niskanen

It’s not over yet. The Capitals have announced that they have signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a 7-year contract with an AAV of $5.75 million. Niskanen joins Brooks Orpik, who was signed to a five-year deal earlier today.

Washington has now acquired two UFA defensemen off the Pittsburgh Penguins, who were not a good defensive team, at a total cost of $67.75 million. What is going on in Arlington?

Niskanen is a 27-year-old, stay-at-home defenseman. He averaged over 20 minutes a game in Pittsburgh and would be expected to serve on the first or second pairing in washington. What that means for Mike Green, who led the Capitals blue line in puck possession last season, we do not know. Niskanen has generally strong possession numbers, leading Pittsburgh’s blue liners, though those numbers may be dubious.

Like Orpik, Niskanen has a no-trade clause in his contract. Quite a payday.

Yeah. Exactly.

From the Capitals:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 1, 2014

Capitals Sign Matt Niskanen
Defenseman set career highs in goals, assists, games played and points last season

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a seven-year, $40.25 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

“We are very excited that Matt Niskanen has chosen to sign with Washington,” said MacLellan. “At 27 years of age, he is just entering his prime for a defenseman. We feel he will be a staple on our blueline for many years to come. We have stated all along that upgrading the defense was our top priority this offseason and we feel we accomplished our goal with our signings today.”

Niskanen, 27, set career highs in points (46), goals (10), assists (36), games played (81) and game-winning goals (6) in 2013-14, led all NHL defensemen in plus/minus (+33) and was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. He also recorded a career-high nine points (two goals, seven assists), led the team with six power play points and was first among team defensemen with 29 hits in 13 playoff games.

The 6’0”, 209-pound defenseman has registered 167 points (35 goals, 132 assists) and 266 penalty minutes in 491 career NHL games with Pittsburgh and Dallas. In 55 career playoff games, Niskanen has collected 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) and 35 penalty minutes.

Niskanen made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars on Oct. 3, 2007, against Colorado, played in the 2008 YoungStars Game at NHL All-Star Weekend and led all rookie defensemen in plus/minus (+22) during the 2007-08 season. Niskanen was drafted by the Stars in the first round, 28th overall, in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

The Virginia, Minn., native represented the United States at the 2009 World Championship and the 2006 World Junior Championship. He played two seasons at the University of Minnesota Duluth from 2005-07 and was named to the All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) First-Team as a sophomore after posting 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) in 39 games.

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  • Taylor Kelley

    Can we compliance buyout Green now? It would make sense and then go get Grabo.

  • Jack Conness

    This is ridiculous. We just gave two defensemen, who aren’t that spectacular, 12 years and $67.75 million. We just got Pittsburgh’s sloppy seconds. After they saw themselves choke in the playoffs the past few seasons, they part with these guys. Who comes and overpays and scoops them up? Washington. Go f’ing figure. Honestly, if we just signed Niskaken, I wouldn’t be too upset. The $5.75 mil a year isn’t as crazy as I thought he would get. But the whole Brooks Orpik thing is frustrating. This whole day is frustrating. Speculation (kind of) here, but it looks like Mike Green is gone. It doesn’t make any sense to flip Green for Niskaken in essence. That Mike Green money better be spent on Grabo. I really don’t know what to say anymore. I’m lost for words. Who is our 2C? Brooks Laich? Oh my, what a disaster.

  • Anthony Elworthy

    I’M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION. AAAAAUUUUHUGHUUHUUHHHHAHHHHHH!!

    Seriously. What the everloving hell is happening?

    http://media1.giphy.com/media/hjB0wCLycqKbK/giphy.gif

  • Freedoooom

    Capitals as a contender: Lets go dumpster diving, lets haggle with good players we need and lose them because they want a 4 year deal not a 3 year deal.

    Capitals after missing the playoffs: Spend exorbitant amounts on the Penguins scraps.

  • dylan wheatley
  • SteveM

    This is exactly it right there. EXACTLY.

  • Freedoooom

    Craig Laughlin @Laughlin18
    What a great day for new GM BMack. In 6 hours the caps have become a contender.

    So we need a drug test on the GM and now Laughlin

  • Kyle Reid

    If I was told this morning we could get Niskanen for 5.5/5 and Orpik for 3.5/4 I’d be pretty stoked. Unfortunately, we had to overpay and give really long contracts. Good players who will make us better but we need a 2C and now we have no money for one.

  • ???

    Now officially wondering what GMBM meant when saying Grabo was being “prohibitive” -_-

  • errantelf

    What is going on in Arlington? 2 words: Todd Reirden

    He said he wanted them and that he was calling them personally. The Caps had these 2 at the top of their list and brought them in no matter the cost. I’m okay with the Niskanen deal. I’m still choking on the Orpik one, but I didn’t want Orpik at any cost so the overpayment for him is even more egregious to me.
    Signing Orpik at the cost of a 2 C is enough to make this day unsalvageable.

  • Austin

    Lol can you people stop whining god damn. Dont bash the deals until you see it in action. Sure the Orpik deal blows but our D is already better now that is a POSITIVE. People stop acting like those bitches on my sweet 16.

  • Luke Anthony

    Don’t mind Niskanen contract so much (term could be better), but the Orpik one is way too long. Don’t really get it, will just be blocking roster spot for a young player at some point.

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

    Exactly.

  • Rob Young

    It’s official, Grabovski for Niskanen. Brooks Laich gets to play 2C with Troy Brower. We could have had Brad Richards AND Stralman/Ehrhoff for that. Better yet, we could have had Grabovski.

  • VeggieTart

    I don’t know why I like this less than the Orpik deal. Maybe because it means Grabo isn’t coming back.

  • Graham Dumas

    THIS. RIGHT. HERE. THIS THING.

  • Bilal

    Okay yes. Our D is now Substantially better. And honestly, Niskanen’s deal was only 5.75 a year, which I think is good (though the term, not so sure about that). HOWEVER. Orpik for 5.5 Million! Are you telling me that Garbovski was not worh the 5 Million he was asking, But Orpik is worth MORE then that! Not too sure what GMBM was thinking there……..

  • Kyle Reid

    Lets not say how awful this is yet. Let them play a few games. See how they play under Trotz. I don’t like the money we are giving them but they are decent players. Also remember that the cap will definitely go up in the next few years so these numbers will look much better if A) they play well and B) more D get overpaid with the continuing to increase cap.

  • Mike Reppenhagen

    Are any teams silly enough to trade us a real 2C for Green, then?

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    You know…I am pretty happy with the acquisitions. I see Mike Green being traded to free up cap space and I am totally fine with this. With the cap space we’ll acquire our 2C. Without Oates reworking the offense every damn game I think our offense is actually decent. I am not happy with Orpik’s deal but am happy with Orpik/Niskanen, Carlson/Alzner, Orlov/Green or his replacement.

  • yv

    40.25M$ for 7 yrs for Niskanen, 27.5M$/5yrs for Orpik, 8.9M$ for 3yrs for whom, Engelland? These are all Godfather’s style offers/contracts. Maybe new Caps defensive coach Reinhardt, former Pens D coach, is not who he is?!

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Now let’s buy out Brooks Orpik’s contract.

  • Asrimal

    My general reaction to today.

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    Green being dumped….to resign Grabo or get a C…my bet

  • VeggieTart

    Even if there aren’t, trade Green and re-sign Grabovski, who has not been picked up yet.

  • Asrimal

    Whoops, forgot the picture.

  • Jack Conness

    That’s a great way of putting it. And really sad at the same time.

  • Jack Conness

    I must say, that Vine is really funny haha

  • Austin

    both of you dont give up yet damn… dont give up hope til the fat lady sings.

  • HartKiller_09

    I guess we’re taking another crack at the 3 3rd lines plan up front huh?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland
  • HartKiller_09

    Brooks Laich was the 2nd line center back when the Caps were a contender that needed a 2nd line center. And that was when he could step off the team plane without tearing his groin.

  • mspeer

    Here’s to hoping GMBM is a genius with something up his sleeve that we haven’t seen yet. Man that’s a lot of money.

    http://freebeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/animal-house-chug-o.gif

  • yv

    corr. Todd Reirden

  • Bilal

    I dunno, GMBM seemed pretty intent of keeping Green and wanting to try Kuzya/MoJo/Laich as our 2C.

  • Austin

    Lmao I wish I could thumbs this up 100 times

  • Big Chuck

    When questioned on the money spent GMBM said confidently……

  • It’s me

    What is kind of funny is everyone would bitch that GMGM would bring in free agents. When you bring in free agents you overpay that was what GMGM always said so this is what everyone wanted who hated GMGM.

  • Seth Malaguerra

    “Hey, Ted signs the checks!”

  • It’s me

    *wouldn’t

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Caps have graduated from making the same mistakes over and over again to making whole new mistakes.

  • Cthulu’s Alarm Clock

    Meanwhile…20 floors below Consol Energy Arena…Mario Lemieux sits in a dark room, facing a bank of monitors, a permanent scowl across his face. Sidney Crosby, wearing leather chaps & a dog collar, snoozes at his feet. Suddenly, on one of the screens, a block of text pops up: “Caps sign Orpik, 5 years, 27.5 million”. A slight smirk begins to form on Lemieux’s face.”hmmmm”, he mutters, “…is it possible…?” Minutes later, a second block of text pops up on another monitor: “Caps sign Niskanen: 7 years, 40.25 million”. Lemieux’s smirk becomes a smile, as he leans back in his chair, out of the glow of the monitors. He sits, in shadow, unmoving. It begins slowly, almost inaudible at first: “hhhmmmm…hhmmhmmhmm….hmmhmhmmhaha…hahahahahaha….hahahahahahahahahahahaha….hahahahahahAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!”

    (PS – I know there were several hours, not minutes, between the Orpik signing & the Niskanen signing. But this is my short story, so shut up)

  • Darren Dregger

    Peter, please stop complaining. Yes his possession numbers may not be accurate, but anyone who plays with Crosby will play better. The Capitals got a stay at home Defensemen and now a solid 2 way. Both of these will help them greatly. Overpaid? Yes. Bad players? Not at all.

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

    I don’t believe we (the writers at RMNB) complained when GMGM was less than active during free agency.

  • Boush

    Still cannot fathom why people are saying “trade Green.” Trading Green makes this team worse, especially with the length and money tied up in these two (though I’m really not that upset about Niskanen at all). First, dump Volpatti, Erskine, and Hillen. That’s $3,237,500 in cap space right there wasted on players who, more than ever, are not needed on this team and can be replaced by one or more Hershey players at a net positive.

    Recall Latta and slot him in at 4C. Trade Brouwer, and you have $7,442,372 to play with for one or two forward positions (2C and depth player).

    The Caps are in surprisingly decent shape for this coming season once they trim the non-Orpik fat. Could be a real contender depending on how they fill out the forwards. If you can trade Brouwer and MoJo for a solid 2C and lure David Booth in… then you’ve got a very good team lined up.

    The Orpik deal really crushes the team starting next year. Green >>> than Orpik without a question, now and forever. Orlov > Orpik. Next year… Carrick > Orpik? Kundratek? Schmidt? Oleksy? Bowey? Two years from now? Tough decisions at the deadline and a year from now.

  • Alex

    I know right? Holy fuck!!

  • GraboviMyBozak

    I’ve never hated this site so much. I thought your suppose to make it ‘fun’ for the fans. Orpik will be great for the first 2-3 years of the deal but the last two will be interesting to see what happens. Niskanen’s extra ice time last year paid off which is a reason for the increase in production. He’s not a ‘stay-at-home D’, he’s a good two way d-man. The deal is much better than the Orpik deal and Trotz and Rierden will have a really good impact on them. Stop being so negative and try to look at the good of these deals.

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

    Orpik will not be great for the first 2-3 years of the deal. He hasn’t been great for any years, and there’s no reason to think he’ll start now.

  • GraboviMyBozak

    And Bylsma is a great coach, right?

  • SteveM

    Unfortunately, the Caps News Wire is now reporting that Brooks Laich also saw this comment, LHAO, and subsequently has torn his groin after that fit of laughter. Trotz has declared his status “questionable” for the 2014-15 season, much like the Caps free agency signings.

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

    GraboviMyBozak,

    I hope you’re right, but I don’t think it’s responsible to base opinions on hopes and feels, but facts and numbers. Niskanen’s a somewhat good defender – the numbers support that – but it’ll be interesting to see just how good he is away from Pittsburgh and Crosby.

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2014/06/30/matt-niskanen-a-case-study-in-context/

    In regards to Orpik, he’s on the downslope of his career and that signing will hurt the team’s possession and the team’s flexibility to upgrade itself (cap space + NMC). He’s definitely more accomplished than John Erskine though!

    I would have loved to see the team go after Anton Stralman and re-sign Mikhail Grabovski. And then maybe also go after a cheap third pairing defenseman. I admire GMBM’s tenacity to jumpstart the team, but I really think these kinds of quick fix moves are going to backfire (Jagr) or not work out as well as you might have hoped (Stanley Cup).

    I really believe the team needs to have some short term pain here, and have a partial rebuild. I hope this is the juju they need to be good (long term), but I’m very dubious of that, and it would be irresponsible to position ourselves as such just to be fun.

  • SaidNoGirlEver

    nice attitude Peter. that is so hot. can i please date you?

  • Austin

    “what the fuck mom I asked for a fucking Rolls Royce and you get me a Gclass Mercedes I hate you”

  • Austin

    lol i actually dont think the niskanen deal was bad at all the orpik one was obviously not good, it would have been if the term was less and the money a littleless as well maybe 3 years 12 million would have been fine

  • Sarah, actual female

    What the actual hell?! You are obviously not really female. I do somewhat disagree with Peter in that I think, at least in the short run (which has to be Mac’s focus) this could still turn out okay.
    But Peter is a very attractive guy, and hell, even if he looked like road kill there’s no call for a spiteful, witless comment like that. It sure as hell doesn’t make your point, whatever that is, sound very convincing. Not to anybody in possession of either a brain or two X chromosomes, let alone both.

  • Drew

    This is a “win now” move. Ovi’s window is closing in the next three years or so (hope not but age is a bitch) and we have made a serious upgrade to our blue line…now or never..or at least for quite a while. Trotz needed some non AHL pieces and we got them today..I’ll wait unitl 25-30 games in to judge on these moves. Go Caps.

  • THANKS TODD!

    Agree, I cannot even begin to fathom how Orpik commanded so much on the open market. The Niskanen deal could end up being a steal if he pans out as the cap continues to rise, but regardless of what ends up happening it was still reckless cap management that cripples teams for years. Back to the Niskanen deal it’s still way too big of a wager to make on a guy who had 1 great year on a great team with two of the best player’s in the world who make everyone better. Plus, a lot of his production came on the top PP in the NHL (17Pts out of 48). That normally wouldn’t be a bad things expect being a PP QB drives his value up and the Capitals have two GREAT PP QBs in Mike Green and John Carlson. Why pay a premium for something that inflated his production that we don’t really need.

    Also, don’t teams usually give players NMC/NTC’s so that they will take a little haircut? Not only did we get locked into 2 poor deals we significantly impacted our ability to move them should they not work out.

  • Matt Lauer

    I agree with the negative reactions to these signings. Sorry to everyone who wants to look positively at them. They address NOT A SINGLE ONE of the core issues afflicting the team, which were:

    (1) Footspeed
    (2) Better Passing Skills
    (3) Puck Possession

    On each count, these two defensemen are absolutely mid-range (if not lower), and on top of that have been given contracts that are bloated beyond description. These will weigh down the team for years, and furthermore prevent us from signing important players who actually excel at the above three factors, namely Grabo.

    If you are looking at this with rosy eyes, you are missing the point.

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

    I cannot like this comment harder.

  • Lawrence

    Oh gosh, we have been down this road before people. Please stop bashing RMNB for posting an opinion that doesn’t agree with you. I understand you are frustrated, maybe even unsure of the deals the caps have made today, perhaps even hopeful, but that is no reason to bash the writers of this website. Trust me on this, try to refrain from saying things you will regret later, as it will only hurt others and your own feelings for no reason. Let everyone have their own opinion and let it be heard. This site is not owned by the capitals, they are not controlled by caps management, they have the right to post any opinion they want. We didn’t hear anyone say these things when RMNB was against Oates, you know why? Because about 90 percent of fans agreed with them. Was it any less harsh? No. Its just that there is less than 90 percent of fans agreeing with him this time, which is fine, just don’t bash them for doing the same thing you commended in the past.

    I like the Nisk deal. Would have liked it a lot better if two things happened: 1) We hadn’t signed Orpik to this deal, so the caphit would of been fine and 2) it was less term. He is still a very unproven player, that may have a lot more room to grow, or may have already peaked. We take all the risk.

  • Matt Lauer

    Agreed. I agree with everything. EVERYTHING.

  • CardiacCaps

    Correct me if I’m wrong, did you guys not post an article 2-3 days ago listing Niskanen as one of the guys the caps should target today??!!

  • Josh Carey

    I for one completely agree with RMNB. I think that both of these guys will improve the team and Orpik was grossly overpaid. The term was a little long for Niskanen, but I think the money is okay. We shall see.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Good thing BMac agrees that keeping Green now, at least until the deadline, is the smart move.

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

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2014/07/01/four-free-agents-who-could-help-the-capitals-blue-line/

    “Niskanen was 25th in the league among players with 62+games in PDO and 17th in on-ice shooting percentage, meaning he had tremendous puck luck last season, further questioning sustainability of his offensive performance.

    Projection: Six years, $5 million AAV to a team that may regret it, and soon.”

    Fedor correctly pointed out in this post that Niskanen would help the Caps blue line, but he does not advocate paying him 6 years, 30 million, which was one year and $10.25 million less than what he got from GMBM.

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

    Thanks, Lawrence. I don’t think any of us take it personally when people disagree with us (rarely do we all agree internally on a single issue), and we’re appreciative of so many of you coming here to even have the discussion with us.

    While I would not have signed Niskanen and Orpik to those totes ridic deals today, they will be Capitals tomorrow and we will treat them as such, with… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99j0zLuNhi8&feature=kp

  • Lawrence
  • Luc

    Seriously. All the bitchin’ on my favorite website is really putting me down. What was the point of the last article? Yeah, we get it. Brooks Orpik is on the decline and we overpaid for him. Why don’t we give these new pick ups a chance before we shit all over them…

  • John Bolt

    Yeah but by the time that Mercedes is paid for, it’ll be up on blocks. And you’ll be stuck with it, with no options for trading it in.

  • Austin

    i wasn’t comparing the cars to the actual players just thought I would use that teen girl quote to add effect

  • Scott Mallon

    If rmnb keeps complaining like this I think I’m gonna start ignoring what you say. Yeah we overpaid but you are looking at no positives as if our blue line didn’t just get better, which it did. Did the team get better? Can we talk about that? Or should we talk about money all day. We had the room and did it. So the hell what. Start doing mock lineups or something all this bitching is giving me a headache

  • Sarah

    Would you guys mind dialing down the misogyny a bit? The female commenters are actually not the ones going nuts, the men are. And not without some reason, mind you, but sheesh, dragging that stuff in is not doing a lot to help our relatively optimistic side.

  • John Bolt

    Yeah I know, It was so effective that I wanted to join the fun.

    EDIT: uhhh the reply was intended for Austin, not the misogyny bit. You can assume I’m the mom parent if it helps :)

  • Darla Doxstater

    But but but!!! He’s a +33!! Isn’t that important?

  • Darla Doxstater

    Oh yeah: /sarcasmfont

  • JenniferH

    I’m not happy with the terms of the deals, but there are no positives to be found. Yes, the deals suck, yeah, Orpik isn’t perfect, but we got 2 big, NHL-ready D after getting AHL-D for the last year, and both D-men worked with Reirden. We’ve got a fantastic defensive-minded coach they’ll be working with, with an almost assuredly fantastic system. They’ll have Alex FREAKING Ovechkin they’ll be playing with. Nicklas FREAKING Backstrom to be playing with. Etc.

  • It’s me

    I Was more aiming my comment at the other commenters over the years.

  • Barrett

    Here’s a mock lineup :

    ???? – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    ???? – ???? – Brouwer
    Chimera – ???? – Ward
    ???? – Beagle – ????

    Fill in the ???? with : Laich, Kuznetsov, Volpatti, Johansson, Eric Fehr and Tom Wilson.

    Alzner – Carlson
    Orpik – Niskanen
    Orlov – Green
    Erskine and Hillen are backups.

    Holtby with Peters backing him up.

    There is NO strength down the middle of this team at the center position and that’s where teams who are legitimate cup contenders are deep positionally : Los Angeles, Chicago (picked up Richards), Anaheim (picked up Kesler), Dallas (picked up Spezza), etc.

    The acquisitions aren’t bad from a pure player standpoint. The $$$ amount in addition to not acquiring the most important position on a team is what has everyone upset and rightfully so.

  • Sarah

    No worries, I didn’t intend that for you

  • This

    Here here. If Orpik pulls a Clarkson then by all means, GMBM deserves the flak. He’s now under the best defensive coach in the league and has a familiar face to work with. Let it pan out before rewriting your will.

  • Barrett

    You cannot dump Erskine, Hillen and Volpatti. They get sent to the AHL affiliate team. So there has to be room there.

  • CappyTal

    I guess you’ll see misogyny wherever you want, but that comment was about the people on that show because of how they act as people. You need to relax.

  • Eric Jones

    This feels icky. Like dating your enemy’s ex right after they broke up and you’re not sure if she’s really into you or just dating you for your nice car…and to make your enemy jealous.

  • Scott Mallon

    We already said we are developing Kuznetsov at 2c.
    So how about

    Johansson – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Brouwer – Kuznetsov – Wilson
    Chimera – Laich – Ward
    Latta – Beagle – Fehr

    Orpik – Carlson
    Orlov – Niskanen
    Alzner – Green

    Holtby
    Peters

    Teams who made the playoffs last year had the luxury of having players go there on the cheap, a luxury we had in the past, but this season, we had no such options.

    Carlson and Orpik can shut lines down, Alzner is overrated, Orlov can grow his game with more ice time with a great two way player and Alzner can balance his stay-at-home game with Mike Green. We can balance ice-time out among all three defensive lines and it looks like we will have a lot less liability back there.

  • Scott Mallon

    and we need to develop wilson as a top 6 guy, he needs to play top six minutes or else he won’t be able to get a chance to show what he has.

  • dylan wheatley

    it was my favorite thing about him

  • GraboviMyBozak

    NONE of those were ever the D’s problem. Possession can be blamed on OATES who had the worst system of all time. Foot speed was probably the only thing our D was good at. We needed grit and toughness, Orpik provides that. He maybe a bit slow, but at least he’s not a soft, undersized pu*** like most of the D last year. Niskanen is a good skater and puck mover. The deal was too long but the term wasn’t too bad.

  • Kyle Reid

    And personally, I don’t like all the hating on Clarkson/Leafs management. He had one bad season with a bad team. If he has two then I shall join in the hating haha

  • Seth Malaguerra

    Prediction: Next year the Caps are about as bad as they were last year. The year after that, a little bit worse. #thebank

  • Matt Lauer

    I must wholeheartedly disagree. As I said, ***team*** footspeed was unquestionably a problem, and I’m sorry but neither of these defenseman contribute in that regard. (Also, bro — footspeed not a problem on D???? Erskine, Strachan, Brouillette, etc. I rest my case.) Better solutions to the footspeed-on-D issue were available in-house, in the form of Schmidt, Carrick, Bowey, etc. As for passing and stickhandling, I’ve seen quite a lot of both players and, again, better solutions exist in-house. And furthermore, is it possible that I was the only person yelling at the screen every game when some pass or other from the defensive zone went wide by a country mile? (Are you seeing a pattern developing here? I’m about to say the same thing for possession — though I admit Oates’ systems obviously did impact everyone.)

    Lastly, how many times must we all revisit the old toughness argument? Any player who is unable to combine toughness with some puck-relevant skill is basically a slightly less defunct Erskine. I see Orpik contributing toughness legitimately, but what else of significance?

  • Joe

    ribeiro 2c

  • Barrett

    1. Marcus Johansson isn’t a top line winger. He has been placed there numerous times and doesn’t perform.
    2. A “developing” 2C isn’t creating strength down the middle. He had the worst faceoff % for the Capitals last season along with Johansson.
    3. I can deal with the 3rd line of C-L-W, but that’s hoping the three oldest forwards (35, 31, 33 years old respectively) can all stay healthy. No depth created by over-paying free agents.
    4. You can claim Alzner is over-rated, but he’s no worse than Brooks Orpik, who costs the Capitals $2.7mil more per year and is 8 years older. Considering Orpik made $3.75mil per year over a 6 year deal during the prime of his career on a vastly superior team it looks as though he’s going to be labeled as over-rated and over-paid. I’m not against Orpik being here, he’s a guy i wanted, but the term and total isn’t a fit.
    5. Matt Niskanen’s contract is also a bit much for a guy who has only had one good year in the NHL. Hard to take that one year and label him as a “great two-way” player. Compare his production/salary with a guy like John Carlson and you can see he’s over-paid with a non-friendly cap number that locks him up until he’s 35yrs old.

  • Dave

    I’m sure the Caps were just bidding against themselves by the end for Orpik. My question is: does Leonsis have any clue that the Orpik deal is *obviously* horrendous? If not, maybe the problem starts at the top…

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Erskine missed most of the season but when he was healthy, he was scratched. As for the other 2, they played a combined 15-20 games. Schmidt and Carrick played much more than them which is why I said foot speed wasn’t a problem. Erskine hasn’t been aggressive and tough for at least 3 years now. He’s basically a pylon. Comparing him to Orpik is extremely unfair.

  • footballfilibus

    I just don’t understand the outrage. You state the Pens weren’t that good defensively, but they were top 10 in Shots against and Goals against, while the Caps were high 20s. We only have a few more years of top notch Ovi, got to strike while the Ovi is hot. We don’t have pure shutdown defenders. Alzner is solid, but these two defenders bring a toughness we don’t have, outside of Erskine and TW. Caps have enough good stickhandlers on D with Green, Carlson, and Orlov – we need pure defenders and these guys bring it. Niskanen was #3 ranked overall and top ranked D free agent by TSN – http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/feature/?id=121716 – Sure the contracts are big and likely means Grabo gone and maybe Green is gone soon, but Caps need better D and the GM got it done. I love the move. I’m sure Holtby is jumping for joy. Finally, defense and not another winger.

  • Barrett

    please no.

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

    No, she’s right. Using words that exist only to vilify women isn’t acceptable here.

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

    @disqus_UYLpF2WSyO:disqus You can express your opinion without using language that vilifies all women.

  • DC Rob

    Carlson, Alzner, Orpik, Niskinan , Orlov, Green. Despite what it cost, that is a vastly improved top six D then the crap we have had to live with. This group has to be better then what we had just based on their experience. It will improve our goaltending facing fewer shots, and Trotz D first style might make us competitive in the playoffs for once

  • Austin

    lol i wasn’t trying to offend anyone jeez come on now people don’t be so soft all jokes here.

  • Austin

    not trying to offend… all jokes didn’t think it was that big of a deal but different words affect different people in different ways..

  • Austin

    Christ I love this blog but I did not know a few curse words here in there would get me crucified, especially since this is not a professional work place its the internet, but i digress my apologies RMNB…

  • Austin

    THANK YOU.

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

    I hear ya. We just want to make sure everyone feels welcomed to participate here, and sometimes those words discourage that— even if you don’t intend them to.

  • errantelf

    I’m a girl. Didn’t see the big deal.

  • Austin

    lol thank you as well

  • Austin

    Im not trying to get blocked, but I really am surprised that you deleted my original comment that was truly suppose to be positive and 40+ people agreed with me on it, but one person gets a little irritated at my language and you delete it? wow.

  • JenniferH

    Casual misogyny is an issue that is so commonplace many don’t even realize it’s present. Relaxation isn’t what is needed, being alert is key.

  • JenniferH

    And that’s fine for you, but other females did. As I stated above, casual misogyny is so commonplace that it’s easily overlooked and it doesn’t bother a lot of people, but for those it does bother, it is very much appreciated when it’s counteracted as Peter did here. I’m sorry the whole comment was deleted, but every little step that is done to counteract this culture’s casual use and acceptance of misogyny is welcome in my opinion.

  • Pat Magee

    Is he from Virginia or Minnesota?!?! #Smartjoke

  • Sarah

    I think there’s a bigger issue here, although I appreciate Peter’s efforts to keep RMNB from becoming just another sports site where practically every other post has the word bitch, tampon, or vagina in it. I’m a grown woman and can handle this but shudder to think of all the young girls who look at these supposedly safe sites and grow up thinking they have to hate themselves and other women to like sports.
    Gender aside, RMNB is as much fun as it is because it’s generally a respectful place to agree or disagree with the guys. I disagree with them right now, but like all the other regular, real commenters, male or female, I am doing so respectfully and civilly, not calling them everybody a bitch who disagrees with Mac’s decisions. 40+ people upvoted you… two dozen plus “guest votes” and the rest were mostly these recently registered accounts who are being uncivil to the RMNB guys in a way that most of the regular commenters who dissent (me, Steven, Lawrence, JenniferH, etc) are not.
    I love the culture of this blog. I’d like it to remain intact so that fun, educated people stick around. Mostly what I wanted to say wasn’t even about the word bitch everywhere, it was that even if every single one of you you is a real fan who totally agrees with what the organization is doing, you’re scoring own goals.

  • ckam21

    In case everyone forgot Crosby also threw him around like a rag doll when he was in dallas. He’s going to add some real toughness…….

  • John Baldwin

    Hail to the Redskins

  • Sarah

    100% of brand new commenters support Austin and everybody attacking the RMNB guys, what a surprise! And you’re pictured with women, bringing up the Redskins debacle, and trying to make this issue about PC and not what’s really going on here. Slick, except that the RMNB community isn’t going to buy that. Just let those of us who generally agree with the team do it, we do a hell of a better job.

  • DustinPenncakes

    You do realize that Richards and Ehrhoff took those contracts based off of the teams they went to, right? There is no way in hell they would sign those deals to play in Washington when they could take them and have a solid chance at a cup. Stralman is the exception in terms of years, but he also went to a serious cup contending team with Tampa which explains why he didn’t scrounge up more money somewhere else.

  • Sarah is clearly Peter

    …K

  • Searle

    So the Dust has settled. Awful contracts. Players I’m not too mad about. Where does this leave Mike Green though?! Are we having him and Niskanen on the second pairing at the $5.5 million dollar man on the bottom pairing? Seems like this signals Green is on his way out. If not now then soon.

  • Eric Stoutamyer

    Im with everyone else about the money for Orpik. But look a the 6 d men on the team now. Sometimes you can’t pay enough for a leader and a proven player to come in and teach the young D-men. Maybe Orpik is that guy. With Carlson Alzner , Niskanen, Green and Orloff he doesn’t have to log a lot of time on the ice every night. 5 mil a year….. yeah that stings, but if he can teach our D-men how to lay people out like he does it might be worth it.

  • Sasha Liles

    Was there a wealth of defenders that became available for free agency that I missed? You have to pay to play to improve the blue line. I’m starting to think there is nothing the Caps can do to make RMNB happy.

  • Rob Young

    What? The Penguins have done nothing but fail in the playoffs for the last several years, and with the huge turnover in players and a new (minor league) coach, there is no way to know whether they are a contender or not. There is certainly no evidence that they are. Who did they replace James Neal with? Nobody. And then you suggest that the Lightning is a “serious cup contender” after missing the playoffs and not doing anything since they won the cup in the 90s and losing Lecavalier AND St. Louis? In that case, who ISN’T a serious cup contender?

  • Rob Young

    I agree, but you have to admit, the terms are going to be a problem when we try to re-sign Kuznetzov and those up-and-coming D-men. And if we were to at least go to the finals during that time, we’ll really be screwed in terms of the cap.

  • Rob Young

    That’s what the other guy is for. You can’t complain about that.

  • Rob Young

    Erskin for Orpik? Who wouldn’t like that? Erskine, I guess. And Niskinan has got to be better than a revolving door of minor leaguers. And now there’s some serious pressure on Orlov to compete, given that there is no room for all of those new guys coming up. Of course, now we’ll end up losing (or giving up) one of those young guys, and he’ll end up winning the Norris.

  • mspeer

    I’m being won over slowly. The money (and age in Orpik’s case) still worries me, but what do I know about how this stuff goes down? Let me answer that for you – nothing. My real hope is that Trotz and staff knows what it takes to unite this team behind the scenes. Something hasn’t been clicking there for a long time and I don’t think it is *only* a lack of D or 2nd and 3rd line centers. Every Washington fan knows that adding talent doesn’t make a winning team (oh how we know). So, who knows. Hope springs eternal. Now I’ll go have another sip of the Chuck Gormley kool aid. :)

  • Rob Young

    RMNB, you guys just sent out a survey asking what the fans want out of this blog. I think that you should listen when people say (or imply) that you are potentially hurting the chemistry of this team by making new players feel unwelcome and turning the fans against them. You want to know how to make this blog better, maybe you should focus less on whether we like the personal interest stories and more on the effect that your largely-read voices have on the team itself.

  • John Baldwin

    Simply commenting on the statement “different words affect different people in different ways.”

  • Sasha Liles

    Well sure, but I don’t know what chess moves he will make. Perhaps the money will make sense as he goes along. Unlike RMNB as of late, I’m not going to pretend I know as much or more than our new GM does.

  • Sasha Liles

    My problem with this blog is it when from wit and fun to nastiness and a feeling like they are the preeminent hockey minds that somehow know exactly what Orpik et. al is worth in a marketplace. None of these blog writers have the first clue about what goes on during these negotiations but they act as though our new GM just gave both players the farm.

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

    haha

  • Boush

    By “dump” I meant trade away for anything that won’t count against the cap. Future considerations for the 2019 draft? Got it, here’s your Erskine.

    Volpatti going to the AHL is probably doable, though. Erskine can’t be sent to the AHL without still counting against the cap in some way, and Hillen would be the easiest to actually trade. I think if we trade something more valuable along with Erskine to, say, the Flames or Islanders, they would take him to get to the cap floor. Maybe one of the defensive prospects I mentioned, or a second or third round pick, or Brouwer/MoJo.

  • Sarah

    I’ve never been so tempted to post a gif of myself clapping sarcastically with a Stars hat on backwards, just for reference. Just so you know, that is a joke most regular commenters on this blog would get. I apologize if the trolls who’ve invaded don’t know what I’m talking about or, as seems to be the case, have lost their senses of humor in terrible industrial accidents.

  • Barrett

    Gotcha. I agree, trade them for something, anything, to clear space.

  • Alex

    I see what you did there….

  • CDizz

    Why was the top comment deleted? It was the only positive thing I’ve seen on this site for days.

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

    Bad language.

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

    Thanks for opinion, but I disagree vehemently. If we were to self-moderate our opinions and write disingenuously, that would not help the site. That would be a very bad idea.

    To the idea that we’re hurting the team’s chemistry by criticizing a signing, I’d say that we will have hurt the team far less than the signing.

    My suspicion is that, deep down, people know that the Orpik signing is hot mayonnaise garbage, but it’s more convenient to direct that anxiety at RMNB. So be it.

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

    The new GM gave Orpik the farm. For sure. Overpaid by more than a million dollars and signed for three years more than is viable. We’re not the only ones saying that.

    Oh well.

  • Alex

    Probably cuz someone didn’t agree with it….

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

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/comment-policy/

    #5 Slurs or belittlement targeting race, ethnicity, sex or sexuality, and stuff like that are strictly forbidden. No hate speech, religious attacks, or antagonism about intrinsic characteristics will be tolerated.

  • Rob Young

    There is nothing wrong with giving an opinion. And there is nothing wrong with sticking and/or defending it. But your opinions are largely based on one data point (Corsi) that is predictively presumptuous anyway. Corsi is a descriptive statistic, not an inferential statistic. That means that it’s not even designed to predict. And even if it were, statistics are only predictive to the extent that they can be used to refute null hypotheses. You can’t just look at a number and say that it predicts something. It makes it look like you really don’t understand what statistics are and how they work in prediction.

    It is fine for you to have strong opinions. But when you use pseudo-scientific rhetoric to back them up, it makes you sound untrustworthy – that you don’t really know what you’re talking about and you’re using big words, empty assurances and appeals to authority to get people to believe that you do.

    If your opinions were framed as your opinions and not hidden behind fancy stats that don’t really do what they claim to do, I would respect that.

    But all that aside, the real problem many of us have is the vitriol. You said it once, then twice, and you didn’t seem to want to stop. We get it. You don’t like these signings. You don’t have to hammer it home – especially when you are taking the risk of looking foolish if it actually does work out on ANY level. It’s your blog, and you can write what you want. But a lot of us don’t appreciate you making these guys feel unwelcome when they haven’t done anything wrong (except for playing for the Penguins). Do you remember what happened the last time a big-name Penguin came to play for us and felt out of place?

    No one is asking you to be Pollyanna. We’re just asking you to chill.

  • Rob Young

    Japers Rink isn’t going nuclear. Nor is the Peerless. Nor is Capitals Insider. They don’t have your cool name. But they’re not alienating their readers.

  • Sasha Liles

    I’ll admit I think they overpaid as well. But it seems like the attacks are starting to take a very personal bent in the last several months of negativity trending to the very nasty.

  • Sasha Liles

    But instead of critiquing the pick, you run his words about “not being taken advantage of” and mock them. You might not like the new GM, might not like the decision, but this open mocking you are doing of the front office just at some point seems uncouth.

  • 28ISGREAT

    I share your enthusiasm about all of the above…except Holtby. And w/ Grabo officially gone, we’re right back to the 2C issue we dealt with for all those years pre-Ribeiro.

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

    Calling a bad players a bad player is neither negative nor personal. He’s probably a lovely person, but he gets massively outshot so he’s not a good purchase. This is not “all knowingness,” this “knowonethingness.”

    And the negativity thing is, frankly, bullshit. The Caps made three good signings yesterday (Peters, Niskanen, Latta) and one bad one.

  • Sasha Liles

    We’ll have to agree to disagree. I will be back to being negative once the seasons starts anyway, so it is all good.