Doesn’t Look Like Caps Will Re-sign Mikhail Grabovski

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the press after Friday night’s first round of the draft. He dropped this update on the pursuit to re-sign forward Mikhail Grabovski:

Thaaaaat’s not good.

The Caps have nearly $13 million in salary cap room, but these words from GMBM are pretty discouraging. Losing Grabovski would be a big loss for the Caps. Grabo scored 35 points for the Caps, drove possession, outscored the competition, and was totally jokes.

Free agency begins on July 1st. It might be time to say our goodbyes to Grabo.

Update: Here’s video of MacLellan’s response. He seems to say it’s not so dire, but it’s clear there’s a significant distance between the camps.

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  • Chris Cerullo

    Really hope we don’t plan on filling this hole with Kuzya. Not a lot else on the FA market either though. Trade is our best bet for another player of his caliber.

  • Semintheghost

    Semin and now Grabo. :-(

  • David Armando Lopez-Mazariegos

    Nonononononononono

  • silentmachine

    I AM BEREFT.

  • Joe in SS

    Looking at the list on CapGeek. Who else are we going to spend this $13M on?

  • JenniferH

    I will hold out hope until all hope is gone…. :sobs incoherently in my pillow as nightmare remembrances of losing MattyP replay in my mind:

  • Luke Anthony

    If Grabo leaves, who the hell plays 2nd line center? If Fehr goes back to wing, we just have Backstrom, Beagle and Latta at center. Not good enough, need to find somebody via trade or free agency.

  • Punished Snake

    Oh God, you don’t think… you don’t think this guy actually believes Mojo, Kuz, and Brooks “Iron Man” Laich are viable options at 2C, do you? He’s just pretending to be delusional in order to gain leverage in negotiations with Grabo’s agent, right?

  • mspeer
  • A_Shoe

    I’d love to have Grabo back, but is he worth the money it would take to build a legit contender? Maybe the Caps know they don’t have the roster, with or without Grabo, to contend this year.

  • Bev Miller Bellamy

    You have got to be kidding me….someone please tell me that this is a very belated April Fool’s joke….please????

  • Pat Magee

    What if we signed Ribeiro for 1.5m per year? He doesn’t need the money anymore since he’s been bought out!!!!

    Only sorta joking…….

  • alchemistmuffin

    I’m looking at glass all empty…..

    No wins till at least in December at this rate. Far worse than last year.

    We’re not making any progress here. In fact, the team is falling further and further behind.

  • Jack Conness

    This is ridiculous. Tonight sucks. Two big thumbs down for MacLellan right now.

  • Barrett

    What are the odds GMBM chases Brad Richards and gives him more money?

  • alchemistmuffin

    Another problem is, will anyone be willing to be traded to Capitals or sign as free agent? I think players might just as well retire than play for the Caps at this point than forced into a trade.

    It’s a sad reality with the situation the team is right now.

  • wholovespizza

    If he’s wanting 5 million ish…he’s not worth it. Solid corsi, and what not. But I’m guessing he’s asking for far too many years and money.

  • H70

    UGH! But we have $!

  • Roy Schue

    I’m hoping this is all negotiation tactics. Laich and mojo are definitely not the answers. Kuzya seems like he could be an option if he improves his face off skills.

  • Alex

    Well, at least Ribeiro got bought out today. I’m sure there’s still at least a glimmer of hope for Grabo, but I guess it’s good to have a contingency, right?

  • TJ

    This is why we shouldn’t have stayed in-house for GM…

    http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/tbss.gif

  • Alex

    I wouldn’t be against bringing him back, though the whole penalty problem is still fresh in my mind…

  • Chris Cerullo

    Don’t think he has much of an option. Grabo is going to get overpaid with how thin the center market is.

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

    no

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

    I think 5 is a good price. I suspect he’s asking for 5.5+.

  • Barrett

    Yes. Lock him up for 4-5 years. Next season they have Ward, Fehr, Beagle, Volpatti, Green, Erskine and Hillen as UFA (+/- $14.25mil in salary coming off the books) and Marcus Johansson, Kuznetsov, Holtby as RFA. Cap space will not be an issue.

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

    Yeah. There isn’t 13M worth of free agent defense out there. And it already looks like they’ll waste 4+ on a vet goalie. Soooooo… shrug.

  • Jack Conness

    That’s true, but jeez. The Caps have no one after Backstrom. Laich will play 40% of the season. MoJo will disappear. And I like Kuznetsov at wing. I certainly don’t want to see Beagle anywhere near the top three lines. Oh my god, I am reliving last season. Please stop me. I don’t feel good.

  • Barrett

    Paul Stastny has to be the top center UFA, followed by Grabovski, Richards, Jokinen, Ribiero, Legwand, Ott, Bolland and Boyle.

  • Sabrina

    Big mistake. Huge. Don’t let Grabo go!

  • Chris Cerullo

    I know who is available lol…. Stastny is going to get more money than Backstrom so that’s an immediate no. After Richards I don’t want any of those centers (And honestly he’s very underwhelming). Outside of Ribeiro I don’t even consider them 2nd line centers. Would rather play Kuzya there over them.

  • wholovespizza

    How many years is the bigger issue, I’m guessing.

  • Alex

    Ugh, fine. I’ll just go sulk in the corner like the rest of us.

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

    I’d guess he’d want 5 or more? Like, if he were 6 years at 4.5 mil, that’d probably be fine by me.

  • Rob W.

    Whether we re-signed him or not, we wouldn’t be competing for a cup anyway. lets just take our licks this season and see what the free agent market looks like next season

  • Rick Fox

    He was bought out do to discipline problems. Apparently he is currently seeking “help” to straighten out his life.

  • VeggieTart

    Are you fucking kidding me?!

  • VeggieTart

    I would very much be about him coming back. Dude apparently has serious issues off the ice as well.

  • Bilal
  • Jack Conness

    #PatrickKane2015

  • Matt Lauer

    Me no likey.

  • alchemistmuffin

    You’re saying we’re likely doomed……

    Well, time to cry in the booth, and pray that miracle happens in 3 to 5 years when we have to find…. Sigh, another GM.

  • alchemistmuffin

    At this rate, we will be looking for another GM in… About a year at so…

  • Rotating-Earth

    of history is any lesson, it will be another 17 years

  • Rob W.

    just went from 6 to midnight

  • Sarah

    Can we have a whip-around to help close the gap? I could sell a kidney, I don’t need both. #TakeOneForTheTeam

  • Rhino40

    If I wasn’t so flabbergasted that the Caps would even for one moment consider letting Grabo slip away for nothing, I would be laughing my @$$ off at this…Peter & Ian please officially bless this as a Thing.

  • hyusis

    *big long sigh*
    I’m really hoping to see some good stuff soon, but if we can’t even keep more than 1 solid center in the lineup, we’re not going to celebrating any glory together.

  • Rhino40

    After all the years we lacked ANY quality depth at center after Bäckis…
    Then Le Brooksi getting hurt all the time…
    Then letting Ribeiro walk…
    Then dumping Forsberg in possibly the Worst. Trade. Ever.
    Then squandering Erat on the 4th line…
    Then Trading Matty P away…so that Big Tom could drop the mitts every other night…

    …and now this…

    Well, IMHO,

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    …doesn’t begin to cover it.

  • hyusis

    Oh yeah, and what was it we got for #85 back in October? Some guy and some other guy we’ll meet soon.

  • ckam21

    Why won’t this team pay a second line center??????? Beyond depressing

  • RESmith

    “SUCK IT, CAP FANS! YOU ARE ONLY GETTING ANOTHER DMAN & A BACKUP GOALTENDER! AND THAT IS IT!!! …AND YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT!”

  • Why GMBM

    GMBM: “let’s draft a guy nobody has heard of and most likely won’t make any impact for 3
    Years depending on if he even wants to play for us, and on the SAME day let’s just decide to resign Grabo because why not?”

  • OVECHKING

    HEY GUYS WE SHOULD ALL WITHHOLD OUR JUDGEMENT ON GMBM. ITS JUST ONE DECISION.
    /sarcasm

  • Shmoo

    Please stop being the lunatic on the hill and just stick with sharing your honest opinion. You don’t need to pick fights with Caps fans. We suffer enough.

  • OVECHKING

    Do you read the other comments that people make in response to mine? Your calling me a lunatic? Some people here probably didn’t even know what the game of hockey was until a few years ago. I’m all for debate but I RARELY see it. Rather a bunch of trolls just telling me how harsh my comments are. Why don’t your respond with something to refute the basis of my comment. If you can’t, move on.

  • Mike Dietz

    #tankformcdavid

  • Searle

    I don’t get why he wouldn’t be happy with $4m or something, surely he’s getting a boatload of money from Toronto still?

  • Josh Carey

    This would be a huge hit, but I wonder given the Capitals pretty decent cap situation right now if GMBM is trying to land Niskanen. I think that could be a good possibility, and he doesn’t land Niskanen then he might go back and give Grabo the money.

  • Owen Johnson

    OK. Let’s sign another 2nd line center for 1 year. Then let him walk.
    In other new, Hogwarts has a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and Spinal Tap has a new drummer.

  • Owen Johnson

    The future of second line centers:
    2015: Will be a stuttering moron with Sidney Crosby’s face hidden under his helmet so as to do his bidding
    2016: A blowhard who lies about his credentials. He used memory charms on better centers to steal their memories of being good.
    2017: We will have an amazing 2nd line center. Will mysteriously miss one game a month. Is a werewolf.
    2018: He will be a rugged and tough veteran. He is also a secretly a Penguins player infiltrating with a polyjuice potion.
    2019: For some reason this person is not actually a hockey player. Is just Gary Bettman’s personal lackey. Will end up being carried into the National Arboretum by centaurs.
    2020: One of our defensemen, who always wanted to be a center gets moved there. Does a good job until he seemingly murders Barry Trotz and joins the Penguins. As it turns out, he only did so because Trotz told him he had to in order to save Alex Ovechkin (spoilers!)
    2021: Earlier 2nd line center succeeds Trotz as head coach. Fills the 2nd line center position with a guy on Pittsburgh’s payroll. Alex Ovechkin then leads the rest of the Caps into an epic battle at Kettler. Ends Crosby’s reign of terror with the Elder Hockey Stick.

  • Ben

    I thought he blew all his money on blow

  • Owen Johnson

    Hey the Caps have are undefeated under GMBM so far!

  • Owen Johnson

    We don’t suck that much fortunately. Or unfortunately. Whichever.

  • Youshouldleave

    Ok. You’re a whiny manchild with an EXTREMEMLY mediocre grasp on the game who repeatedly complains about the same incorrect nonsense. 1. You don’t know enough about drafting to make any claims about their pick. 2. You

  • Youshouldleave

    Pushing enter auto posts :( so here’s the rest:

    2. You have no clue how much money Grabo’s agent is asking for.

    3. Laich wasn’t and isn’t eligible to be bought out. That is really the end of the discussion but you feel the need to bring it up in every single comment thread.

    [4.] You don’t even know what a troll is. You are a troll.

  • Owen Johnson

    My nerd is showing

  • Sarah

    Yeah, for goodness’ sake, if you’re going to be melodramatic and despairing at least be funny like these poor Oilers fans. Who have a hell of a lot more reason to be that way than we ever will, God bless ‘em.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DIFeOkD_dc

  • Shmoo

    Shrek calling the troll green.

  • Sarah

    This is RMNB, it’s all good. And that was hilarious.

  • Jayleigh

    I, too, would gladly donate a kidney to keep Grabo around.

  • Sarah

    Rock on! I am a Caps (and Stars) fan with my whole heart, and any other organs that are needed!

  • Chip

    Can we start a kickstarter to re-sign Grabovski ourselves?

  • Graham Dumas
  • Graham Dumas

    Umm, this is brilliant.

  • Pat Magee

    I wouldn’t mind Brad Richards…. He would be on the cheap!

  • Ash

    Hyperbole much?

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    There shouldn’t be this much doom and gloom from everyone. But I guess that’s just how most Caps fans are.

    I’m going to withhold judgement until it is guaranteed we won’t be resigning him. All we know from these quotes is that negotiations are still on.

    If we don’t sign Grabo, I’ll still withhold judgement until the season starts, because there are many FAs and trade routes we can go.

    Maybe BMac is targeting another, younger, 2C and isn’t comfortable giving Grabo a long-term deal. Maybe Stasny, Richards, Legwand, Ribs, Jokinen, Roy, or Goc are on his radar.

    I think we’ll still resign him. BMac might just want some other FAs first before he knows what he can give to Grabo.

    I highly doubt if Grabo leaves, BMac will allow us to go into next season without a real 2C.

    We’ll have Grabo or someone of the same calibre. The only crappy thing about specifically Grabo leaving is that would be another one of OV’s good buddies walking at free agency.

  • Dcsportsfan85

    I want to know what it is that the Capitals are offering Grabovski that is very far apart from the $5MM per year he’s reportedly seeking. If you think about it $5MM for a second line center who’s capable of scoring 30G-30A-60Pts (pretty much a lock to hit 50-60 pts in 82 game season), drives possession and out scores tough opposition that’s a pretty fair price. I was just hoping since Grabovski is getting paid about $1.8MM per year for the next 7 years it would be nice to take a little bit of a discount. I think anything under $5MM would be quite the bargain for what he brings to the table.

    Do you think the Caps are offering him less than $4MM? That’d be a little bit of a slap I’m the face.

    But on the other hand the Capitals drew a hard line with Ribeiro and it looks like they made the right decision there. I wouldn’t want Ribeiro back bc of those issues that got him bought out, his decline and he’s basically just a PP specialist. We need to get better at our 5v5 and two-way games. So maybe they know what they are doing in their negotiations, but the historically strong possession numbers Grabovski posts show that he’s going to continue to have success. Plus Grabovski scored most of his points at 5v5 without much PP time to supplement his production. Add in more PP time and he could easily hit 60 points IMHO.

    While I would like Grabovski to take a little haircut because of his buyout money I’d hope the Capitals would be willing to pay a pretty reasonable $5MM per season to keep him. If Kuznetsov is really ready to take on a second line center role we can always play Grabo on the 3rd line.

  • Eric Schulz

    There are options in FA: Stastny, Richards, Ribeiro…. maybe a stopgap guy like Olli Jokinen? Stastny might be the only worthwhile option (barring trying to trade for Joe Thornton, if the Sharks are serious about moving him)… so, I’ll keep hoping that we resign Grabovski, but if not, I’m gonna hope that we attack Stastny in FA, or Thornton in a trade.

  • Eric Schulz

    Stastny as 2C; Jokinen could be a very low-risk 3rd C (and should be cheap, I’d think, although who knows?); if Havlat is bought out, I’d go after him hard, if not then Cammalleri or Heatley. Matt Moulson is worth pursuing also. (We could sign two guys and send Wilson to AHL even, or dangle Brouwer and/or Johansson in a trade, looking for defense, package a prospect or 2 even if there’s a guy really worth getting, like Bogosian)
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Fehr
    Cammalleri – Stastny – Kuznetsov
    Laich – Johansson – Brouwer
    Chimera – Latta – Ward
    Alzner – Carlson
    Ehrhoff – Green
    Orlov – Gilbert
    Holtby
    Greiss
    Now, if we’re too dumb to resign Graboski, I can’t imagine we’re gonna be smart enough to make up for it by adding Stastny, Havlat/Cammalleri/Moulson, and an Ehrhoff/Meszaros type to pair with Green, a Gilbert/Weaver/Hannan type to pair with Orlov, and an inexpensive veteran backup, but theoretically, very easy.

  • Eric Schulz

    I really thought Richards should’ve come here instead of to NYR that offseason; we had a way better team than the Rangers, and I was confounded that nobody seemed to mention us as a destination. (I’d guess b/c of GMGM.) Obviously getting him now isn’t nearly as good of a move, but it would just be interesting…
    I don’t know that Richards as a 2nd C is that bad; Grabovski for $5 million vs Richards for say, $2.5 M? I’d still prefer Grabovski of course; I’d imagine that Richards wouldn’t be that much of a downgrade in the regular season (based on what I saw from him the last 2 years of regular season play), but we need an impact playoff guy, and Richards has had some rough playoffs. However, let’s say we either sign Grabovski, or sign TWO impact forwards. Richards and Havlat (if he’s bought out)? Richards and Cammalleri? Richards and Moulson? Which of those 4 packages would you rather have?

  • Eric Schulz

    The crappy thing about it is that he’s far and away the best 2C on the market. He’s clearly better than Richards, and much younger, and those other guys aren’t even 2Cs (save Stastny). If Richards on the cheap allows us to sign a top-6 winger (Havlat if he’s bought out, Cammalleri, Moulson, whomever), then we can get past this… but he’s a great, great fit on this team, and we know that. The only guy capable of replacing him one-to-one is Stastny, and a) it’s much easier to resign your own guy than to pursue an unrestricted free agent (especially with the Caps’ history, even if I hope that’s no longer a problem with GMGM gone) and b) we don’t know what type of fit Stastny will be. Keeping Grabovski would be superior to adding Stastny for that reason, even if it’s very possible that they are essentially the same player (as far as what they would provide us next season).

  • Eric Schulz

    That would be incredibly dumb to let Grabovski walk just to add Niskanen; there’s no way Niskanen is worth anywhere near $9 million a year.

  • Eric Schulz

    “let’s draft a guy nobody has heard of and most likely won’t make any impact for 3″ That’s how the NHL draft works, unless you have a top 3 pick.

  • Eric Schulz

    So, ONE bad decision.
    The draft pick was a good pick; nobody was available there that was clearly better. He fell just like Burakovsky did last year; how does the Burakovsky pick look now?
    Laich could NOT have been bought out, because he’s injured. Say it again: Laich could NOT have been bought out, because he’s injured.

  • Eric Schulz

    There’s no way Kuznetsov is ready for 2nd C. If he *ever* is, then I’d think moving him to the wing on the top line is better than moving Grabovski down.. or moving Grabovski up to top line wing… but I’d think even if he is ever ready for 2 C, I’d still have 2 of top line be Ovechkin and Backstrom, and 2 of 2nd line Kuznetsov and Grabovski.

  • Eric Schulz

    Because he can get more than that.

  • Eric Schulz

    Not me. He turns 30 next year. Looking at the cap, he should probably be paid about $4-5 million for the next 2 years, then $3.5-4 M the next 2, then $2-3 M the final 2. I wouldn’t want to sign him for more than 4 years. If we needed to tack on a high 5 year, I’d definitely do it if that’s what it took… I’d want something like 4 years, $20 million… 5 years for $23 M or so would be acceptable.
    Maybe it’s a semantic argument. I’d rather have him for 6 years at $4.5 per than just letting him walk… it wouldn’t be “fine,” but it’d be acceptable, IMO. I guess we need to think about the next 3-4 years, we could always buy him out in year 5 or 6.

  • Eric Schulz

    Kuznetsov will likely get a hefty raise, Holtby definitely will, and hopefully Johansson as well. Fehr’s price won’t change much, I’d think, and is worth it. Letting Ward and Erskine go would help a bit (plus we already have so much space), and Beagle is replaceable even if he’s cheap; Volpatti gone is addition by subtraction even without the money. In addition to Ward and Erskine leaving, the big boost would be Green. I really hope we resign him, but I’d have to imagine we save between $2-3 million on his next deal (per year, vs what he’s getting).

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I agree 100%. That’s also why I’m still optimistic that we’ll retain Grabo. BMac HAS to be aware of how great a fit Grabo is to this team. And he also has to be aware that getting Stasny will require a huge bidding war.

    We know Grabo is looking for $5-5.5M. That shouldn’t be the problem for BMac. I think the term is what they’re still negotiating on.

    However, something also tells me BMac wants to throw big money at Niskanen first (maybe Orpik) to then see how much he has to work with towards signing Grabo and whatever else he wants to do.

    I’m just hoping a team doesn’t offer Grabo $6M or something before BMac gets back to him.

  • Barrett

    I’m not a MoJo fan. I thought they should have traded him for pick(s) at the draft. I feel like Fehr is replaceable with a kid like Burakowsky. Don’t need to re-sign Erskine or Hillen. Volpatti is gone. Holtby and Kuznetsov will get a raise obviously, and I want Green back too at a more reasonable salary.

    You have any thoughts on bringing in Christian Ehrhoff? Buffalo just bought him out. I want Willie Mitchell too, I think his leadership is so valuable to this team. JovoCop could be another option in that regard.

  • Barrett

    Unless GMBM trades MoJo or Fehr, you cannot fit a two package deal here. No room on the roster for more wingers. Im gla you mentioned Havlat. I was curious to see how he might fit here. Could he switch to left wing opposite Brouwer on the 2nd line? Havlat has battled injuries the past few seasons though. I don’t know if you pay Cammalleri $7mil to be a 3rd line center (assuming Richards is the 2nd). I do like Moulson, he was a player I wanted McPhee to chase at the deadline, but that goes back to the problem of too many wingers. Have to move MoJo and Fehr to fit him in.

  • joonas6

    I have a serious question. Why did you put Grabo’s head to Ovi’s body?

  • Eric Schulz

    I sketched out a lineup somewhere else; I’ve mentioned this top-6 before:
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Fehr
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson

    well, if we get Havlat, I push Wilson down to 3rd; if we get Cammalleri, I put him on 2nd LW and move Kuznetsov to 2nd RW (he’s played more RW than LW in his career, I think. As our roster stands, I’d rather keep him at LW, but if we get Cammalleri we could move him back to right). Moulson would fit the same; 2nd LW. I can’t imagine Cammalleri is that expensive; I wouldn’t pay over $5 M per year for him. I’d go after any of those 3, but I would want one of that trio.
    Then, for 2nd C, I’d just resign Grabovski, obviously. If we don’t, then we have to go hard after Stastny. If we strike out there… first of all, we’re screwed, but we still have to field a team, so I’d either grab Richards on the cheap (if he’s cheap, obviously), or have Cammalleri at 2C and get one of the 2 remaining wingers also.
    So, for 2C I want Grabovski, Stastny, Cammalleri, Richards, in that order (although were Richards substantially cheaper than Cammalleri, then he maybe moves up one spot). For the 2nd W spot opposite Kuznetsov, I want Havlat, Moulson, Cammalleri, in that order (although it may be that Moulson is better than Havlat at this point; I lean towards Havlat but am open to the possibility that I’m wrong).
    For our 3rd line, I’d like Laich – Johansson – Brouwer. I know Laich and Brouwer didn’t work well together last year, but I’ve detailed why I think that won’t be the case next year: Laich being healthy, Brouwer playing a simple game (which he did later in the year, not so much earlier). Johansson is not a shooter, but giving him Brouwer to pass to maximizes both players I think; Johansson plays center so he can better utilize his passing but Laich takes faceoffs. 4th line of Chimera – Latta – Ward.
    The 2nd line center doesn’t really shake things up. The 2nd line winger would, as you mention. Yes, if we acquired one of those guys, I would look to move probably Brouwer. Johansson is cheaper and younger, and we could easily put Wilson on that 3rd line instead of Brouwer; it’s not as simple as choosing Johansson over Brouwer, because we also have Wilson to think about. That 3rd probably isn’t as good with Wilson there, but adding a legit top-6 winger is worth it.
    I like Brouwer, I don’t really want to move him, but if we could add Havlat/Moulson/Cammalleri, then we probably have to (for the spot, but it also gives us some more cap room). I’d think we could just swing him for a low 1st; worse case, we should get back two 2nds (or a 2nd and a prospect).

  • Eric Schulz

    I’m not a huge Niskanen fan, and I think Orpik is highly overrated, so I hope not (wouldn’t be disappointed in Niskanen, necessarily, but definitely don’t want Orpik). But we have tons of cap room right now. We can easily afford Grabovski, Ehrhoff, and a 6th defenseman and a backup goalie… if we are waiting on those two (or anybody) in order to find out how much we have for Grabovski, we are making a mistake. He’s a clearly better player than any defender on the free agent market, and he’s a safer bet too. As much as our defense needs work, it would be a mistake to pass on one of the best players out there waiting to see how it shakes out with worse players.
    I realize it’s a fairly weak FA class… but there are a lot of guys in the same tier, IMO. If we can’t get Ehrhoff, get Meszaros.. if not Meszaros, then Robidas… or Fayne… or Gilbert… or Hannan. I don’t see a huge difference between those guys so much (I have a personal preference, but acknowledge that it’s a toss up as to which of those group of players is better next year, or for the next 2-3 years). If we strike out on Grabovski, there are *very* few fall-back options. If we strike out on Niskanen or Orpik, then we have options that are roughly of the same caliber.

  • Eric Schulz

    I want Ehrhoff more than any other defenseman out there, certainly. He seems to be the only guy that would obviously be worthy of pairing with Green on the 2nd pair; there are a handful of guys I think *could* fill it but could also not hack it (but would then be a very nice fit with Orlov on the 3rd). I’d like Grabovski for 2nd line C; after that, I’d either want Ehrhoff and possibly another defender to pair with Orlov (Robidas, Gilbert, Hannan, Fayne) and a cheap backup (I’d like Greiss). OR, if we can’t get Ehrhoff, I’d try for two of the 2nd tier defender class and hope one exceeds expectations (Robidas and Gilbert?), the veteran backup, and then try to add a 2nd line winger (Havlat, Moulson, Cammalleri; we’ve talked about that) with the money we save by not signing Ehrhoff in addition to moving Brouwer (as we mentioned, adding a 2nd line winger means we have to move somebody). If we move Brouwer, we should pretty easily have money to sign Grabovski, Havlat, Robidas, Gilbert, and Greiss. Something like $17 million for those 5; rounding up I get: $6 M Grabovski, $5 M Havlat, $2 M Robidas, $2 M Gilbert, $2 M Greiss

  • Eric Schulz

    Fehr drives possession and is cheap. I think he’s a much more useful player than he’s given credit for; I think he’d be a great fit driving possession on the top line (and he can shoot or pass, and we need a guy like that with BackstrOvie; Johansson only passing hurt that line’s potential), and him being so cheap really makes it easier for us to fill out the rest of the roster. I don’t think it’s easy to replace him given how good and cheap he is. Only a rookie (on a cheap ELC) could replace that; so sure, maybe Burakovsky could, but I think we’d be better off replacing Brouwer with Burakovsky. Fehr is also a little more versatile than Brouwer; I think Fehr would be a good fit on the top line, but you could also see him as part of a shut-down 3rd; I couldn’t see that for Brouwer.
    Johansson is too cheap, young, and skilled to move for picks. Unless we could get a 1st and more for him, it’s not worth it. There’s about an infinitesimal chance that you draft a guy past the 20th pick that even makes the NHL; getting a 2nd (or worse) for him would be a massive mistake; he’s a cheap NHLer, and we are a playoff team (and could be a contender with the right moves this offseason). Moving that for a pick that probably won’t pan out, but even if it does he won’t be ready for 3 or 4 years? No.
    I think the problem was simply in how Johansson was utilized; if he’s on the 3rd line with Laich and Brouwer (or Fehr, or Wilson), then I think he’s a very nice piece on a very nice line.
    Also, worse case scenario, I would prefer to add a few pieces in the offseason, then give Trotz the entire season up to the deadline in order to see how the pieces fit, both line combinations and playing under Trotz. If Johansson ends up not fitting, then we can move him prior to the deadline. Maybe we’d get less for him (I would doubt it makes much of an impact though), but I’d rather see how we look under Trotz before making any big moves (and if Johansson ends up panning out elsewhere, then we’d really lament moving him at the draft. If we wait until the deadline then move him, then even if he pans out elsewhere we can be relatively confident that he wouldn’t have fit here anyway).

  • Barrett

    I feel like there are numerous players available that can do what Eric Fehr does and probably better. Nobody in their right mind would choose Eric Fehr over some of the current UFA’s coming available tomorrow, especially in the top 6.

    Marcus Johansson’s problem is he plays winger because he doesn’t win faceoffs. You cannot be a center in the NHL and win less than 35% of your faceoffs. This makes him replaceable because there are numerous wingers that can do what he does and better, just like I stated above for Fehr.

    I think you are over-valuing these two players a little because they are Washington Capitals players. I wouldn’t move them just for the sake of moving them. There would have be certainty that a player of higher caliber was replacing them.

  • Barrett

    Thought I saw Trotz state Ovechkin was going to start on the RW. This might throw a small wrench into your lineup, but maybe not. I can see Fehr playing LW. The problem there, for me, is I don’t see Fehr as a strong top 6 player and definitely not a top line guy, but we may be stuck with him based on the salary cap.

    I also don’t start Tom Wilson on the 2nd line over Troy Brouwer. Johansson isn’t a center. I don’t start Tom Wilson higher than the 4th line to start the season. With improved play and/or diminished play from a RW above him he can move up.

    I think you have to keep Chimera and Ward together on the 3rd line and find a center via free agency (or maybe that guy is Brooks Laich). If their play looks to be diminished, then you demote them.

    No to Latta over Beagle on the 4th line center and I’d rather have a guy like Malhotra (PK and faceoff specialist) there anyways.

    I think your lines here are terrible, sorry.

    In the event Grabovski doesn’t resign and Stastny is available I think you have to do what it takes to land him. The strong teams have depth down the middle and right now the current Capitals roster has Nicklas Backstrom as a #1, no #2, no #3 and Beagle is a mid-range #4. You need centers to do two things: win faceoffs and play a decent two-way game.
    1. Backstrom
    2. Grabovski or Stastny as a #2 or Richards if he’s on the cheap from the NY Rangers buyout.
    3. Ott is a very under-rated #3 (i know you hate him), but the guy wins 55% of his faceoffs, kills penalties and is a good locker room guy to have.
    4. Malhotra and Beagle as #4 with Latta getting time.

  • Barrett

    Well, obviously Erskine and Hillen are going to be your “cheap, veteran backups” because they each have one year remaining on their contracts. I think Trotz might also like Steven Oleksy and I would love to see him and Erskine paired more often with Orlov. I’m not a fan of Hillen as a pair with Green because I think their game is so similar and would rather have a more veteran shutdown presence there like Willie Mitchell or even Robidas as you mentioned. Ideally I’d take Ehrhoff there, but don’t think he’s going to be in the budget.

  • Eric Schulz

    “I wouldn’t move them just for the sake of moving them. There would have
    be certainty that a player of higher caliber was replacing them.”
    I agree. I think that Johansson could be a very good 3rd winger (and he has the *talent* to certainly be better; his coaching has been bad the past two shots at it, so it’s easy to say that that’s the reason he’s regressed. Maybe he doesn’t blossom under Trotz, but it seems like many have given up on him already, I think prematurely. I don’t think that he can’t play winger, I just don’t think he can play the wing with Ovie and Backstrom. I do, however, think that, given the pieces we have, him playing center on a line with Laich but having Laich takes faceoffs would make the most sense. Had we bought out Laich (or kept Perreault), then I wouldn’t mind him on a 3rd of Johansson – Perreault – Brouwer.
    As far as Fehr, I find it hard to believe that you could find a player as good as him that is also as cheap. I don’t think he’s irreplaceable at all, but I think that the best allocation of our resources would be putting him on the 1st to be a complementary piece in order to build depth throughout the lineup. If we got a clearly better version of him (and/or Johansson), I would be delighted, but I don’t think it’s an area that we should feel needs to be addressed.
    When I look at the roster, I would only want to address 2C, the 4th defender, the backup goalie. After that, I would look at another 2nd line winger (although that would probably necessitate moving Brouwer due to money; I would think we’d be better off with, say, Havlat, Fehr, and Wilson than Havlat, Brouwer, and Wilson just given how cheap Fehr is. He also drives possession better than Brouwer, even if Brouwer is a better goal scorer. I think that what Fehr would/could bring to the top line may be more valuable than what Brouwer does, given how much skill Ovie and Backstrom have. I think a player who drives possession in a big way helps that be a better line than a player that scores more but is a possession passenger, at least when we are talking about a Fehr-to-Brouwer type of goal-scoring upgrade. Fehr-to-Havlat, or some other move that is as big of an upgrade, would of course be worth it), and a 6th defender.
    As cheap as Johansson is, I’d rather give him a chance (with a good coach) to develop; if we were able to acquire a guy like Havlat and keep Brouwer, deciding to move Johansson to open up roster room – thinking that Burakovsky will be an upgrade on Johansson (slightly cheaper even) when he’s ready (and letting Brouwer or Havlat walk when Burakovsky is ready) – then I’d be fine with that.
    I don’t think they are great players, I just don’t see why you would move them just to replace them with similar players on a similar (or possibly even more expensive) deal, especially with Johansson being as young and talented as he is (I find it hard to believe that we could get a guy like him in FA; guys that young and talented don’t typically become UFAs).

  • Eric Schulz

    “I think your lines here are terrible, sorry.”
    Your evaluation of talent and fit is terrible, sorry.
    If you have Wilson on the 4th, then that’s a major mistake; he should be in the AHL over playing 4th line minutes. If you think that starting him on the 2nd means that, if he fails, you are stuck playing 82 games with him on the 2nd, then you are even more inflexible than Oates.
    We know what Beagle is, and Latta has a higher ceiling. If he isn’t there yet, then just as with Wilson, we can fall back on another player (in this case, Beagle). If we start with Beagle at 4C, then we’ll never find out if Latta is an upgrade.
    Brouwer doesn’t drive possession; Kuznetsov had the worst possession ever last year. Putting them together on the 2nd is inviting disaster. And, again, if Wilson isn’t good enough, then you can always move Brouwer up (and then I’d probably move Chimera – Fehr – Ward to 3rd, Wilson to AHL, and then cobble together a 4th of Latta – Beagle – Brown, something like that).
    Johansson doesn’t HAVE to play center, but he CAN. You don’t like his faceoffs, I get it.. but I have Laich taking faceoffs, but Johansson being the primary puck handler on that line, and him being in the center of the ice opens up his options with regards to passing, which at this point is the only thing he can produce at at an above average level. If you think a guy can’t play center because he can’t take faceoffs, but I don’t have him taking faceoffs, then why do you object so much to putting him in the best position to take advantage of his passing ability?
    My lines put our young players in the best position to succeed… and worst case scenario, we can always fall back on the type of line combinations that you are trumpeting. The problem with *starting the season* with those lineups is that we know what type of upside it has, and it’s not good enough.
    Chimera and Ward aren’t going to produce at last year’s level again.
    Having them as super 4th liners rather than average-to-slightly below
    average 3rds makes for a better team. If we put them on the 4th but Fehr doesn’t impact the 1st how I expect, Wilson isn’t ready to be a top-6 guy (which I think is a weird way of looking at it; Grabovski and Kuznetsov are obviously talented enough, I’m only asking Wilson to be big and physical, win board battles, and screen the goalie. He doesn’t have to score at a top-6 level to improve that line, although he’s shown an ability to finish when given the chance), Laich gets (or is still) hurt, and Latta isn’t ready, then we move those guys back to the 3rd, and look forward to a 4th or 5th seed, and a 1st or 2nd round exit (but at least Chimera and Ward can start the season with easier minutes and can take it a little easy on their bodies, which could help them to stay stronger later in the season).
    Also, I agree about Stastny, but if we can’t sign Grabovski then I have absolutely no faith that we can win a bidding war for Stastny, or anybody else.

  • Eric Schulz

    Erskine and Hillen could certainly be the cheap, veteran backups but I think we can easily fit better versions into our budget. If we added Ehrhoff and put him with Green, then I have no problem staying pat at 6D. If we can’t get him though, I’d want to add 2 guys (like Robidas and Gilbert, as I mentioned), and then hope one is worthy of that 4D spot; if we only add one and he isn’t, then we are essentially back where we’ve been throughout the Ovechkin era. I think either guy could maybe be the answer at 4D, while we know the other 2 (Erskine and Hillen) aren’t. I just think it’s more likely that we add two possible solutions and hope one pans out than adding one definite solution, given the FA market at defense.

  • Barrett

    I guess all of this discussion was pointless haha. thanks GMBM!

    now…what to do with this defense : Alzner, Carlson, Green, Orpik, Niskanen, Orlov, Erskine and Hillen

    Keep the Pitt-Boys together? Orlov and Green? Alzner and Carlson???

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t hate our defense now:
    Alzner – Carlson
    Niskanen – Green
    Orlov – Orpik
    IMO. The problem, as we both know (I’ve seen you comment elsewhere), is that getting those guys for about 300% of what they are really worth means, at a minimum, Grabovski is gone. Our forward lines are fucked. I mean, you didn’t like my lines because you thought I had too much youth (I defended it because we’d still be able to fall back on veterans). Well, now… I just don’t know. We need Kuznetsov to be the guy I think he can be; I feel confident about that. But we need Green to rebound and stay healthy, we need Johansson to take a step forward, we need Wilson to be ready this year (I thought he would be IF he was on a line with Kuz Nasty and Grabovski, but now with Kuz and… who knows? We’re going to ask too much from him now, IMO), we need Brouwer to play his best all year (that’s maybe the 2nd safest bet after Kuznetsov, but I would’ve been much happier only needing 16 goals from him on the 3rd while expecting 22, instead of needing 24 on the 2nd and expecting 18 – no 2C), and we need Laich to return to health and be the player he was 5 years ago. God, I hate these moves (the acquisitions were fine, the contracts were some of the worst I’ve ever seen in the NHL).
    Forwards…
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Brouwer
    Kuznetsov – Laich – Wilson
    Chimera – Fehr – Ward
    Johansson – Latta – Beagle
    ?
    Fuck, I just don’t know… the top line is legit, but we are still lacking a nice 3rd piece, having to stretch Brouwer again. The 2nd would be a nice 3rd, the 3rd would be a nice 4th, the 4th has pieces that aren’t bad, but Johansson’s skill does so little paired with Beagle and Latta, and he doesn’t have the style that meshes well with those 2, IMO, so again he’s miscast.
    I’m gonna talk myself into not needing the forward depth that I would’ve liked; if you just imagine it’s like Trotz’s Predators teams, just a team that rolls lines and comes after you as a unit, but he never even had anybody as good as Backstrom, much less Ovie… yeah, it still sucks.

  • Barrett

    Yeah, I’m right there with you. I dislike the moves because the cost isn’t worth it, but the players fit in theory, so I like it.

    I don’t know what to do … $1.15mil in cap space to find a 2C/3C? Good luck. I agree, young guysguys (MoJo, Kuznetsov and Wilson) HAVE to step upup and produce or it will be a looong year. No depth at forward if anyone goes down to injury.

  • Eric Schulz

    … trade some guys to shed salary? Move Ward, Erskine, and Johansson (Ward nets us a 2nd; Erskine we may have to package with a prospect to get a low pick, say Galiev + Erskine for a 5th; Johansson should get us 2 2nds)… we now have $7,922, 372 in space (according to cap geek):
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Brouwer
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Wilson
    Chimera – Laich – Fehr
    Latta – Beagle – Brown
    Alzner – Carlson
    Niskanen – Green
    Orlov – Orpik
    Holtby
    Peters
    I could get behind that. But, fuck, that roster should not have less than $2 M in cap space, it should cost roughly $55 M for that roster. Green and Laich signed before they started having nagging injury concerns, but even then, it’s hard to pay over $60 M for that roster, and somehow we managed to get to the cap, which forced us to trade Ward (a gritty 3rd liner who, while overpaid, is a good veteran to have who had great chemistry with Chimera and a nice, albeit small sample size, history of playoff performing), Johansson (a very talented, very young, relatively cheap player that, while he hasn’t really become the player I think he can be, and maybe never will, is definitely not the type of guy you want to give up on), and Erskine… okay, I’m just fine with that. We still have some nice depth on defense too, IMO; if somebody gets hurt, we have Schmidt, Hillen, Oleksy, and Wey. If a puck-mover goes down (Carlson, Green, or Orlov), Schmidt can fill in just fine (if we resign him). If a defensive stalwart (Alzner, Niskanen, or Orpik) is injured, I’d love to see Wey given a shot; if he isn’t ready, then we’re kinda screwed and have to fit in Hillen or Oleksy there, unless we just want to roll Schmidt out there and hope we can win the possession battle enough to win the game.