Ever since the Capitals were ousted in the first round, there has been no shortage of reasons why- ranging from “stars” like Semin & Green letting them down to Peter prematurely shaving his beard despite us HAVING A PACT. But I am not bitter. Instead, we look towards the future, which looks bright:
- Nicklas Backstrom signed a long-term extension, ensuring we will see dozens (nay hundreds!) of Backstrom-to-Ovechkin goals over the next decade.
- The Habs proved to be legit, knocking out Crysby and the Pens in the 2nd round and making it to the Eastern Conference Finals before being ousted by Philadelphia.
- Neil Greenberg managed to go to a series-clinching game up in Hershey and didn’t jinx it.
So the focus is now on the rumors surrounding how the Caps will look to prevent a repeat of 2009-10, and it starts with a simple real estate transaction: Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov has put his Ottawa house up for sale.
It makes sense: Anton Volchenkov turned down a 5 year, $20 million contract before the Olympics and the Capitals surely have a stay-at-home defenseman (Russian optional) on their “How Do We Make Sure This NEVER Happens Again” shopping list. But what does it mean for the rest of the D-Men?
Looking at their roster now, the following D-Men are under contract for the 2010-11 season:
- Mike Green
- Tom Poti
- John Erskine
- Tyler Sloan
- Karl Alzner
- John Carlson
Jeff Schultz is a RFA, but I am sure after leading the NHL in +/- we will see him wearing the Weagle again come opening night.
We will probably say goodbye to UFAs Shaone Morrisonn, Milan Jurcina and Joe Corvo – a deadline deal that never quite clicked, however it did leave to so some pretty awesome pirate jokes.
So let’s speculate on the pairings, assuming Volchenkov joins his fellow comrades in a Caps sweater:
Some people think the signing of Volchenkov means the end of Semin in a Caps sweater, but I think Alzer is the one who loses out. Boudreau has said we would see “The Future Is Now” pairing of Carlson & Alzner next season, however, if Alzner is regulated to the third line, which I believe he would be, I think it makes more sense to either:
- get him more time in Hershey, or,
- trade him to upgrade at another position.
In addition to a “stay at home” defenseman, the Caps need to upgrade their 2nd line Center (and resign Belanger as the 3rd line center, in my opinion) but the UFA crop of centers is awfully bleak this year making me think that Alzer would be shipped to help fill that void.