Ovi looking up - Rob Carr

Photo: Rob Carr

By Wednesday afternoon, I expect the roster of the Washington Capitals roster to be drastically different.

I’ve been saying some version of that since 2012, but I really mean it this time. With a plural number of players having requested trades, a solid week of blown two-goal leads, and rumors of George McPhee’s contract expiring at the end of the season, you gotta think the Caps are motivated to make changes.

I’m no good at guessing trades and I’m not any kind of insider, but I really do think multi-player trades are coming down the pike. Keeping the playoff streak in tact, negotiating a new contract from a point of strength, striving for results while Ovi is in a renaissance– these all seem like good reasons to be active this week.  I’ve got a bunch more of those reasons in this week’s snapshot, which, despite two wins and five points, isn’t all that sunny.

Even though it’s now Monday morning, these are the numbers as of six PM on Sunday, March 2nd. The sample is restricted to 5-on-5 play while the score is close. That means within one goal in the first two periods and tied in the third. That way special teams, blowouts, and comebacks don’t color the data. Stats of note are highlighted in powderpuff pink and discussed below.

See previous snapshots: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, week 5, week 6, week 7, week 8, week 9, week 10, week 11, week 12, week 13, week 14, week 15, week 16, week 17, week 18, week 19

Forwards

Player Pos GP TOI GF GA SA% Sh% Sv% PDO ZS%
Aaron Volpatti L 40 195.9 3 5 39.3% 4.6% 94.7% 99.4 52.7%
Alex Ovechkin L 58 543.5 19 22 50.3% 6.3% 92.6% 98.9 60%
Brooks Laich C 47 373.6 12 10 46.9% 7.4% 94.5% 101.9 51%
Eric Fehr R 53 430.2 13 17 51.2% 5.9% 92% 97.9 47.8%
Jason Chimera L 62 494.9 25 24 47.9% 9.6% 91.3% 100.9 45.3%
Jay Beagle C 42 253 3 6 45.8% 3% 94.5% 97.6 51.2%
Joel Ward R 62 477.9 24 22 49.3% 9.7% 91.4% 101.1 47.1%
Marcus Johansson C 61 515.5 18 24 47.9% 7.6% 91.2% 98.7 53.5%
Martin Erat R 53 389.4 20 18 51.4% 10% 91% 101 49.9%
Michael Latta C 17 67.6 3 4 48.1% 10.3% 88.2% 98.6 48.5%
Mikhail Grabovski C 50 432.6 20 14 50.5% 8.7% 93.9% 102.5 51.7%
Nicklas Backstrom C 62 568.2 20 24 50.3% 6.6% 92.3% 98.9 56.3%
Tom Wilson R 62 288.1 7 9 45.8% 6.4% 93% 99.4 56.6%
Troy Brouwer R 62 501.2 17 15 47.5% 8.1% 94.2% 102.3 48.8%

Defense

Player Pos GP TOI GF GA SA% Sh% Sv% PDO ZS%
Nate Schmidt D 29 283.1 12 10 50.6% 8.5% 93.4% 101.8 55.9%
John Erskine D 34 318.4 13 14 46.2% 8.8% 91.5% 100.3 47.1%
John Carlson D 62 635.5 19 28 46.8% 6.1% 91.9% 98.1 50.2%
Karl Alzner D 62 637.4 19 23 47.3% 6.3% 93.1% 99.3 50.2%
Mike Green D 54 620.6 24 21 54.3% 7.3% 92.7% 100.1 55.9%
Connor Carrick D 23 205.9 5 8 43.6% 5.7% 92.9% 98.6 49.4%
Dmitry Orlov D 36 424.9 14 15 54.4% 6.5% 92.1% 98.5 52.3%

Observations

  • Team puck possession (i.e. even-strength shot-attempt percentage when the score is close) dropped this week to 49.70% from 49.76%. I still think the Caps will be a 50+ team by the end of the season. Had they not played spectacularly badly after the first period of Sunday’s mess against the Flyers, they’d certainly have improved on the week. Right now they’re 18th in the league. I’ve got no delusions of them cracking the top 12, but somewhere between 13 and 15 could happen. Maybe? Please?
  • Why are the Caps so so bad when they’re leading? There’s a possession drop off of five percentage points when they’re leading compared to when the game is close. SCOAR MOAR GOALS used to be one of my favorite things about this team. Now it is anathema. (For them, not me. I still like it. A lot.)
  • The average PDO of the Caps’ positive possession forwards is 99.87. The average PDO of the Caps’ negative possession forwards is 100.48. That’s sloppy math, but here’s the takeaway: the team’s best forwards– like Ovi and his 6.3% on-ice shooting or Erat and his 91% on-ice saving– are getting hosed. On the other hand, there’s Chimera’s 9.6% on-ice shooting and Volpatti’s 94.7% on-ice saving. The result is a muting of the good stuff and a masking of the bad stuff. I wonder if that’s resulted in a reluctance to make the changes this team needs to make.
  • Everything happens when Mike Green and Dmitry Orlov are on the ice. In our sample– just 26 minutes of ice time for MG52 over 3 games– the Caps scored 6 goals. It was 5 for Orlov. Whatever happens regarding Orly’s dumb penalty, I’d prefer to see them stick together– even if a trade brings in a new defender or Jack Hillen comes back. Now if you wanna call up Nate Schmidt, I’m all ears…
  • Connor Carrick is not cut out for this. He ranks 194th out of 232 defensemen who have played at least 15 games in overall puck possession. And we can’t pin it on John Erskine either. When they’re together, the Caps get about half of the shot attempts. When they’re broken up, Carrick dips to 43.3%. If Big Ersk is pulling you up, you know that ain’t good.
  • I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this will be the last snapshot with Martin Erat on it. Though I was disappointed by his shot output (more on that later), I’ve been really pleased with him overall. He lifted some really weak lines in the first few weeks and kept the Chimera-Ward line producing once Grabo moved on to greener pastures. Despite the raw deal Oates gave him, he’ll depart the Capitals (probably) as the team’s best forward at driving play towards the other dude’s net during close games (51.4% shot attempts).
  • And now, the saddest graph I could find this week:

ovi-noooo

  • That chart shows how the Caps have tilted the ice when Ovi was on the bench over the last seven seasons. When people say that the Capitals fail or succeed based on Alex Ovechkin’s production, they’re right– but it hasn’t always been that way. After 2010, the team’s depth vanished along with Fedorov and Semin and a bunch of sturdy bottom-six players on good contracts like Gordon, Steckel, Perreault and even– to some extent– my boy Matt Bradley. In recent years, the middle of the Caps payroll has swelled without bringing concomitant performance. Now there are relatively big contracts for middle-six players who are in the red possession-wise, and they’re all playing a meeker style of hockey than what brought this team to prominence in the first place. If you’re in Camp Rebuild, that chart above should nourish you. Let’s see what McPhee does. This is a big week.

Glossary

  • GP: Games played
  • TOI: Time on ice
  • GF: Capitals goals for which the player was on the ice
  • GA: Opponent goals for which the player was on the ice
  • SA%: Percentage of shot attempts (from both teams) that went towards the opponent’s net, excluding blocked shots
  • Sh%: Capitals’ shooting percentage while the player was on the ice
  • Sv%: Capitals’ goalie save percentage while the player was on the ice
  • PDO: The sum of Sh% and Sv%, a number that regresses closely to 100 in larger samples; a proxy for luck, in a sense– i.e. high ≈ lucky
  • ZS%: The share of shifts the player started in the offensive zone, excluding neutral-zone starts; data not limited to close games.

Thanks to ExtraSkater.com for the stats.

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  • JenniferH

    This is where my newbie status totally comes into play. I don’t know nearly enough about players on other teams to say ‘yeah, get this guy!’ but please, somehow, someway get enough of ‘this guys’ that we need to make a difference if it’s possible. If not, let’s go for that sorely needed rebuild and give up on the playoff dream this season.

  • Brackaphobia

    I have a feeling that we are going to see some guys go that I don’t want to see go.

    http://img.pandawhale.com/post-24874-I-dont-want-to-talk-about-it-g-rNGD.gif

  • Ceelo

    I’d for one like to see some of these middle payroll guys shipped. As far as I’m concerned there are three untouchables (OV, Backy, Carly). Anyone else is open season if it is going to boost this roster.

  • John Atchison

    Guys, I simply have no confidence that this front office is capable of pulling off anything of that nature. Gone are the David Poile days when a trade for a Dino C or someone of that nature happens. It has always been bit players or guys that were over the hill. I give him credit for getting Federov with a bit of juice left in the tank, but when you have had this many years and done a whole lot of nothing, your credibility is gone.

  • Steve

    Man that “When Ovi isn’t playing” chart really does make me sad. Especially for a Monday. :(

    I feel GMGM would give away his left arm for any trade at all regardless of whether it’s in the best interest of the Caps long term goals (as proven last year). But I’d also note it’s dangerous to make any moves if planning a GM change (or coaching change) for next year. That is – unless the Caps are clearly sellers – and we’d simply rather sell on the basis of “If we make the playoffs, great – but we’re not going far even if we do.”

    From a fan standpoint – a bit torn between which I want. “Blockbuster” trades under GMGM’s potential last year makes me anxious. We’ve needed solid D-men for what seems to be like forever (actually – I’ll revise that to say simply ‘modest’ D-men to be more realistic) – but we still nothing to show for it yet.

  • Shaggy

    This is going to be a difficult deadline, I think. Cap room will play a role, as will the salary $ of some of the guys the Caps should probably move (as in – who would be willing or could afford to take on a large contract). And what of Grabo? Will his recent injury put off a resigning? Will his coming raise impact the deadline, and potential moves? I would think it would.

    I think the only way they move Erat is to take on some salary, so that isn’t a total win. It would seem the most obvious – and easiest – part to move is Neuvirth. Move him somewhere, get something, and bring up Grubauer. But if GMGM is on think ice, maybe he’s shacked as I think someone suggested.

    I don’t get Carrick, either. Maddening. Yes, d is critical this year. Say no to the Hannan’s and Corvo’s of the world, though.

    GMGM needs to go, but … the guy is surely passionate about the team. He has actually in a box at the game yesterday, probably 15 feet away from me. And he was into the entire game. Talking to himself, getting visibly frustrated, venting at some suits. Obviously that means nothing when it comes to the results and play on the ice, but there’s little doubt (to me) that the guy is passionate. Then again, his job is on the line, sooo …

  • Shaggy

    I think if you go the rebuild route, not only do you waste Ovie this year and next year, you would quite possibly be looking at the year after that as well. Then the interest in the team goes down the crapper, Ovie gets frustrated, more trade demands … ugly.

  • http://twitter.com/1bscarbro Benjamin Scarbro

    Have you guys thought about doing a post of George’s trade deadline history?? Maybe showing his trends in when he makes the deals and how big they are? Heart, Ben.

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/george-mcphee-angry.jpg

  • JenniferH

    Well, when I say rebuild I guess I’m meaning rebuild around Ovi with fitting in the slots because yeah an actual rebuild would take too long.

  • Lawrence

    I gotta be honest, I think we are a much better team with Erat in our lineup. Even though he may not have the best production, he just passes the “eye” test to me. Hes very consistent and blends very well up and down our roster.

    That said, if he still wants to leave, well not much we can do about that. We would have to trade him in that type of scenario. I would suggest packaging Neavuy, Erat, and something else (maybe a pick/prospect or brouwer) for a top 4 defenseman. That would make this team instantly better as in my eyes, our D is by far our weakest point.

  • Austin Baird

    I’m in the same boat, I’ll watch and wait to see what they do, but not educated enough make any sort of prediction

  • ErskSMASH

    THANK YOU! .. for noting how carrick is not cut out for this and giving ersk his fair dues..carrick is not big enough for the nhl and anybody who saw him gettin ragdolled vs flyers (or any other game really) can see it..ersk gets criticism like hes a top 4 dman which is unfair and more of a gmgm problem

    id love to see us: get another shutdown top4 dman and/or ryan kessler (especially if grabo injury is serious)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’m with 100%. Erat is great, but McPhee has said in the past that he’ll respect players’ wishes to leave.

    Unfortunately, his trade value has gone down significantly. I’m worried the Caps won’t be able to deal him without retaining salary.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’ll have a thing about GMGM and trades once a certain something-something comes through.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    You’re so right about the cap being a problem. If the Caps want to give away Erat, they’ve gotta find a team that can clear the space. It’ll be tough, but I think he’s motivated to find a deal.

  • Michael Reschly

    Retaining salary: does this mean cash from Ted’s wallet or cap hit? Both?

  • Barrett

    I’ve got two names to fix two problems:

    First problem is defense. The Capitals need a left handed defensman to pair with Mike Green. While I do like the pairing of Green and Orlov, it would be best to have each offensive player paired with a defensive one. Andrew MacDonald of the New York Islanders is a 26 year old left handed shot. He currently leads all players in blocked shots (198, which is 28 more than the next player) and is having his best year offensively. Rumor mill has the Islanders wanting a 1st round pick, so give it to them.

    Second problem is a scoring left winger. The Capitals have a log-jam at right wing and nobody to play left wing on the top-line with Ovechkin and Backstrom. The Martin Erat experiment didn’t work. Matt Moulson of the Buffalo Sabres is a 30 year old left winger with three consecutive 30+ goal campaigns leading up to the strike shortened season last year. He’s great in the dirty areas in-and-around the net and is also the husband to George McPhee’s god-daughter. Not sure what Buffalo wants, probably draft picks and prospects, but Erat has to be part of the deal.

    I was able to acquire MacDonald and keep his favorable $550,000 cap number without making any other moves. To acquire Matt Moulson, I sent Erat packing and retained 60% of his contract. Sent Connor Carrick back to Hershey and recalled Steve Oleksy leaving the Capitals with about $466,000 in cap room.

    New Lines:
    Moulson – Backstrom – Oveckin
    Fehr – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Chimera – Johansson – Ward
    Laich – Beagle – Wilson

    Alzner – Carlson
    MacDonald – Green
    Orlov – Erskine/Oleksy

    Holtby – Neuvirth

  • Chris

    I don’t think that GMGM will deal Erat not because there aren’t offers but because his pride or stubbornness won’t let him take something realistic when he gave up way too much. If he makes a move everyone will say they gave up a top prospect from the first round for a year of sub par play and a 4th or 3rd round pick. Either way it’s a bad situation but I’d rather see him stay at least for this year.

  • Barrett

    Both salary and cap hit.

  • Barrett

    I don’t think McPhee has any problems with his pride or stubborness to move him. The logistics of his salary and cap hit are going to be the problem. GMGM has always stated that if a player didn’t want to be in the Capitals organization he would try to accommodate their request.

  • Ben

    I like the idea of going for someone like MacDonald. Do you still make a trade for a left wing if Kuznetsov is coming over? I tend to think no.

  • Shaun Phillips

    I think 3 for 1 is a bit much, especially if Neuvy is part of it, but agree on Erat. Seems to have a calming presence on whatever line he’s on and holds the puck so well.

  • Shaun Phillips

    If GMGM really is on thin ice, I hope Ted has the veto over any potential trades as I could see GMGM mortaging the future (again) and costing the team well after he’s gone.

  • Barrett

    I don’t see Kuznetsov coming over and getting first line playing time going down the stretch during a playoff hunt when he doesn’t even speak English. The 2nd part would be Moulson is an UFA after the season, so there’s no guarantee he’s back. Same goes for Grabovski. Burakovsky is in the pipeline too, but I see him as a good 2nd line guy to replace Fehr and bump Fehr down to 3rd if/when Chimera hangs up the skates.

    Obviously if you (the GM) think that next season you are going to have both Kuznetsov and Burakovsky on the NHL roster, you don’t pull the trigger on a Moulson trade.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I’m not completely sure what the front office structure is – but the team has a bunch of great scouts, Assistant GM Don Fishman who graduated from Harvard http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/19/AR2008091903765.html , and President Dick Patrick – who’s family is one of the most famous in hockey. I’m not too worried. Overall, McPhee’s body of work at the deadline has been good – minus the Erat/Forsberg trade.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Not sure if Buffalo is willing to part with Matty M as he might be part of their rebuilding (depends on if they want to resign him). Guess it depends on what prospect/picks. Don’t forget, Kuzya is coming soon too which may solve some of the forward issues.

    Think Andy Mac would be a great fit. If all it takes is a 1st round pick, go for it, but I’m guessing they want more than that or else it would’ve already happened. Also love bringing back up Oleksy. It seemed like the team-D/toughness really dropped after Oleksy got sent down. #FreeBinky

  • John Atchison

    I think this spells out one of his biggest issues. McPhee is the guy all other GMs are looking for. Dump their high salary for prospects. Now we are the team with the least amount of space, but with the biggest contracts that no one wants. Erat will not get traded because no one is stupid enough to take on that contract for 1 goal

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Even strength, the Caps first line doesn’t score much. Putting Kuznetsov with Backstrom and Ovechkin could do some serious good, especially when there’s not a scouting report on him. Where you don’t want to put him immediately is the power play. That has been clicking and you do not want to mess with that. That’s more about coaching and quick decision making, something Kuznetsov would need time to develop.

  • RY

    Don’t take this as Comment Policy #13 please (lol) but I just yesterday wrote a Trade Deadline Preview. http://capscircle.blogspot.com/2014/03/washington-capitals-trade-deadline.html

  • Shaun Phillips

    To be fair to GMGM (1 and only time), the Erat/Forsberg trade wouldn’t have been such a disaster if Erat had been used properly.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Only way (probably) he gets traded is if the Caps keep some of the cap hit in the trade. Also, Erat is worth way more than 1 goal with his possession/play-making.

  • Barrett

    Yeah, but do you think it’s a good idea to insert a player that doesn’t speak English into a roster that potentially makes the playoffs? How the heck does the coaching staff communicate with him on the fly during a playoff series? There would have to be an translator on the bench so Oates and the coaching staff could tell him their adjustments and that just seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Josh Carey

    Is fluency in English a prerequisite for hockey? (See: Alex Semin)

  • Barrett

    I think the Capitals will have to retain 50% of his salary to make anything work. In that scenario, a team looking for playoff depth or to dump him in a year might take him.

  • Barrett

    I didn’t know Tomas Vokoun was a top-six forward… ;)

    Not sure Kulikov is a good fit. I like him, but he does was Orlov does. The Caps are missing that left handed shut-down d-man, not the offensive style of Kulikov.

  • Alex Hughes

    So you say that the Caps roster will be drastically different. Who do you expect to be traded besides Marty Erat and who will be brought in?

  • Josh Carey

    All of the proposed trades except goaltending aren’t possible due to cap space.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Given Grabo’s production this year minus his injuries, I think he’s due for a modest raise, but within the Caps budget. Moulson’s UFA status is what makes me nervous about giving up too much for him to start with. He could be a VERY expensive rental for ~1 month.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    He knows some English and is a master of the international language of hockey. Ovechkin and Orlov – who he’s both very close with – can translate and help him when necessary. It won’t a disaster and I wouldn’t worry about something like that.

    I’d be more worried about his surgically repaired shoulders absorbing hits.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    no no no, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    The Caps don’t need top-six forwards. They need bottom six depth guys that can carry play and defensemen.

  • Ash

    Isn’t Nate Schmidt injured, and has been since at least the AHL showcase?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I don’t expect specifics.

  • Barrett

    Just because Alexander Semin didn’t like speaking English during interviews, doesn’t mean he wasn’t able to communicate with the coaching staff.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    In honor of last night’s tumultuous loss to the philly flyers, I made yellow snow this morning. While this way indeed is work of art, I think it sums up what the capitals season has been thus far, an interesting pattern but melting in the stretch…

  • Barrett

    I agree, Grabovski needs a contract extension. I say pull the trigger on Moulson if you don’t expect Burakovsky at the NHL level next season and if you are willing to part with a player like Eric Fehr. Otherwise, ride it out and stick Kuznetsov on the top-line going into 2014-2015.

  • Josh Carey

    Kuzya understands English enough to communicate with the coaching staff too. He’ll be fine.

  • johnnymorte

    Now there are relatively big contracts for middle-six players who are in the red possession-wise..” That about hits the nail on the head. GMPH has dug himself a big whole because he has secured a plethora of non-tradeable assets that are all overpaid. “they’re all playing a meeker style of hockey than what brought this team to prominence in the first place.” That is also true, but we can’t go back to firewagon Gabby style because of that same conundrum. Success with that type of hockey you have to have the talent level of a Gretzkian Edmonton Oilers Even then you need a Grant Fuhr. Oates’s system can win us a cup. The problem is nobody wants what we’re selling and we have dire needs on D. We need quality and GMGM is always looking for value. Let’s hope he changes his outlook and delivers something big without doing something stupid.

  • TowsonTrumpetGuy .

    My ideal lineup once the smoke clears:
    Grabo-Backstrom-Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov-Ward-Chimera
    Fehr-Laich-Johansson
    Brouwer-Wilson-Beagle

    Green-Orlov/Alzner
    Carlson-Orlov/Alzner
    (New defenseman that we get from trading Neuvy and Erat) – Oleksy

    Reasoning: Grabo has really proved himself. And while Backstrom and Ovi have proved that they can do well no matter who they are paired with, I feel like splitting the two of them is akin to heresy.
    Ward and Chimera are an awesome pair this season, and I think the addition of Kuznetsov to the team, if all the hype is correct, fit him in nicely.

    Laich and Johansson are playmakers that have the opportunity to be really sneaky with the puck occasionally, and Fehr is Eric freaking Fehr. While I hate to see him relegated to third line or possibly fourth line minutes he really has the play to bring those lines something special.

    Brouwer and Wilson are the grit, and Beagle is…not really. I don’t like the term “grinder” for the fourth line but maybe Brouwer’s addition is what they need.

    As for defense, I’m not sure why I paired the way I did. All I know is that I would rather see Oleksy here than Erskine. I love the bear but I think it’s time to cash in on the trade value of some of our players.

    Thoughts? Maybe I’m just a neophyte still when it comes to hockey, but I would like to hear some other people’s thoughts.

  • Diller M

    “If Big Ersk is pulling you up, you know that ain’t good”~ ‘Nuff Said

    Also, I love the use of concomitant, very nice Peter, for those of you who did not attend JMU, the defination is “naturally accompanying or associated”

  • RY

    Yeah, I’m not sold on that either. Heck, I don’t think the Caps should go for a goalie at all, as you probably saw :)

  • RY

    *Thomas Vanek, sorry lol

  • Josh Carey

    I like the lineup as far as players go, but unfortunately Oates’ stubbornness with playing righties on the right and lefties on the left leads me to believe these combinations aren’t likely.
    More likely scenario I think would be:

    Kuzya-Nick-Ovi
    Mojo-Grabo-Brouwer
    Chimmer-Fehr-Ward
    Laich-Beags-Wilson.

    Alzner-Carlson
    Hopefully a top 4 LH dman – Green
    Orlov-(Probably Carrick, but hopefully Oleksy)

    Still there are problems with this. I don’t think Laich will be moved onto the fourth line. I’d much rather see Brouwer there, but that’s unlikely too. I think Kuzya will probably start on the fourth line and Laich will remain on the top line.

  • riggorules

    I’d love to see Alexander Edler, he’s a lefty, has a long-term deal at a $5M cap hit. If GMGM was able to get Erat off the payroll, it could work financially. Would likely require giving up one of their D prospects, and a first rounder. I’d make that deal, wishful thinking?

  • Clint Petty

    I am also very interested in giving Schmidt a chance. He never gave me the feeling of feeling as overwhelmed or wide-eyed at the NHL as Carrick has. I like how Schmidt wasn’t as shy offensively and seemed more physical than Carrick. I don’t have any stats to back any of this up and anything would be a small sample, but I’m all for him getting another shot in the NHL.

    That isn’t all we need to do obviously, but it’s a start. Really hope McPhee is running up a huge phone bill so far this week.

  • Clint Petty

    Is Kuzya a leftie?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I have one of his sticks from WJC’s. He’s a left-handed shot.

  • TowsonTrumpetGuy .

    I hope Grabo comes back soon, he’s become one of my favorite players. And yea, about Kuzya-I just think putting him on the top line before he’s adjusted to the team is not a brilliant move. Definitely not fourth line but second or third maybe just until he gets into the groove.

  • Charlotte Owens

    I’m voting for a three team trade in which we get matt Hendricks back and send erat packing. Its roughly the same salary cap hit but it gives back 1. Some grit to the bottom 6 2. A literally paralyzing penalty shot.
    Should have gotten Dan Girardi when he was there.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Shaun Phillips

    First you say Caps don’t need top 6 forwards, but then you mention there’s a lack of scoring 5v5 with the top line. Which one is it? :) I think there are plenty of mid/bottom 6 depth guys; they just happen to get top 6 minutes lately: Laich, Brouwer (to be fair, he’s picked it up), Fehr, and Mojo. I know I’ll take crap for saying Fehr and Mojo aren’t top 6, but I think they’re 2/3 guys instead of 1/2. You move them down there and bring in a top line wing and you’d have a much more balanced offense.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Grabovski comes back from injury. Kuznetsov flies over. You don’t need more top six guys. The depth players are really the concern for me.

  • dylan wheatley

    what the hell is a concomitant

  • Barrett

    I’m seeing rumors that Erat could be a fit for the Coyotes and that the Islanders should be a place to offer Neuvirth as part of a trade for MacDonald.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Ew MacDonald. No thanks.

  • Barrett

    Is this like a Jimmy Fallon, “Ew!” or just a regular ew because he’s an Islander?

  • jj

    if the caps make a move to only bolster offensive depth, and neglect bringing in a solid, stay at home defenseman, that will mark the end of the season as we know it. I definitely think we will still make the playoffs, but without a top d-man we are toast. Our PK will get exploited. But anyway, lets hope GMGM makes a serious splash.
    Also, on a side note, I thought Ovi was on the ice at the end of regulation for a little too long on the GTG. just think sometimes we press a little too hard to get Ovi the empty netters.

  • brian!

    True, but Fehr has repaired shoulders, and he’s *knock on wood* doing pretty well this season.

  • wood

    Not really sure you can burn the Forsberg trade as a bad deal…..normally when George jumps ship on a guy like Forsberg its because they see something in the player that just doesnt fit the puzzle to the future of the team. Also if you look track history guys he has let go or dealt to another team normally dont bounce to stardom elsewhere. Eric Fehr to the Jets is a special case because we got him back before he started being the player he is now. And I always point the finger at Ernie Grunfeld…..until Ernie goes- George is playing with house money. I trust him to do the right thing myself when it comes to the Caps. You can throw a group of guys together but what the chemistry turns out to be is another thing with teams. Caps fan are like spoiled brats because (movie Mighty Ducks) they focus on Gordon Bombay’s (Caps) failure of hitting the post and saying if the shot would have one inch in side the post its a goal, instead of focusing on the puck being one inch outside the post and totally missing. Lets let the cards play out with George because I think he is alot closer today then he was yesterday to getting it right…..besides who are going to bring in to replace him? Brian Burke? Ask a Leafs fan what they think of Burkie bet its different then a Ducks fan or even a Flames fan today.

  • Bugs Fire

    I am sorry about this, I truly am, but Caps have very little chance to do well in playoffs anyway. Miracles do happen, but I think their potential outcome range is between miraculously getting into the second round of playoffs and missing said playoffs (although not by much).

  • Eric Schulz

    NOPE! That was a complete and utter disaster, and even had we given Erat the top-line spot next to Ovie and Backstrom to try to inflate his point totals as much as possible, that STILL would’ve been one of the worst trades of the last decade.
    It wouldn’t have been so bad if everybody on the Caps made 80% of what they are making, if Erat made about 65% of what he is making, and if Erat was about 150% of the player he actually is…

  • Eric Schulz

    If you think that Forsberg deal wasn’t a bad deal, then you have no grasp of a) prospect evaulation, b) cap evaluation, c) the Capitals cap situation, d) the Capitals roster situation, e) Erat’s ability as a hockey player, f) Erat’s contract situation…

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s more of a reload than a rebuild; we have the high-end pieces, we just need to do a better job of surrounding the stars with the right role players on the right contracts, so we move some of them and acquire young talent or picks, then reshuffle.
    Do we WANT to waste Ovie’s prime? Of course not, but that ship has sailed; thanks GMGM.

  • Eric Schulz

    I completely disagree with you about Ward. As it stands now, we have like four 3rd line RWs: Brouwer, Fehr, Wilson, Ward. Ward is more of a high-end 4th liner, but he’s played better than that this season, and Brouwer is more of a 2nd liner, but he’s had a down season (before recently). I think we can move forward with a core top-6 of something like:
    Penner – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    (outside of Penner, those guys are keepers; we can fairly easily replace Penner with a free agent or move some prospects/picks for a guy)
    and RIGHT NOW I’d fill out the bottom-6 with:
    Erat – Johansson – Wilson
    Chimera – Laich – Ward
    leaving Fehr and Beagle as scratches.
    We obviously need to move Erat because of his massive contract… Laich moves up to replace him, then Latta fills that 4th line C spot… I think we should sell high on Ward, then we replace him with Fehr, leaving us with
    Penner – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Laich – Johansson – Wilson
    Chimera – Latta – Fehr
    with Beagle as a scratch.
    I think that’s a high playoff seed right there… we just need to acquire a legit top-4 guy to pair with Green, and a legit 3rd pairing guy to pair with whomever (Orlov, Schmidt, or Oleksy). I like all three, but we need a defensive-minded guy.
    Say we move Ward for a 2nd, Erat for 2 2nds (something like that… it’d be nice to get more, but just to keep things both simple and realistic, I’ll just make them picks). I’d think we could easily acquire MacDonald (for some reason, Peter’s not a fan; I am); IMO, Neuvirth and Carrick might be enough to get that done. We could easily throw in another prospect (Sanford or Galiev, maybe even both) to get it done; now, our top-4 is:
    Alzner – Carlson
    MacDonald – Green
    and then we should be able to pretty easily sign a defensive minded d-man in FA this offseason (Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, Matt Niskanen, Scott Hannan) and pair him with Orlov. And Oleksy as a scratch. Then, we have Grubauer back up Holtby.
    By next year, we’re back to being a high-playoff seed, IMO. That’s how I’d do it. And we’d still have the following high-end prospects in the system: Riley Barber, Andre Burakovsky, Nate Schmidt, Madison Bowey. I’d want to hang on to all of them, but we could use any as a trade chip should we feel the need to make a big move (like a Vanek-type for the top-line). Forsberg, to me, was the only untouchable prospect (Kuznetsov too, but he kind of wasn’t a prospect anymore, IMO).

  • Shaun Phillips

    He’s the top possession guy on the team and 4th in assists and that’s been playing with bottom 6 talent most of the season and averaging under 15 min/game. Even if he’s not scoring, he’s driving play and creating opportunities for others. I call that well worth the value. Granted we don’t know what Forsberg will become, but that’s something you always risk trading a prospect.

  • Dcsportsfan85

    Please god don’t trade for MacDonald. He’s soooo over-rated because he plays top pairing minutes & PP by necessity due to injuries and the islanders pathetic blue line. He has an amazing value contract of $550k, but the NYI asking price for him is way too steep for a player of his caliber.

    I think he would be a good fit as a number 4 defenseman, which is what’d he’d be on the caps. I just would be mad if McPhee gave up the assets the islanders want in return for amac.

    Ill give him credit for being willing to block a shot, but part of the reason he dominates the blocked shot catagory is because he is constantly on defense with absolutely awful possession metrics, that basically scream he’s not a top pairing defenseman.

    He’d be a great #4-6 defenseman on a team with cup aspirations but he’s not the guy you want logging 20-25min against top competition. That’s the other reason I don’t want him be cause he already turned down a 4yr/$16MM offer from the islanders. I thought that was more than fair. Maybe he’ll command more on the FA market, but it’ll have to be a team desperate for defense.

  • Barrett

    Flyers just landed MacDonald For a 3rd round pick in 2014, 2nd in 2015 and a 24 year old undrafted AHL/ECHL player. That is not a lot to give up for a top 4 defenseman.

  • Eric Schulz

    Um, he cost $4.5 million, and he cost us Forsberg. It’s not like we traded just any prospect; Forsberg was the 2nd or 3rd best prospect IN THE DRAFT. You don’t give that up for a redundant winger who’s being paid $2 million more than he’s worth… especially if you are a team UP AGAINST THE CAP ALREADY! We weren’t in a position to a) take on a bloated salary to strengthen the bottom-6 (compared to, say, the Avs this year), or b) trade away a cheap, VERY high-upside player for a guy who averaged 18 goals a season in his prime, who happens to be on the downside of his career.