So I still haven’t recovered from the soul-crushing sweep by Tampa Bay, but I will allow myself to take solace in focusing on how to rebuild the team for next season. Our 2011-2012 season has already started … might as well make good use of the “extra” time.
Many people have expounded on the topic of the Caps’ free agents, here are my thoughts:
Arnott – Like the veteran leadership, like that he spoke his mind – and the team listened. Very important second part there. He’s not what he once was, but Arnott can still contribute, particularly the locker room intangibles, a poor Caps fan’s Sergei Federov circa 2008. And he’s easy on the eyes … but not $4.5M easy. If he’s willing to take a pay cut to stay here, this Caps fan is happy to see Arnott as our 2C – or even 3C – next year.
Brooks – What a nice guy, always says the right thing to the media, always a company guy. Although the company guy thing has gotten on my nerves recently. Newsflash – we may not need a full on shake up/shake out, but we sure need someone who’s willing to stir up the company a bit. My guess is someone will offer Brooks a nice increase to his $2M a year salary to have him play hard, say the right things and become a fan favorite. Just not sure it should be the Caps.
Brads – Who doesn’t love Matt Bradley? But for $1M a year and no scores in the playoffs – in contrast to years past when the chant was “needs more Bradley” and we got more (from) Bradley … I think Beagle or A-Gordo can do the job. Sorry.
B-Gordo – Kills penalties, wins faceoffs, and with Steckel gone, Gordon owns the fourth line. If only he’d score every now and again. Or even threaten to find the back of the net. Still, for $800K, he’s a gritty guy at the right price.
Hannan – People disagree, but I thought he was a good addition. And with all the issues on the blueline, it’s a good thing GMGM picked him up when he did. Still, $4.5M seems a lot to pay someone to anchor your third defensive pairing. This off season, GMGM needs to add some depth here, and I would guess he’ll need to fill Hannan’s slot, too. See ya Scottie.
Sturm – Great speedster whizzing around with MJ90 and Chimera, but never seemed to get it into the net. And at $3.5M, doesn’t seem like the right guy to keep around.
Collins – I add him here, but do we really need to discuss? More on GMGM’s to-do list.
Alzner – RFA – Here’s a no-brainer. Carlzner is the future of this team. This blue line pairing of Carlson and Alzner grew into their own. Yes, there were flashes of playoff failure – mostly from Carly – but this pair got it done. They did everything. In retrospect, they were asked to do too much. Alzner should be a fixture on the Caps blueline for years to come. I wouldn’t mind seeing Alzner take a turn at the point on the powerplay. Why not see what he can do?
Varly – I love Varly. Great upside, and when he’s on his game, he is on. He’s got ice in his veins – except when he doesn’t and then he really melts down, in high style. There’s something to be said for that. Can he stay healthy? That’s the big question, right? Right now, the Caps have 3 good goalie prospects – one has to go. I’d like to say that Varly and Holtby are here next year, but for the right defenseman, Varly might be worth the swap.
But it’s what GMGM thinks that counts.