Now that I have gotten my feelings on free agency out of my system, I’m ready to take a look at some of the bargain UFAs that may still be available. I mean, does it matter if I think Matthew Lombardi was a decent contract and second line center option while you say The Little Viking, Matty P. and/or Flash can handle the load, since we’ll both be cheering the Caps to a Cup anyway? Together. Like BFFs?
Speaking of BFFs, some of your favorite Caps filed for arbitration, and if history is any guide, all three will be in line for sizable raises over last year’s salary. Since there was virtually no FA signing during “The Frenzy”, I would say — that unless something crazy happens– all three will be on the Caps roster come opening night. It doesn’t make sense to let a talented player walk away for nothing and that’s what the Caps would have to do if they decided the arbitration awards were too high.
To me, a worse case scenario would be:
- Flash, $2.5 million
- Fehr, $2 million
- Schultz, $3 million
Anything up to those amounts and I think the Caps will agree. Under this scenario, the Caps would have ~$5.3 million left for two (2) open roster slots (according to Capgeek). With that said, here are three players I think could be available for a decent (read: “bargain”) price:
There could be debate as to whether he is ready to be a Top 4 Defenseman, and while he certainly wasn’t paid like one ($587,500 cap hit in 2010), his numbers suggest he could be a true bargain– perhaps even a budding shutdown blueliner.
Frederick Meyer IV started only 45.3% of the time in the offensive zone. He had the worst teammate ranking (CorsiQoT = -5.787) on the NYI blueline. He also faced decent opposition (CorsiQoc = .508) playing for the Isles. Those are some tough minutes on the ice. Despite playing in his own end, with weak teammates and against the better than average competition, he still had a positive shot ratio (Corsi=0.40) and was the only blueliner on NYI where his team had a better goal differential when he was on the ice (CorsiOn = 1.36). He also blocked 2.36 shots per 60 minutes on the ice.
As a 4th or 5th DMan, I think Meyer could be an excellent bargain.
Some of you may be familiar with him and be surprised he is on this list, but he knows the Caps system and is not a bad option at the pivot. No word on whether or not he would demand a better dental plan.
Despite starting only 46.3% of the time in the offensive zone he still managed to put up almost two points per 60 minutes of ice time – in line with all the other Washington centers whose name doesn’t rhyme with Pickless Mackstrom. Add to that the second best Corsi number (.48) on the Caps and for less than $2mil, I think he is a decent bargain.
At 37 years old anything outside of a one-year contract and this ceases to be a bargain, but with three Stanley Cups for two different teams he could be the experienced veteran who knows how to win the Caps need.
His starting a measly 37.1 % of the time in his own offensive zone could explain the lack of offensive production more than his age, but Washington wouldn’t need his offensive output. Instead, they could use a center who at 36 played against the second best competition with the worst teammates the Hawks had to offer their pivots on their way to a Stanley Cup.
After making $2,750,000 last year, we can’t be sure he would take less, but you don’t get to sign a 3-time Cup winner everyday.