Trotz MacLellan (8 of 13)

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

On a hot late spring day a little over a month ago, Brian MacLellan met the media for the first time as general manager of the Washington Capitals. The move to hire him was surprising, with MacLellan’s only executive experience coming under his recently fired boss George McPhee. But in his first press conference, MacLellan conveyed a more analytic tone than McPhee. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis praised MacLellan as someone who would “refresh” an organization with an already strong core.

Many fans feared MacLellan would be a continuation of McPhee, accepting the status quo and perpetually insisting the Capitals could paper over their flaws. Instead, he has transformed the team in one day, spending a stunning $67.5 million.

“I think we had some needs and we addressed them,” MacLellan told reporters. “We had cap room. Ownership gave the green light to get to the cap and we spent the money where we thought we needed to spend it the most.”

First, MacLellan signed defenseman Brooks Orpik, 33, to a 5-year, $27.5 million contract. The move was universally regarded as foolish. In a few hours, MacLellan became one of the most maligned people in a city full of hyperbole. Orpik is a decent player, but entering the latter part of his career. Better defensemen like Christian Ehrhoff and Anton Stralman were picked up by other teams for less money and fewer years. Nevertheless, the Capitals were committed to him.

“The total dollars were centered around Brooks,” MacLellan said. “We needed to get him in first because we thought that was our greatest need. We tried to get him to stay as low as possible. We struggled with that fifth year for a while, and then we ended up we felt we had to go there because it was getting so competitive.”

Shortly before 5 pm, though, MacLellan went all-in. The team announced that they had signed defenseman Matt Niskanen to a 7-year, $40 million contract, forgoing an opportunity to re-sign Mikhail Grabovski and committing almost $70 million and 12 years to two former Penguins.

“I spent a lot of time going to Dick and Ted’s office back and forth,” MacLellan said. “I know it’s a big commitment by ownership. I feel we’ve addressed areas that we need to address, mainly our five-on-five play.”

Interestingly, new assistant coach Todd Reirden seems to wield great influence in the Trotz/MacLellan regime. He coached both Niskanen and Orpik in Pittsburgh and convinced MacLellan that Orpik was a smart move. Almost all other observers, however, think this signing will prove to be a folly. Orpik’s possession numbers are pedestrian, but MacLellan shook that off.

“I don’t think we emphasize Corsi on him,” he said. “He gets put in defensive situations a lot. He starts in defense zone, he doesn’t get offense zone starts. I don’t view him as a guy that carries the puck a lot. He’s defensive defensemen. He’s a shot blocker, he’s strong in front of the net, he clears the crease. He does all those intangible things, plus the leadership side plus he makes the guy beside him a little better too.”

The Caps now have around one million in cap space left, with many holes to fill. With a lot of defenseman now on the roster, Mike Green and his $6 million cap hit could be on move. However, MacLellan dismissed that suggestion — at least for now.

“He’s a good player,” the GM said. “We’re hoping to get him back on track.”

“I like our defense,” MacLellan continued. “We have six really good defensemen. I think we have good balance now. I think we’re gonna let it play out and see how we’re doing.”

Terrible defense was Washington’s biggest hole (among many) last year. MacLellan just threw nearly $67.5 million at that problem. The Capitals will be a different team in the years to come, good or bad.

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  • ABC

    You can’t make the Ehrhoff comparison. Same with Richards to CHI. These players had that specific team in mind and took 1 year, cheap deals to have a shot with that team. The Stralman one is more comparable. ~4.25×5 years. He’s younger, but a lot less proven than Orpik. I still think Orpik was overpaid and 5 years is too long, but in comparison to the other top UFA Defensemen out there, his contract isn’t too far out of line for some with a big name like him. You can argue that both him and Stralman are overpaid (which I agree with), but I also think paying him got us Niskanen. I expected way worse to land Niskanen (upwards of 6.5 AAV) so maybe Orpik signing got him on board with the Caps and for less money (especially if the Tampa rumors are true).

    We just have to wait and see how this all pans out. Today will likely make or break the rest of the Ovechkin era in Washington and only time will tell to see if this gamble pays off. Have a bit of faith and lets wait until they’re on the ice October 9th before we even begin to pass judgement.

  • Jack Conness

    Okay, I do apologize for being a huge Debby Downer today. I gotta try to look at the positives. It’s been a long day. Anyways, look at our six d-men. Orpik/Carlson, Niskaken/Alzer, Green/Orlov, a combination of those of some sorts. That is a million times better than last year. I know, way too much money spent. We still don’t have a 2C. That’s rough. But we have a significant upgrade on defense IMO. Maybe these six will really work together. This isn’t Adam Oates anymore. Maybe Barry Trotz can really make this work. It could be worse. I guess what I’m so upset about is the money. It’s just a lot. If they can somehow add at 2C to this, it would be a lot better.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    “The move was universally regarded as foolish.”

    FALSE

    https://twitter.com/ChuckGormleyCSN/status/484018320635473922

  • eh

    Don’t throw stones from a glass house! Pretty sure people would like to see Brouwer moved now!

  • riggorules

    MacLellan “fixes” the holes on defense and leaves an even bigger one at center. I can’t put any lipstick on the pig that is Orpik’s contract.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    Yeah dumb people who are dumb.

  • Michael Austin

    We can compliance buyout Orpik after year 3 right?
    Looking at it that way we just are closer to cap for 3 years

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Many holes to fill= 2c. Apparently, that’s many.

  • Michael Austin

    Kuzya can play 2C

  • Michael Austin

    is kuzya an option

  • Luke Anthony

    No, compliance buyouts are done, were designed to help teams get under cap after the lockout. Still regular buyouts that can be done in the summer.

  • GraboviMyBozak

    If they don’t sign or trade for a 2c, Kuzya is who they’re going to go to.

  • Kyle Reid

    It has to be trade now really. What 2(ish) centre can we sign for 1.5 million (maybe 2.5 if we can offload Erskine)

  • Luke Anthony

    Honestly, our defense group actually is a billion times better now. Carlson, Alzner, Niskanen, Green, Orpik, and Orlov is better than having Carrick or Erskine in. Orpik’s contract is way too long, but there is at least a bright side to this

  • Austin

    I love how unbiased your opinion is.. ;)

  • Michael Austin

    Mueller

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Possibly Legwand. He’s not really a 2c but he might try to sign for cheap to reunite with Trotz.

  • Michael Austin

    personally i think giving kuzya a chance at abreakout wont is a good risk reward

  • Pat Magee

    We’ve been complaining for literally like 5 years about not having a solid D core. Well, now we do. If Orpik’s career suddenly gets revived, his contract will almost be half worth it.

    Hey, maybe all this depth at D will be a good thing?

  • Pat Magee

    It happens to everybody, didn’t the flyers sign Chris Pronger for 6 years when he was already 36? Yeah. DFDs are tough to come by these days i guess.

  • Austin

    I have been posting way more than I ever have today, but I just want to say:

    1. The deals today caused a lot of people to become hostile but it is because we care about the caps so much.

    2. I personally think our team has significantly improved after these moves, and If you take away the money aspect our D actually looks kind of serious now

    3. The need for D was much more important than the need for a 2C right now, but I would like to see some players cough cough Erskine cough moved just to free up some space for future deals

    4. and @peterhassett:disqus sorry for causing any trouble.

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

    I love your optimism, but I think you’re being a little naive if you think 2C is the only issue the team has left to address. Also, I don’t think you’re being constructive in your criticism and I ask that you try to be.

    The Caps have a lot of veteran players at forward, but there are a lot of square pegs trying to fit in round holes. Here are some of the problems I see:

    1) Who is going to play with Ovi?
    2) Why were Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom’s shooting percentages so low last season and was that a system issue or a chemistry issue?
    3) How do you replace Mikhail Grabovski’s possession and game breaking play at center?
    4) Where do you play Evgeny Kuznetsov (+ which position) and Tom Wilson? If you move Tom Wilson up – who do you put on the back lines?
    5) Troy Brouwer, Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, and Jason Chimera are all basically the same player and are all vastly overpaid. Wardo and Chimera have chemistry together, but who knows if that will extend into next season.
    6) You have all these players to play in Barry Trotz’s system, yet who knows if they’ll actually thrive in Barry Trotz’s system.
    7) The Capitals team defense was terrible and that was not all the actual defenders’ fault.

    The Capitals now have no money and no mobility to address that and they are banking that Barry Trotz’s new system or players from the organization will fill the void and fix everything. I am leery.

  • Dave

    I’m glad to hear that they at least struggled with that 5th year… Idiots.

    Also, my money is on Green getting moved. There was a quote from Trotz on the defense when he called out “good” dmen on the. Caps, and Green wasn’t on his list.

  • Pat Magee

    Same here to all 4. I know i speak out of emotion, and before thinking. Goes to show DC does have a large, passionate fanbase.

    We’re just so used to GMGM doing next to nothing on FA day or deadline day. He never gambled or went for big names to fill holes. (Oveckin era)

  • Graham Dumas

    Also saw Laughlin really approved of this move. Is Orpik’s lengthy contract less about numbers (duh!) and more about leadership for the younger D-men coming up? Are they paying that much for a role model/babysitter? I’m still really trying to figure out where this leaves us.

  • Austin

    I agree, but I think that our D has gotten better with the new deals even if Brooks price was ridiculous. Personally I am not a fan of Johansson I wish we could trade him, And I wish we could keep wardo and chimer they have great chemistry, but Laich, unless he explodes this season which is more unlikely, his contract is just a waste.

  • Graham Dumas

    Yup. I really would be all about this if it were for less. It just seems like BMac was set on Orpik from the getgo. Wonder why…

  • Austin

    I would also get rid of johansson after this year because im sure Burakovsky will be up in the 2015-2016 if he does not make the roster this fall.

  • Graham Dumas

    So here’s a question: we all know Orpik isn’t going to go the distance. What the hell is our exit strategy from this?

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Mojo is obviously not a first line forward. He chooses the wrong times to shoot, he’s soft, and doesn’t drive to the net. These are some reasons to why his shooting percentage was low. I think we should use him or Brouwer to find a good 2c. Brouwer would make more sense if we are looking to give Wilson more time. Nicky was really passive this year which lead to his goal scoring decrease. Wardo isn’t overpaid. He is the reason our 3rd line is as good as it is. Chimmer is on a fair 2 year deal. He still has speed and is a decent penalty killer. Grabovski is overrated on this site. Sure he drives possession but he got injured twice and it could affect him in the future. Kuzya should stay on the wings because of his weight. I think he would be a great complement to Ovi and Nicky because he’s willing to shoot the puck but he’s also a great playmaker. He still needs to adjust to playing in the NHL but he should be fine because of his experience from last year.

  • Austin

    All for getting rid of Johansson and ____ for a 2C say I !!

  • Michael Austin

    Why is everybody against mojo i think he is a 2nd line type guy with upside to grow

  • Dave

    Just to follow up on my Green claim, here is the link:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capitals-insider/wp/2014/05/30/former-players-on-barry-trotz-he-taught-me-how-to-be-a-pro/

    “Do we have some holes? Yeah,” Trotz said. “We have to get some consistency on the back end, and when I say the back end, I mean our whole defensive five-on-five game. There’s got to be a consistency factor on the back end. We’ve got some really good people in [John] Carlson and [Karl] Alzner and [Dmitry] Orlov. That group has to be a little more consistent, especially around the net, the small-area game.”

  • Michael Austin

    trade in year 3 offseason for 3rd or fourth round pick and eat 2.75

  • Luke Anthony

    Not against him as much as some, but he REALLY has to shoot more and be consistent if he’s going to be a top 6 forward. Unless he’s traded, he will have to be a top 6 forward, we’re out of cap space.

  • Graham Dumas

    Sure, but what about the limited no-trade clause? Do we have any actual info on what that clause looks like? Also, if we feel the need to trade him, there’s going to be a performance-related reason behind that move; who’s going to want to pick him up?

  • JMW

    Honestly, what are the other holes that need filling?

  • sargeantmofo

    Trying to think positively after being depressed all day…

    If we play our best line, the Chimmer/Fehr/Ward line, as our 2nd line, we technically don’t need a 2C, right? Then put MoJo/Kuzya/Brouwer as our 3rd line? Or Brouwer/Laich/Kuzya as 3rd line? Maybe Wilson in there? Can I use more question marks??

  • UnleashThyFury

    a 2nd line center. just depth down the middle. Letting Grabo go leaves a big hole.

  • orlovme

    I am, overall, happy with the signings. GMBM made the moves he said he would and signed the pieces to fill the holes on the back-end. There were not many physical, stay-at-home, defensemen available and he grabbed the best he, and the rest of the NHL teams, had available. He paid the price to land him but managed Niskanen and Peters well. Our defense is much better AND deeper now. We have room to move other defensemen if the forwards feel slim.

    On the topic of forwards, why not have Kuzya play 2C? He gained some weight from the wedding cake and I’m sure he can learn to take faceoffs better. Also, I know we have a-lot of righties but I don’t think Trotz is obsessed with handedness, he had Etat at RW (and Etat led a successful career for the most part) while Oates put him at C and LW (and made him change his game and play the 4th line). I have a feeling our forward depth is ok and that we could add another center if need-be, but most likely through trade, we have a few extra D-Men now, yet not necessary until after camp or the first few weeks of the season to feel the new system and teammates out.

  • UnleashThyFury

    I don’t think we have Brouwer anywhere but the 2 line. And Chim/Ward work so well together on 3. I like the idea of Kuz moving inside though. Gotta find a center somewhere

  • eoslick

    Can we give a new GM at least one off season and part of a season before we shred him?

  • Jack Conness

    MoJo sucks. He is soft and has banked off the badass(ness) of Ovi and Backstrom his whole career. You take him away from those two and he is nothing. I’ve never been a fan of his play. There is nothing special about his game, unless you count the “disappearing act”. I hope they can trade him and Brouwer/Wardo/Chimera to get a 2C. Anyone can take his spot. *please Tom Wilson* Shoot, Burakovsky could be an upgrade over MoJo soon enough.

  • orlovme

    tl dr; Needs addressed by GMBM with limited resources, price had to be paid.

    Kuzya+wedding cake @ 2C,

    New coaches, different (better) results from existing forwards.

  • Jack Conness

    It’s going to be hard to get better results from Chimera and Wardo. I love these two to death but their numbers and shooting percentages were absurd last season. They will more than likely come back down to earth.

  • breaklance

    Orpik is a significant upgrade over Erskine no way about it. Yes he’s in decline, he’s old, he’s waaay over priced, and I’m assuming won’t play all 5 years in DC. But he makes the team better now, and probably next season too. People point out he hasn’t played a full season in a while, but ya know what? He’s avg about 70 games per season in his career. Which is better 12 or 82? Twelve games, twelve games that erskine plays. Obviously barring other injuries in this hypothetical example but I think you get my point.

    I’m not a fan of Niskanen’s term but he is in his prime, and blah blah blah. He’s been pretty average over his career with would be pretty much your 4th pick in 2 pairings. He plays like he did though the AAV is pretty good. Costs are going up and so is the cap, every year we seem to be surprised by somebody getting waaaaay to much of a payday but what are we judging that to now? Willie Mitchell who isn’t terrible, but was a 7th d on the cup winning LA Kings is getting 4.25m a significant raise over his 3.5 before hand.

    All in all I don’t think (or just hope) that the Caps are done they’ve got assets we can part with and now a really good d team when guys like Erskine, Hillen, Carrick etc are the depth players you expect them to be and not regular top 4.

  • Roy Schue

    Your problems 1,3,4 are all coaching decisions to be made in camp. Problems 2 and 7 I firmly believe we’re system issues caused by horrible coaching ie Adam Oates. I do strongly agree with number 5 and wanted Laich bought out. I would still like to see one of the other 3 traded. Wards value will never be higher, great time to move him but I doubt trotz will let him go. That leaves chimmer or Brouwer to be traded IMO

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    I think this blog is being far too negative about all this. I’m not saying the contracts won’t be a problem two to three years down the road, but any suggestion that this team isn’t improved seems fairly stupid to me.

  • breaklance

    I read elsewhere that it was the Red Wings who threw out 42m for 7 at Niskanen and Niskanen’s agent was rather surprised that it was us, tbl, and det who were the only ones even close to offering a big payday on niskanen. It seems Reidren and Trotz greatly influenced Orpik’s opinion on washington who in turn told Niskanen his opinion on wash and sold both.

  • Jack Conness

    MacLellan did prove one thing to us; he ain’t no George McPhee. Dude was willing to put it all out there. Regardless if he is right or wrong, it’s different. And that’s what we have all been looking for.

  • Tikkanesenuts

    Caps offseason scorecard:

    Coach – Improved
    Assistant Coaches – Improved!
    Goalies – Improved (holtby no longer looking over his shoulder)
    Defense – Yes! Improved! Thank god!
    Forwards – Null or worse if Grabo leaves
    GM – TBD

    Oh yea we still have Ovi and Nicky. I’m ok with this…

  • Green’s gang

    It would be dumb to keep green.

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

    A) I think all of us on RMNB would agree that the Caps’ defense has been improved today, but by how much so is arguable. So I’m not sure where you’re getting that conclusion.
    B) You saying the contracts could be a problem “two or three years down the road” is pretty much why we are so leery of them.

    If you think this team was two defenders and a new head coach away from being Stanley Cup contenders, then it should be a very happy day for you. If you are a person of the belief that the team has serious depth issues and are basically a bunch of veteran players frankensteined together at forward, then you are probably going to be a little bit leery of what’s next without Mikhail Grabovski and little cap room.

    To each his own.

    The good part is that regardless what lens you see today’s moves through, both people are going to still be huge fans of this team and root them on hard.

  • CJ Easton

    I disagree however at this point and with what we just committed I would trade Green to make room for Grabo. I like Green and would want him to stay but given the depth of D we have presently I think the move is warranted to fill 2C

  • Pat Magee

    Well……… The salary cap IS supposed to go up again next year so….. Who knows? Only time will tell.

  • CJ Easton

    Ian while I agree with your comment there and generally with all things being said by you (everyone at RMNB) and by Jasper’s (in particular Orpik) I would love to seewhat you just posted laid out well by yourself, Fedor, Peter, or Chris. I have seen more “stop the negativity” posts today on the forums here than ever before and I think it related to people not really understanding what it is in detail that many of us dislike about the situation here today. I get that that seems crazy but look at the number of the ‘negative nancy’ posts are here today.

  • Austin

    If he was “game over green” like he use to be years back, then I would be for keeping him, but ever since he got concussed he always seems so out of it.

  • CJ Easton

    Different isn’t good or bad, it’s just different. I think that about sums up where we are right now really well. Give it the first 1/2 of the year and we will have more to judge.

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

    Thanks, CJ!

    I’ll take that into consideration. If I have time, I will.

  • CJ Easton

    Maybe though his stats sway me. I missed the “Glory Days” of this team (became a fan in 2011) and have only seens him hurt, a shell of himself, or more recently post-injury Green. TBH I like what I have seen this year but was far more disenfranchised with him 2011-13. He did well and pushed the puck on a team that found that difficult.

  • CJ Easton

    Appreciated and Best wished to you and the Mrs.

  • FFGMBM

    just trade mojo and brouwer for a 3rd round pick and resign grabo.

  • Roy Schue

    At this point who really cares, that’s a couple years down the road. Let’s focus on the product that is going to be on the ice this year

  • Roy Schue

    I….fill in the blank with Brouwer.

  • CJ Easton

    I hate that I think this but I do. I wonder if the thought was all along to make a play for Nisk and then, when they decided to go for 2 D men rather than split priorities, they could get to Orpik for whom there was at the very least LESS competition and possibly leverage him to get Nisk.

    I say this because had this played out we got Niskanen and Grabo this would have been an excellent day; Niskanen, however, would have been far more likely to go elsewhere. While having Grabo (a win) I think the possibability of no move on D was not tolerable so he upped the anti by going for 2. GMBM has stated clearly Defense was a goal and priority.

  • FFGMBM

    i guess it wasnt bad enough that we already had 1 overpaid brooks… 10 million dollars for a combined 70 games this season. whats gonna happen is iron man is going to come into camp and fail his physical, but he’ll still make the roster…

  • CJ Easton

    Blasphemy!!!!!!

  • CJ Easton

    I can’t agree on the ‘bigger hole’ when we went a significant portion of last year with Grabo injuried. Did play suffer? Oh yes! Did he play a full season? No. What’s my concern? He won’t again.

    While I know 2C is a major recurring theme there was no bigger hole last season than the back 75 feet of ice.

  • CJ Easton

    Just pointing out that Trotz has stated Ovi will start RW. Looks like that change is permanent…. Good).

  • CJ Easton

    and hit the cap for… what? Twice the length left? Dipetro will be on NYI cap hit list for another decade I think.

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

    I didn’t necessarily read his comments that way.

  • Roy Schue

    To be clear, I like Brouwer but with ward, chimmer, Wilson, and fehr I feel he is expendable and has some value.

  • AW

    Pronger was a superstar defender…Orpik’s not.

  • BlitzKrieg

    On the plus side the penguins d fence got crippled

  • Matt Lauer

    I am leery of trading MoJo simply because he brings speed to a team that lacks it sorely. Also, you can’t really rag on his passing game all that much. Otherwise, yes, an average player.

  • Eric Schulz

    I’m assuming they merely like the player and aren’t really paying attention to (or didn’t know at the time) the contract that comes along with him. There are 4 or maybe even 5 guys I would’ve rather had at 6D than Orpik, but I’d’ve been very happy to have him… for 3 years, something like $8 M.

  • Eric Schulz

    It only needs to jump by about $60 million in order for this deal to be worth it.

  • Eric Schulz

    Honestly, it’s about 135% better now. We’re paying as if it’s 400% better. Ouch.

  • Roy Schue

    They didn’t sign him for 6D. He’s gonna be second line ie 3 or 4D

  • Eric Schulz

    Impossible, you mean. I’d say impossible to get AS GOOD results, much less better. We could’ve hoped for better play from Ovechkin, same point totals… better, more consistent production from Johansson, Brouwer playing all season like he played the latter half of last season, and Grabovski staying healthy, plus Kuznetsov here all year (he pro-rates to 51-52 points next year; I think his high on-ice shooting percentage coming down is balanced by added bulk, better coaching, some experience, better linemates, and improving – he’s still young). But without Grabovski, so much of that falls aside. We don’t have a 2C anymore, and we no longer have Semin to prop up our 2nd line. We have a 1st line, then a 3rd and 2 4ths… and we have a 1st C, then a bunch of 4th Cs. But hey, you can win without good centers, right?

  • Eric Schulz

    Brouwer and MoJo are worth a 1st each. Moving them to resign Grabo would be worth it, but don’t give them away for nothing (obviously you may not find the right fit, in time, to move each for a 1st, but we should, at minimum, get back 4 2nds and a prospect or 2).

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah. I’d rather move Ward (we need to keep Wilson for obvious reasons, while Fehr is too cheap for us to benefit from moving him) than Brouwer.. it comes down to those 2, and given that we’d rather keep Brouwer, he is obviously the one who carries more value. Maybe moving Johansson and Ward frees up enough cap space to resign Grabo though, so we can just move them for picks? I wish…

  • Eric Schulz

    He makes us unable to resign Grabovski. That makes our roster worse next year than it was this year. That’s why we care about his contract. It screws us over.

  • Eric Schulz

    If we could guarantee that Chimera – Fehr – Ward would be as good this year as it was last, then yes… the problem is that there is a 0% chance that that happens.
    I like Johansson’s passing with Brouwer’s shooting on the 3rd line… with Ovechkin and Backstrom forming the backbone of a 1st, we could have something there, but I thought the idea was to contend, not to get back to the playoffs merely in order to be ousted in round 1 for the next few years. Looking at the roster we have, we have very little chance of getting to round 2, much less the Finals, much less winning it all.

  • Eric Schulz

    1st RW, 2nd C, 2nd RW, 3rd line F…

  • Eric Schulz

    There is nothing special about his game except his speed, stick-handling, and passing. Oh, wait, those are all good things? Just because he doesn’t fit with Ovechkin and Backstrom doesn’t mean he isn’t worth having.
    I’d love to see him paired with Brouwer on the 3rd; his passing with Brouwer’s shooting would, I think, make for a dynamite 3rd line combination (a healthy Laich would be a perfect 3rd F, IMO). If Johansson was putting up 7 goals and 32 assists while Brouwer put up 24 goals and 16 assists from the 3rd (~ 16-18–34 from Laich), suddenly everybody would be loving our 3rd line (and the players on it). The problem isn’t Johansson, the problem is him being miscast as a 1st W next to those guys.

  • Roy Schue

    I’m not sure where everyone’s caps are after today, but a team trying to get to the cap floor may have interest in green???

  • Eric Schulz

    They added Ehrhoff.

  • Eric Schulz

    Buy him out. Not hard.

  • Eric Schulz

    I’d love to have a top 10 defense. Who are we adding to get us there, and how are we doing it with no cap room?

  • Eric Schulz

    If we move Green, then we traded Green for Niskanen and Orpik; that’s barely better than a lateral move, and is a step back when you consider the contracts.

  • Eric Schulz

    For one, I meant his skill level is 6D. Also, how is he not gonna be 6D?
    Alzner – Carlson
    Niskanen – Green
    Orlov – Orpik
    You think he’s better than any of those 5 ahead of him (4 plus Orlov paired with him)?

  • Roy Schue

    Where do you see green fitting in, trotz didn’t even mention him when he spoke of the defencemen we had. Third line with orlov?

  • gustafsson16

    So by his ‘whole career’ you are refering to last season and maybe a few games here and there in the ’12-’13 season? Every post I see by this guy is a MoJo sucks post, as if he is the sole reason we were terrible last season. Is he a first line player? Obviously not. But we cant have 4 lines of All-Stars cuz there’s this thing called the salary cap. Johansson is a creative distributor and puck mover when placed on a line more realistic for his skill set – 3rd line, in my opinion. Yes, heaven forbid that Ward-Fehr-Chimera line be broken up but that combination, while effective last season, will not be a long term solution. Who should be the other wing on the first line? No idea. Honestly I dont think the answer is on our current roster. Kuzya is promising but not ready, Laich’s best years are done, Fehr is better suited somewhere in the line 2-3 range, Wilson is also not ready (and probably will cap out at line 2-ish range). So pretty much whoever is with Backstrom and Ovechkin is going to be a passenger, regardless of who you put there.

  • Greg

    If you’re wondering why the Orpik contract feels like a bad christmas, the reason is at 1:21 of this video (really that is the only part you should watch, I can’t endorse any other part of it).

    http://choosecommonsense.org/powerofnow

    He even admits it! Otherwise, I’m happy Orpik is on the team.

  • doeshin

    NO GRABO? NO MIKAIL?

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH~~~~

  • Willie

    On the bright side: we could end up with Connor McDavid next year.

  • Red

    Defense was our most glaring hole. So we plugged it up with money. I get it. But going so at the cost of a solid 2C is massively disappointing. Just my opinion, but I thought Grabby was a perfect addition to a puzzle otherwise filled with numerous ill-fitting pieces. Losing him is gonna suck. Aside from Nicky, we litteraly have nobody who can distribute the puck. If he goes down for any amount of time, we simply won’t be winning any games. Plus, when Grabby played, he had good chemistry with linemates, and seemed genuinely happy to be a part of this team. That should count for something.

    It’s not a bad move by BMac, I just think it’s the wrong one. Seems like the Caps are always looking for a quick fix and fail to find long-term solutions.

  • Searle

    He knows what he wants, and will do anything to get it. Example one is his taking of Vrana way earlier than predicted rather than trading down. Example two overpaying massively to get his guy on July 1st. Let’s hope it pays off.

  • Matt D

    Is it Grabovski or Gretzky, can’t tell by this site anymore? All that money being spent yesterday, nobody was throwing it at him….Also, feel like we are going crazy with possession numbers. Greens were relatively good last year, yes? Anyone who watched the games feel like he was helping the cause?

  • ChoppinBroccoli

    When your GM opens his press conference with “Be nice…..be nice” it doesn’t exactly instill confidence that he believes he had a good day.

    Right now it seems we (the fans) are focused on the trees (personnel) instead of the forest (model). Ted had a clean slate and could have opted to model the Caps after the Kings and instead they’re modeling the Penguins/Predators. It’s almost as if he’s always had Penguin envy.

  • RandoCommando

    I like the signings but the $ is a bit concerning. I love that he is addressing a huge problem we have been experiencing. Hope this translates to success this season.

  • Shmoo

    I think you’re way off on the trade value of Brouwer and MoJo. We got Brouwer for a 1st round pick, but it was a late first in a shallow draft to the Blackhawks who were clearing space. Other people can see MoJo’s stats and play – what does he offer? I could see him developed into a solid 3C at best. Hence our desire to trade him out of the logjam of 3rd line caliber players playing in the top 6.

    I’d be happy to get ONE 2nd round pick for Brouwer or a 3rd rounder + solid prospect who could develop back to 2nd/3rd line potential.

    MoJo I’d gladly trade for a prospect and 3rd rounder.

  • Shmoo

    The key is what we do at trade deadline. Coach/GM keep mentioning getting Green back on track. It’s his contract year. I hope we fix him long enough to flip him at the trade deadline. For a center / top 6 need and possibly a bottom pair NHL D-man.

    Green is fun sometimes in the regular season, but a nightmare in the postseason, particularly as dainty as he is.

  • Shmoo

    On a mid market team that wants to make a “splash” or a team that needs to reach the floor, like Buffalo or Florida. Would love to trade Green to Buffalo for Josh Gorges + anything.

  • Corsi queen

    This site gets worse by the day, grabo the game breaker nooooo lol. Sorry not all of like butter soft player but it’s whatever the team got better and we have the best defense we have had in a very long time.

  • JenniferH

    I honestly think you’re jumping the gun with many of these questions. After the trading is all over, after camp development is over and we see who’s here, who’s left, where the positioning is …. then if these are still up in the air, many of these will be valid, but now? Right now these are questions that BMac, Trotz and his assistants are absolutely going to be dealing with and I am 100% sure they ARE dealing with them because it’s their job. We don’t know what they have planned, but unlike the GMGM/Oates era, I am confident that there is a plan, and a good one … because Trotz knows what he’s doing.

  • JenniferH

    When your GM opens his press conference with “Be nice…..be nice” it
    doesn’t exactly instill confidence that he believes he had a good day.

    Or it means that he read Twitter and the blogs and is prepared to answer the questions that he knows will be thrown at him.

  • JenniferH

    I have zero doubts that BMac and Trotz have a plan for the 2C and so I’m very happy with what happened today and what it means for the team this season. BMac said what he wanted to do, what he was going to do and damned if he didn’t go out and do exactly that. We’re gonna make it to the Stanley Cup Finals if not see Ovi raise that Cup in April 2015.

  • tpr04

    I like these moves. I don’t know how many times we’ve criticized McPhee for not doing this. And adding two UFA’s does not mean we are trying to build through free agency. For the most part, the rest of this team, 21 out of 23 players, has come via draft, trades, or modest UFA deals.

    In terms of the money, you pay what the market demands. The Caps badly needed two more top 4 D-men, a position for which there is a huge demand. They got them and managed to stay under the cap. And I’m sure there will be moves to open up more space – clearly Erskine has to go. You could easily clear out $4M to bring in someone at center by moveing Mojo and Erskine.

    In terms of the future, the Caps have somewhere close to $20M coming off the books next year. Also, the cap will, in all liklihood, go up. Now some of that space will be eaten up by extensions to Ward, Kuz, and Holtby. But we will still probably be buyers next July 1st as well.

    Basically, signing Orpik and Niskanin did not restrict us now or in the future from getting the other assets we need. We overpaid – sure, but we overpaid for the positions we desperately needed filled.

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    Here’s my thing: I have no way to prove this, but the way the other signings played out across the league, it seems to me that MacLellan had two choices: what he did or nothing. I actually could have understood doing nothing. I understand the argument, “We don’t overpay. I don’t care how poorly we did last year. Those other teams overpay, and when they’re locked into bad contracts, we’ll eat their lunch.”

    I don’t think this band of screamers could have tolerated nothing. So, I take what he did, and I go, “The defense is more imposing. How much more? We’ll see, but it’s undoubtedly more imposing. Plus, you factor in the way Trotz is going to set up the defense and the forwards, hopefully that adds some meat to this thing. Also, at the end of the day, I don’t really have to worry about it because the Washington Capitals is a completely separate entity from me. The beginning of free agency isn’t open-heart surgery performed on my own heart. So I deal.”

  • tpr04

    And I’ll add this to the 2C debate. While I agree that is the next position we need to address, I don’t think it’s more important than what was needed on defense. We had a competent 2C this past season in Grabo and we had one the prior season in Ribs. How far did we get? Not past the 1st round and not in the playoffs.

    Sure, we could have passed on Orpik and Niskanin, and fielded Hillen and Erskine again. Even if we threw so much money at Statsny that he had to come here, with the same defense, we would have still been, at best, a likely 1st round casualty.

    And I don’t think these moves cost us Grabo. I wouldn’t give Grabo 5 years at $25M, which is what he’s asking for. If it ends up being $4.5 for 2 or 3 years, we can still do that. Erskine will be traded – we aren’t going to carry 8 defenseman. You could easily create the space to get Grabo. Unloading Erskine and Mojo would do that for you – and, quite honestly, I don’t see how either fit into this team going forward.

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    Also, I like Grabovski as much as the next anxious Caps fan. But the terror over losing him seems somewhat outsized. The man contributed 13 goals to the team. In total, the Caps scored 235 goals last year. That’s more the many of the teams that made the playoffs. Having a stronger D this year, maybe they score less, maybe they score more. It’ll be tight, but it could be a significant improvement. (Even a small improvement in the right areas could be significant.) Honestly, I’ve always been much more concerned about Ovie’s growing cynicism over his role on the team and what’s expected of him.

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    Stastny never would have come here. That’s another thing a lot of people aren’t factoring in. A lot of these top guys probably don’t want to come to Washington if stronger contenders are willing to offer them a similar amount of money. I honestly think that influenced the Caps’ acquisitions more than anything else.

  • tpr04

    I completely agree. Just getting UFA’s to come here was a high bar. Getting Niskanin to take less money to come here than he was offered elsewhere was a shocker. It may be a sign that things are, in fact, finally changing.

  • jp_daddi0

    I think Trotz said he’s going to start Ovi8 at RW and then go from there (paraphrasing).

  • Steve

    Don’t worry guise, we got kuz

  • Igor Kleyner

    Ah, what a lovely refreshing drink you can make out of these comments… Just mix equal amounts of Kool-Aid and Goat Blood, add lots of ice, and enjoy your FA Day special!

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    I was happy with the signings. At first I was very pissed with the money and term Orpik got. I do think we overpaid, but I also think he will bring a big change to our D corp that has been missing. Niskanen we got cheaper than market price was suggesting. So it’s kind of a wash is you ask me. Our D improved. With the current 6 D im thinking GMBM is talking about, in theory you have 3 solid pairings and can spread the minutes around more evenly. If Green gets traded, well then, we get cap room and unclog the D log jam some.

    We desperately need a 2C. We need to trade/salary dump a few players, sign up a couple guys and we could have a very nice roster. In my fantasy GM role, this is what I’d aim for:

    Ovi-Backy-Ward
    Kuzzy-Legwand-Wilson
    ChimChim-Grabo-Fehr
    Latta-Beagle-Volpatti-Brown

    Green-Orpik
    Carlson-Alzner
    Niskanen-Orlov
    Hillen

    Holtby
    Peters

    Not a bad roster. Still not sure on D pairings unless Green gets moved. But I’d really like to see him stay and try out a few games with the new D corp. But thats a pricey 3rd pairing no matter what. Maybe minutes can be spread out more evenly? Yes this roster is assuming we can dump Laich, Majo, Brouwer, and Erskine.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Also, as someone mentioned on another site, with the cap most likely going up each year…the Niskanen contract most likely will look like a steal 2-3 years from now. Orpiks most likely wont look like a steal, and yes by year 3 he will probably be an overpaid 3rd pairing…but again with a rising cap, it shouldnt hamstring us…like Laich’s is now.

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    That’s what happens when you have to improve it that badly I guess – the players know our D sucks too haha

  • CityofOaksResident

    The salary cap is lower this year than teams thought it would be. There is obviously no long term thinking by GMBM as Holtby, Wilson, Kuznetsov will all be coming due either next year or the year after plus there will still be the need to find a 2C.

    I think fans are forgetting how awful the team was offensively when Grabovski went down with injury. Fehr really isn’t a center and a guy like Latta isn’t a 2 or 3 center now.

  • johnnymorte

    Guys, it’s been said before and I’ll say it again: Defense wins championships. We can always move pieces if they don’t work out, Dmen are in high demand, and we do have 1 compliance buyout remaining. What I’m concerned about is the hole that Grabo leaves, and how quickly Kuzya can adapt to C in the league and start to win faceoffs. Brouwer could possibly be a strong pairing with Legwand. We should look to find a way to complement his skillset. Brouwer has proved to everyone that he is not a fluke, and I think with a strong forechecking C he could be even better.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Lower than expected, but still went up. They split the difference at $69 mil. Players wanted $71, owners $67. But it still went up, as it will each year. So I think long term thinking was still considered. There will be money.

    I agree the need for a 2C. Which is why certain players that serve no real purpose need to be shown the door.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    FYI, no more compliance buyouts. Only regular buyouts from here on out.

  • JH

    I’ve seen some RMNB comments where you defend yourselves and say you’re not being negative. Well, you are. Read your own headlines. “Insane” deal. “Spending spree.” What is not negative about a “disaster” of a deal. Or addressing the defensive needs “in the worst way possible.” Not only is it negative, it’s hyperbolic and hysterical.

    I’ve *never* seen RMNB like this – in particular with an incoming player. The vitriol is stunning. I’ve frankly lost some respect for your commentary. It was like a toddler’s tantrum yesterday. Maybe in the clear light of the morning-after, we can hold hands and sing kumbayah and come together to celebrate the fact that the defense was strengthened, which was something everyone wanted. We got what everyone’s been asking for — a toughened D — and then we quibble – nay, screech – about the way in which it was provided. Sure, we didn’t get the steal of the century, and indeed probably overpaid. There are intangibles that go beyond corsi, etc.

    The Caps, in fact, just became a much tougher team to play against. And don’t give me this “the fancy stats say otherwise” – they’re a tougher team to play against. Everyone on the D corps will play better. The whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. That will particularly prove true in the playoffs.

    It will be borne out this season or I’ll do something embarrassing (not as embarrassing as wear a Brouwer Ranger outfit, but embarrassing). Here endeth my rant.

  • Aaron Richardson

    Yes.

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

    Orpik is a bad player signed to a bad contract. If the team signed an awesome player to an awesome contract, we’d write about that instead.

  • take a deep breath

    Move green to 3rd line winger, pk, pp qb quasi 2nd d. He will still get 15+ minutes and the liability of his 20 minutes on defense are reduced.

  • OlietheGoalie

    I’ll just sit and wait, I guess. My issues with these moves mirror a lot of what was said on Twitter yesterday, and here in the comments. I don’t mind the players; I mind the years and the money we gave.
    If this works out, then we made a great move on GMBM. If it fails, then it’s just McPhee 2.0.

  • OlietheGoalie

    The facts and support for why the staff AND a lot of commenters are angry is plentiful. It appears at first glance that management is going about fixing our problems in one of the stupidest ways possible. We used to throw money at 1-year rentals while messing up our depth, now we use a lot of money for a lot of years on two D players that aren’t considered the best available when we signed them.

  • CityofOaksResident

    It’s foolish for any team to assume big jumps with the salary cap as it has gone up slightly less than $10 million over the last four years. Remember, this league had to completely reset when salaries got too high so no one knows if it will go up that much further.
    Moving forward, I could almost understand these deals if the Caps had any kind of center depth, but they really have none. Might be the worst collection of centers in the league aside from Backstrom. There is one legit NHL center on the team right now.

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

    I guess I want to get the discussion a little more detailed than “strengthened the D” vs. not.

    Niskanen definitely makes the defense better. That one is easy. But while his salary isn’t a big as big as I had feared, it’s really long– and that makes it risky– but not necessarily bad.

    So that’s not very negative at all.

    Now, with Orpik, that’s a bad signing. Is he better than Connor Carrick? Probably, but it’s not certain. Will he be better than Carrick in 4 years? I doubt it.

    They paid an old, oft-injured, sub-par defender more than a million dollars more than they should’ve for 2 or 3 years more than they should’ve.

    I get that people get attached to “grit” and tangible details like that, but they don’t touch the fact that he gets outshot.

    If you can discuss the Orpik deal without being negative, I worry that you’re maybe not being as stringent in that discussion as you could be.

  • OlietheGoalie

    I don’t know if this is directed at me or not, so I’d just like to say that I agree with the negativity. I wish I didn’t, but I do.

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

    Naw, just stringing along the convo.

  • CityofOaksResident

    You lose all credibility by only suggesting that the team “probably overpaid.” It’s clear the team completely overpaid for a defenseman who is entering the twilight of his career.
    Sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    If Carrick doesnt bulk up, he wont be of much use in the NHL. He got pushed around quite a bit this past season. He can skate, but he got out muscled often. Orpik can clear a crease.

  • OlietheGoalie

    Long-term Cap Space = ???

  • OlietheGoalie

    Also add “Long Term Defense Durability = ??”

  • CityofOaksResident

    I would have preferred the Caps to get only one on defense because they have hired a coach that is supposed to be one of the best defensive coaches in the league. I would like to see what he could have done with the current group plus one free agent and focus on getting better up the middle.

    I think it’s about where you spend your resources and the Caps are going to face a very tight budget over the next three years. Next year they have only 12 guys signed with about $22 million in cap room. They will have to sign about 10 players and make sure they have money the following year as well when they have 7 guys signed with about $30 million in cap space.

  • Austin

    sorry @brouwerrangers:disqus but yea I agree with Roy here

  • Dan

    Does this signal a shift to a defense-first system? My concern is that they might have gone overboard with respect to defense (and perhaps not effectively so), and left the offensive holes unplugged.

  • ErskSMASH

    Yeah Orpik is soooo bad (#fancystats) we should just keep using my namesake, hillen, carrick, and all the other ahl stopgaps we used last year for meaningful D minutes…just be happy this gm addressed our actual weakness instead of saying ‘i like our defense’

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

    That’s a great question. I don’t think so, but we’ll know for sure by November.

  • CityofOaksResident

    I love how, in your world, it’s easy to clear out cap space. I’m sure teams are lining up to take Erskine.
    Have you looked to see how many players the Caps have under contract next year compared to the cap space they will have? (only 12) Or how about the year after that? (only 7)
    Lastly, how good were the centers for the best teams in the league this year? The Caps have one legit center on this team and they 2nd line was awful when Grabovski went down.

  • Fletcher22

    But Niskanen isn’t even the picture if Orpik wasn’t here. And I’d rather have both than neither. This teams needs a huge dose of structure, leadership and work ethic and Trotz can lean on these guys to help impart that message to the veteran players who have never had structure or veteran support. He’s played deep the playoffs, he has a ring and he comes from a winning organization. You can’t measure that on a fancy chart.

    The other thing is that no one wants to play here, that’s the much larger issue. You Got the coach and then you got two of his former players, and you open up some eyes around the league and maybe players will want to come to DC again. This leads to future opportunities with players you had no shot at today. I’d gladly eat 2-3 years of Orpik’s contract to get players like Kesler to at least consider DC as a destination.

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

    Structure, leadership, and work ethic don’t mean much when you’re getting outshot like crazy. Orpik gets outshot like crazy.

    I would’ve considered yesterday more successful if the Caps signed Niskanen and Grabo. Or Stralman and Grabo.

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

    Yeah I agree.

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

    I think a full year in Hershey might be great for Carrick’s development.

  • Roy Schue

    I would rather move ward too, after his career year last year his value will never be higher. But I’m guessing the Nashville connection would keep that from happening

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    I think they improved our “defense” from last year big time. Our D was just flat our terrible last year. Im not sure it signifies a shift to a defense first system as opposed to a “hey we could use any defense” system. Orpik brought in for heavy hitting (which NONE of our D possess) and crease clearing presence (which if you watch any game last year, anybody and everybody set up camp in our crease). Niskanen is a solid D man and is very Green like.

    We def have offensive holes to plug, primarily a 2C. With some cap clearing moves/trades, we should be able get a decent 2C. Laich is still the glaring cold sore on our offense that is preventing us from improving it… especially with his cap hit.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    I agree, he needs more Hershey time. And I think that will help his development greatly. But bulking up will be on him, working with the training staff, etc. He needs more poundage.

  • standarsh

    It was fair to call him that 3 years ago. I think it’s pretty clear what he is now – not a top 6 player.

  • Fletcher22

    Niskanen isn’t here with Orpik. I believe that we’re package deal.

    Here’s a stat for you. Ovie is the only 3 MVP in all of sports to have never played in a championship game. This signing isn’t about fancy stats, it’s about an attitude adjustment, and the potential changing of this teams culture, and getting a player from a credible organization who has played deep into the playoffs multiple times. It’s also one step in the process.

    You can outshoot your opponent all night long, but if you don’t have the nasty players who do the unheralded work of getting to the greasy areas on O and on D, all shots in the world can’t help you. See: Montreal series, 2010.

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

    Ack.

  • Fletcher22

    Also, my typing is for shit

  • HMA8

    Pronger is a HoF D, completely different ballpark than Orpik.

  • CapNMac

    I am beginning to wonder if this is a generation gap thing.
    I grew up as a sport’s fan without the internet, listened to Ken Beatrice on WMAL etc. I was never exposed to the constant rush of anger and negativity that accompanies every draft pick, every FA signing etc. The constant effort to get the coach and GM fired. The hate for the owner. etc.
    I don’t enjoy it. but people who grew up listening to Jim Rome etc., to them it is what being a sports fan is all about.
    I also wonder if it correlates with the rise of RW talk radio, where you stir up peoples anger, and people get addicted to being outraged over little things. Some of that bleeds over into other areas of life beyond politics, surely.

    Anyway, just something I have been pondering on…

    (not about RMNB article content, just a pattern playing out across the various sports sites. (mostly comments, but some media as well.)

  • PaintDrinkingPete

    I think based on Proger’s age at the time, it’s a comparable deal/risk that the teams had to decide to take at the time.

  • CapNMac

    The good news is that Carlson and Alzner are already extended, and we should have cheap guys either up already (Latta, Brown) or about to come up (Carrick, Schmidt Burakovsky, Grubaur, Barber) so it might not be as bad as you/we might think.

  • CityofOaksResident

    Some of those players would probably be better served if they had a couple of years in the minors. Especially the defensemen. I’d rather them have an extra year down than waste a year of their contracts barely playing or being way in over their heads like Carrick was last year.

  • Erik Rubinson

    Nobody seems happy, but only time will tell. We’ll have to see how happy or unhappy we are with this next April, May, and June.

  • Lurker

    Could not agree more with this. Frankly, I’m somewhat disappointed in RMNB’s sourpuss take on the last 24 hours. Yes, the deals are huge, and yes, they are for really, really long terms. But how can you fault management for aggressively solving the team’s biggest problem?

    Can you really say that the Caps defensive corps had enough winning experience? The idea that John Erskine was our “veteran” was a joke.

    Can you really say that Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen aren’t a HUGE improvement over last year? Trade Green away and the team is spending about $22 million a year on the defensive corps. That’s just about right, especially given the money committed to Erskine.

    This also transforms the locker room. Guys like Orpik (Cup winner and Olympian) and Niskanen (experienced, and has shown he can compete at the highest level – staying there is his next task) bring SO much more to the room than the rotating train of Carrick-Schmidt-Erskine-Hillen-Brouillette-whoever else.

    I get that fan sites are supposed to be critical of the team, and it’s fine to be unhappy with the length of the deals, but …

    “The move was universally regarded as foolish.”

    Really, guys? Statements like that take away a lot of credibility. Plenty of people who are actually in the hockey world seem to think it was a GREAT move for the locker room. Will the team regret the length of the deals 5 years from now? Maybe. But that really remains to be seen. So how about a little perspective?

  • Peter

    Best comment of the day.

  • Peter

    Chimera is “vastly overpaid?” The man is on $2m a season and has been worth every last penny.

  • Austin

    right there with you man

  • Austin

    Lol no we are definitely better not worse, you must also put in consideration the development of Burakovsky and Wilson, as well as Kuznetsov. We are slightly better as a whole no doubt. if we had grabo we would be even better.

  • Eric Schulz

    If we move Green, then we just spent $11 M a year in order to move laterally on defense, and hamstring our ability to resign Grabovski, ie a backwards move at forward. Awful.

  • Eric Schulz

    Alzner – Carlson
    Niskanen – Green
    Orlov – Orpik
    Each pair has an offensive guy (Carlson, Green, Orlov), each has a more defensive guy (Alzner, Orpik… Niskanen is more two-way, he’s not a defensive guy strictly speaking, but he’s better than Orpik, so it makes no sense to stretch Orpik with Green, although maybe that will end up being a better fit given Green’s defensive lapses. I’m hoping better coaching/system fixes a large part of that though).

  • Eric Schulz

    I think Fehr fits there best; he drives possession which I think would be a great skill to add to that line, and it allows our other forward lines to work. You are right that we don’t really have a player on the roster who is a great fit, but I think he’s the best fit that also allows us to have nice depth. He may not score a bunch of points, but if he drives possession than Ovie’s defensive problems are less exposed, plus more possession equals more scoring with BackstrOvie.
    Penner would’ve been a great option also.

  • Eric Schulz

    A) You are way overvaluing late 1sts. B) If it’s a team trading for Brouwer, then they are a contender. That means they want a guy who can contribute right away, so he is way more valuable to them than a pick in the 20-30 range. Look at the players who historically go in that range; if you are lucky you are ending up with guys like Matt Pettinger, Steve Eminger, or Brian Sutherby. Brouwer is a better player than Pettinger ever was, even before you factor in the development time. Brouwer’s worth a 1st, easily. Since we’d need to move him in order to open up cap space for Grabovski, that means we have a very short deadline to move him; that could easily force us to accept less value, so I’d expect to only get a 2nd because these dumb deals hamstrung us.
    Again, Johansson is an NHL player. Relatively few picks in the 20-30 range end up playing as many games as he has. Let’s look at the 2000 NHL draft (chosen randomly):
    19 Krystofer Kolanos
    20 Alexander Frolov
    21 Anton Volchenkov
    22 David Hale
    23 Nathan Smith
    24 Brad Boyes
    25 Steve Ott
    26 Brian Sutherby (wow, random)
    27 Martin Samuelsson
    28 Justin Williams
    29 Niklas Kronwall
    30 Jeff Taffe
    Yeah, at least half of those guys are clearly worse than Johansson. Now, I have no idea how other teams value Johansson; as young as he is, he would be most valuable to a rebuilding team, but they probably wouldn’t give up a 1st b/c it would fall in the top-10. Maybe if some rebuilding team acquired a 1st from a contender you could swing that. If not, a 2nd that is in the top 35 or 40 of the draft, which isn’t that far off, in value, from a 1st.

  • Eric Schulz

    He’s actually pretty damn good in the postseason also. 33 points in 57 games isn’t too shabby for a defender (although, yes, it isn’t up to his regular season standards). But if you take out the horrible coaching of Hunter (who HATES offense), then you have 29 in 43 games. (0.58 ppg vs 0.68 without Hunter.)

  • Eric Schulz

    Even if we add in the development of Kuznetsov and Wilson, WE ALREADY HAD THAT. They were going to get better anyway. Then, you have to add in the inevitable regression from Chimera and Ward, and the likely regression of Ovechkin (from a goal-producing standpoint, and likely points as well, since even though he should be able to put up 40 assists a season, he has no linemates who can convert his passes), we aren’t better. Grabovski being gone makes us worse.
    NEEDING our young guys to improve, rather than hoping they do but having backup plans, is a horrible, horrible way to try to contend. And if we *don’t* think we can contend, then why spend $70 M on two non-marquee defenders? (You know what, why do that regardless?)

  • CJ Easton

    True, just makes me sad since he stared with the Caps the time I became a Caps fan.

  • Kyle Reid

    That’s a solid possibility. He’s a decent player and would at least help us out at centre. Knowing Trotz system wouldn’t hurt either.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I don’t think we’re in that bad of shape financially for the future. The cap is always expected to increase so that will make these contracts relatively easier to handle each season. That $20m you talk about is considering the cap will stay the same, which it won’t.

    Eskine’s $2m is off the books next year. Also, we’ll have many cheap, entry-level RFAs coming up to play the next 3 seasons. (Bura, Bower, Barber, Vrana, Carrick, Schmidt, etc).

    I’m sure Ted is prepared for the contingency of having to buyout Orpik’s contract in the last 1 or 2 years if needed.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not. While I am nervous with the idea of him being 2C for the whole year, it’s still a better time than any as we’ll have tough wingers to insulate him and a great D corps.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    It really helped that we have Reirden and Orpik played a huge factor in convincing him to come. But it’s great McPhee is gone because players and agents didn’t seem to like the way he did business.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    It’s called Pens envy. And we fixed that by making our D bigger ;)

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Long-term Cap Space = managable

    Cap going up, Erskine off the books, RFAs moving up. Ted is likely prepared to buyout Orpik in the last 1 or 2 years if they need to.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I dunno man. They had career years with our terrible coaching staff from last year. With a much better coaching staff this year, I think they can keep the pace they had last season.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    He’s still a work in progress. He’s cheap and this great, new coaching staff could help him find his game. All we can do is hope. He has shown flashes of brilliance.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I agree. We can’t lose any more skill guys. He’s not as bad as people are making him out to be.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    So you want to gut our 2nd line for just the 2C? Who will that 2C center? Ward and Wilson? Fehr?

    Brouwer is very valuable to this team. MoJo is one of the few skill guys we have left.

    I’d much rather ditch Laich and pick for a pick and sign Legwand as he’s basically a much better Laich and has a developed relationship with Trotz. Heck, at times Legwand played 1C in Nash.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Especially with Ted’s money.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    1) Backstrom and Kuz (any other wing if Kuz plays 2C).

    2) That was an issue due to our terrible coaching staff and lack of D that caused 5v5 issues. You need good D to keep the forwards fresh. Oates system killed our offence as well.

    3) This is the biggest question and we’ll just need to hope the new coaching staff can mold someone into that effective 2C. I love Grabo but I think you guys are giving him wayyy to much credit and I’ve seen the adv. stats on him. Kuz might breakout at 2C if slotted there.

    4) Kuz is top 6 wing or 2C. Wilson will still be a work in progress. He’ll probably start the year on the 4th with Laata and Beagz with more responsibility and special teams minutes. He’ll move up eventually due to injuries elsewhere or just from merit. Chimer can move down, Fehr can play LW. Things can be adjusted.

    5) I would prefer us to ditch Laich in a cap dump trade for basically nothing and sign Legwand. I value the others that you’ve mentioned significantly and I don’t think they’re overpaid at all. Also they aren’t the same players, that’s just wrongfully generalizing to help make a point.

    6) The whole coaching staff is a million times better than what we had last year. I think we had one the WORST coaching staffs ever last year. I can only see things improving in this regard.

    7) It didn’t help though. Our D was way too raw and young. With such a terrible coaching staff, it was bound to fail. Now with a great coaching staff and great defence, I can see our 5v5 play sky-rocketing.

    No money is an exaggeration. We can still move Laich and Green for that forward depth during the season. I think BMac just wants them to play it out till, at most, March to get their values up then consider moving them. Next year the cap will go up and Erskine’s deal is off the books.

    I think we’re fine.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Sorry but you’re very wrong if you think we can get a 1st each for those guys. Maybe a 1st for both together.

    Brouwer = 2nd/3rd. MoJo might get us a 1st from a good team due to his age, but I still think he’s worth no more than a 2nd.

  • CityofOaksResident

    The Caps burned up $11 million on two players real quick. Needing to sign 8-10 players with let’s say $25 million doesn’t make of for a lot of middle or high salaries which is what we are seeing this off season.

  • Nickki

    I can understand where everyone is coming from when it comes to the
    money aspect of it but I feel like if the situation was reversed people
    would still be bitching on how we should’ve spent the money if we had it
    for some key players. I think we should have faith that management did
    what they felt was the right call and we should wait until the season
    actually starts to have an opinion on whether that was the right call or
    not.