defensive unit, especially when he is on the same defensive unit as Karl Alzner.

For whatever reason, the Capitals and Carlson have still not come to an agreement despite Carlson's restricted free agent tag. Needless to say, Carlson will be needed this upcoming season as a Capital, especially because of the departure of Dennis Wideman. Perhaps the Capitals management is waiting for the new collective bargaining agreement to be signed in order to pay less for Carlson. However, this tactic could be seen in poor light by Carlson's camp, making the next time Carlson becomes a free agent even harder to keep him in a Caps sweater.

 

 

By: Stephen London
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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