orpik-ovechkin

The Washington Capitals were aggressive on the first day of free agency, adding three players to their roster: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, and Justin Peters. Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog that the Caps “added offense, versatility, and experience in Niskanen and signed a shutdown D-man in Orpik.”

He also added, “priority No. 1 was to upgrade our defense, and we made significant strides today.”

I agree. The Capitals will dress better defenders next season. The team’s defense in 2013-14 lacked a true top pairing and the third pairing hemorrhaged shots on net all year, no matter who was put on the ice. The Caps were either going to have to be aggressive via trades or free agency, or they’d have to wait a few seasons for prospects to mature (Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey, and Connor Carrick).

Caps GM Brian MacLellan decided to go the UFA route. Despite spending a ton of cash (nearly $70 million) and landing perhaps the best defenseman on the market, the mainstream hockey media filleted MacLellan for his moves.

Let’s review.

Yahoo’s Nic Cotsonika

Yahoo’s Nic Cotsonika highlighted winners and losers, writing that he does not believe Orpik or Niskanen will be worth the cash that Washington paid them.

Washington Capitals: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. The Capitals got the top defenseman available when they signed Niskanen. They added Orpik, too, and there is a comfort level with both because they played for assistant coach Todd Reirden in Pittsburgh. The $40.25 million over seven years is a lot for Niskanen, who has had only one outstanding season, but at least he’s a 27-year-old with skill. He might be worth it. Might. The $27.5 million over five years for Orpik has regret written all over it, considering Orpik will turn 34 during camp and already is in decline. Stralman, Ehrhoff and Dan Boyle all signed for smaller cap hits than either of those two.

NHL Network’s Craig Button

Craig Button calls the Brooks Orpik contract the worst given out all day.

Rogers Sportsnet

Sportsnet said the same thing during its live coverage.

ESPN’s Scott Burnside

Scott Burnside believes the Orpik deal “should have come with a detonator.” That doesn’t sound good. He also believes the Niskanen deal is “fraught with danger.”

Let’s start by saying Orpik remains one of our absolute favorite players. Brutally honest, hard as nails, he is the kind of guy any team, and we mean any team, would love to have in their locker room. But at age 33, the fact new Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan offered a five-year deal at the astronomical number of $5.5 per year is just plain cuckoo. Two years at that number? OK. Five years at half that number? Still too long given the toll Orpik’s style of play has taken on his body, but maybe. Now, is it possible Orpik’s presence along with new head coach Barry Trotz helps take the Caps’ a giant step forward? Wouldn’t be surprised at all. But that doesn’t excuse the ridiculous excess of this deal. Does the strangeness of this deal balance out the good work in locking down the top defenseman on the market in another former Penguin Matt Niskanen, whom the Caps inked to a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million? Well, let’s just say both are fraught with danger, but Niskanen was expected to command that kind of deal. Orpik? Not so much.

The Score’s Justin Bourne

Former hockey player Justin Bourne thought all three moves were poor. Yes, he didn’t even like the Justin Peters deal.

Brooks Orpik

Brooks Orpik is your prototypical defensive defenseman that teams overvalue because he lands the odd big hit. He doesn’t have a step to give, and when he gives it up to age – he’ll be 34 come next season – he’s going to look like a buyout candidate awfully soon.

Good move? Probably even worse than the Dave Bolland contract.

Matt Niskanen

Holy cashing in on a good year, Batman. Somehow the Caps looked at the Pens d-corps last year and were like “Man, what I wouldn’t pay to have THAT!”

Good move? YeahhhhhNO, not so much.

Justin Peters

I’m a little confused by this one, because Holtby appears to be The Guy there, and Phillipp Grubauer seemed to be on his way to make up the Caps tandem. Peters is very much replacement level.

Good move? Not really, no.


In general,the national media believes that the Caps will pay Orpik too much for too long. Many suspect Matt Niskanen won’t be worth the top-echelon money he was paid today. There was no value (that is– getting a lot out of a little) in these moves.

That does not mean these players are John Erskine bad, or that these moves will not have an immediate effect on the roster next season. Combined with Barry Trotz, the Capitals will be different team with a new philosophy next season.

To the media these moves mean that if the Caps don’t immediately become an Stanley Cup contender, they will be hamstrung to fix the team later. And the Caps may still have lots of problems. They’re without a second-line center. The first line was not effective at even strength last season. And there is a bunch of mismatching, similar parts on the second, third, and fourth lines.

If Barry Trotz and this roster “refresh” cannot fix the team’s problems, the Caps will need to get out their bazooka. With the lack of salary cap space, there will be just one option to become a contending team again: a complete rebuild.

  • Crorsi queen

    Who cares what the media says! Media said that ovie sucks and so much other sb, Man you guys really don’t like being aggressive and getting better, status quo wasn’t working.

  • Rob

    Anyone could see these 2 signings are terrible in value and the team won’t have the money to make a big deal to put them over the top. So they will continue to be middling. Congrats GMGM and GMBM you have wasted the career of the greatest scorer in a generation. Blow it up.

  • Calm down Batman

    Stralmans as the best contract is a joke. Undersized and unproven compared to others. Also The Score lost all credibility when they embarrassingly demonstrated how little knowledge they have on the Caps with that blurb about Holtby. We’ll see how every pans out.

  • CSA

    I just want to win a Stanley Cup. If it happens with these guys on the roster I could care less about being financially handicapped for a couple of years.

  • Connor

    Green is now expendable. Move him. Having either Niskanen, Carlson, or Green play on the third line is not putting your money in the right place. Troy Brouwer is expendable as well seeing as Mac wants Wilson to get top 6 min. Once Burakovsky is ready Mojo is expendable. If you move Green and Brouwer this offseason that is roughly 10 million is cap space.

    OFFER SHEET: Ryan Johansen 6yrs/36mill.

    There is your 21 year old 30 goal scoring second line center for years to come….

  • Josh Carey

    CBJ has said over and over that they will match any offer sheet given to Johansen.

  • Connor

    Then let them match it, but you gotta try it. Negotiations have gone terribly between the two parties

  • FACEvOFF

    Adam Vingan: Craig Custance suggests that Mike Green could be “Plan B” for teams that lost out on defensemen. Two executives have said they’ve heard his as being available.

  • Owen Johnson

    We did need to boost our D corps. Niskanen and Orpik both have familiarity with one of our new assistants. Still we didn’t need BOTH and not at the price we gave them. We still need a 2C

  • Josh Carey

    It’ll be interesting to see if a trade pops up in the next few days. Not sure if BMac has interest in Grabo still, but if he could dump Green/Laich then he could sign Grabo.

    I wonder what return he could get for Green. Is a 2nd rounder next year too steep to ask? Bottom sixer and a prospect maybe?

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

    We HATE getting better.

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

    Oh, I like Stralman and his contract. I think he’s a very similar player to Niskanen.

  • Rob

    Also love the fact that people are so quick to trade green. He was still statistically our best defensemen last year. Sure he looked off but I take that into Oates and Calle’s system not playing to his strengths of carrying the puck.

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

    You got a link for that? I don’t see it.

  • JoeA

    Maybe we should wait to see how this teams plays before going all apeshit.

    Just a thought.

  • Owen Johnson

    Did Oates’ system play to ANYONE’S strengths? I mean other than Ovi (and only on the PP)

  • JoeA

    Isn’t this the same media that has been towing the “Russian Machine is Super Broken” line all season?

    We like to disagree with that, but really value their opinions with this.

    Oh, and you should probab;y do a post on what these signings did to your site traffic

  • Matt Lauer

    All of this makes me want to complain about the Filip Forsberg trade once again. Then my misery will be complete.

  • Phil

    I understand that the payments may be a bit large, but seriously why is everyone going crazy over what its going to be like 3 years from now? Who gives a damn. Can we just have a post about how potentially amazing our defense can be next year or at least something positive? I want to cheer on my team and not have a broken record every six hours of “hey remember how bad those contracts are?!?!?!”

  • David Rothman

    They don’t have a 2nd line center or a 3rd line center. God forbid if Backstrom goes down…

  • tpr04

    Yeah, the hockey media has never been kind to the Caps. I recall Milbury and others calling Ovie a flop the season prior to last. As I recall, he went on to win the MVP that season. They also bought into the “it’s the goalies fault” rationale for the team’s performance this past season. Moreover, I think I recently saw someone claim that Oates should be a coaching candidate for the Pens. While I would very much have supported that, anyone who still thinks Oates is a viable head coach candidate anywhere in the NHL, AHL, or even the collegiate ranks is crazy.

    We can all agree to disagree here. I liked the moves. The alternative was to go into next season with Erskine, Hillen, etc. The Caps want to have a character team and establish an identity. A guy like Orpik goes a long way on those points.

    This vaguely reminds me of the Nats getting Jayson Werth. He was a little younger than Orpik and it’s a different game, but the rationale was similar, as he was also overpaid. They needed a legit vet who had credibilty in the league who had been there and done that.

  • Owen Johnson

    I think Bourne has edited his article since then. Here’s what he says about Niskanen on the site now:

    “While he’s probably earning a bit more than he’s worth as UFAs do, he’s young enough that it may not be so terrible. As he depreciates as an asset, his percentage of the ever-rising cap will diminish, which should appropriately mirror his usefulness.

    Good move? Huge deals like this are risky, but the more I think about it, the more I think it could work out just fine.”

  • Owen Johnson

    Ovi won 2 straight Richard trophies and Milbury is still calling him a flop.

  • tpr04

    A defenseman, with no injury history, is hitting his prime at 27. Not sure his skills are likely to depreciate much over the next 5-6 years. He could have an injury, but that’s true of every acquistion.

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

    Yes, I’ll try to write that up before Friday.

  • Dan

    The Peters critique seems fair. Not to big a hit, but still, why not just use Grubauer?

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

    I’m not quoting Mike Milbury. I’m actually quoting media people who are respected and have liked Capitals moves in the past.

  • tpr04

    Because he will improve by playing the lion’s share at Hershey. You’re not doing him any favors by having him sit on the bench at VC.

  • tpr04

    Which moves? How many major UFA signings have the Caps made in the past 10 years?

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

    I don’t think this is necessarily the case for Niskanen, but he could have Brady Anderson disease (one good year). He’s routinely been a positive puck possession guy (which is really good), though he may never replicate the season he had last year in regards to goals and points.

  • ovechkaps

    Ovi is 28. He has 3 years in his prime, 3 years to win the Stanley Cup. That’s the explanation of the deals, all in for the next 3 years. I love it, it will be very exciting!

  • tpr04

    And didn’t Button lose out to BMac for the GM slot? Not saying it’s sour grapes, but he’s not getting hired by anyone either.

  • tpr04

    We really don’t know. But the guy who would probably have the best sense is Reirdon and he’s the one who clearly wanted him. I think when you bring in a new staff, you’ve got to try and fill their grocery list if you can.

  • Owen Johnson

    We just need a 2C. Also a 3C.
    Honestly I think most of the other deficiencies are due to the Oates Effect and will be gone. Still, we’re not going to be Stanley Cup contenders next year.

  • ovechkaps

    3C: Laich in my opinion. 2C could be Kuznetsov

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

    Yeah I agree with you in a sense, but the problem becomes that 98% of the groceries the Capitals have brought home lately are not for Trotz or anyone on this staff. And a lot of them have been exclusively for different coaches. #metaphors

  • yv

    After hiring Todd Reirdan the signings of Niskanen and Orpik was not surprising. I thought that 10M$ per year and for 10 years for both would be good things. Caps have ended with 11.25M$ and 12 years for both. Considering that Caps D now much better than it was last year, at the end of the day 1.25M$ and 2 years more than projected is a small price to pay. Caps and probably every other teams already have many players with such overextended and overpriced contracts (see Laich). Caps have missed playoffs for couple points last season. Better defense should close this gap. Just one home playoffs game brings probably around 4M$ in revenues, which means from owners, business, point of view will immediately cover extra expenses of those contracts.

  • ovechkaps

    Agree with you tpr04. And it is a good signal to Holtby: you’re number 1 this year buddy

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

    Yeah, no. I have not heard that.

  • Roy Schue

    Also, if there were an injury there wouldn’t be anybody in Hershey capable of backing up for the caps

  • tpr04

    Absolutely agree on that. It’s going to take a while to change that, but I’m Ok with them making a splash here for the two guys they targeted. If they can manage to add Legwand, that will also help, as he’d be another Trotz guy.

  • ovechkaps

    Love your avatar. What a great movie!!!

  • tpr04

    The best sports movie ever. Caddieshack comes in 2nd.

  • tpr04

    I had heard he interviewed or was on the short list. Don’t recall where, but think it was a credible source.

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

    Niskanen played almost 60% of last season with Malkin and Crosby. He was still in the black when playing with PIT’s awful bottom six, but I worry that he won’t be the same guy we saw in his numbers last year.

  • troyerlaw

    Yes, please. Dump Green and Laich. Re-sign Grabo.

    I love 52 and 21. But their bodies are really breaking down now. They seem guaranteed to miss long stretches w/ groin injuries and, in 52’s case, concussion-related symptoms. I am sorry we never reached the promised land with them, but I think it’s time to say goodbye. Especially now that we have overpaid the two new guys.

    Grabo is desperately needed on offense, IMO.

  • Roy Schue

    Last I knew the season isn’t starting tomorrow, give them a chance to make a couple trades

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

    I could go both ways on this. I think Grubauer is already NHL ready so essentially with that move they’re blocking him which is kind of silly, but I also agree that it doesn’t do Grubi much good if he’s only getting 30% of the starts with the Caps. I’d rather him really be a workhorse in Hershey, at least for another year. His age and contract allows that.

    I think this move will also really show what the Caps have here: is Holtby the guy they want to ride into the sunset with in the future and is Grubauer a guy that can dominate at the AHL level and really be a guy worth building around. With new leadership and a new goalie coach, I think this next year will go a long ways in answering both questions for them.

  • tpr04

    If you start from the premise that you have a new GM, new coach, and new staff, taking over a team that has been trending downwards for four straight seasons that didn’t make the playoffs in a very weak conference who’s biggest deficiency was a weak defense, it’s clear they had to make moves.

    We can sit here and say they should have signed this guy or traded for that guy, but it takes two to agree. The Caps, as much as we love them, are not a preferred destination by many, many players. A lot of that is, reportedly, because of McPhee, but a reputation like that has a way of lingering.

    The one thing they could absolutely not do is go into next season constructed the way they were last season. BMac, who I have criticized for the draft, overpaid to bring legitimacy to the defense and the team. I think he did it because that’s what it took to get these guys here.

    Will this work out? I don’t know. I do think it makes them a much better team. What would have happened if they did nothing? I doubt they would have been anything more than a border line playoff team destined for a 1st round knockout. That would have resulted in Ovie being bashed again by the media and us left worrying that another year of the Ovie era has been lost.

    This may not work out, but I give BMac a lot of credit by making the bold moves, subjecting himself to criticism and 2nd guessing, to try and turn this franchise around.

  • Abc
  • GraboviMyBozak

    Stralman is nothing like Niskanen. Niskanen can actually be used on the PP, Stralman is strictly a defensive defenseman. He’s a good penalty killer but nothing else. Can you show his possession stats for the past 3 years because 56% possession one year doesn’t make him great. I would easily trade him for Orpik but Niskanen is a much better defender.

  • FACE/OFF

    For the first time in Alex Ovechkin’s career, the Caps have a deep and talented D corps, one that you could actually see playing for a team in the Stanley Cup finals. How they choose to utilize group (and what they can get out of the group up front…) remains to be seen, but defense has finally become a strength of the team. Just don’t look at the price tag. And finally for the last years caps got identity with solid defense and great offense. Ovi has only few years left in his prime and we have to make a run at least try… I like moves me made, plus in a future they will probably trade Brooks Orpik and eat some of his salary, I don’t see this move like very bad at all. Look at Andrey Markov he is 35 years old and he got 3y contract over 5m a year, he will turn 38 at the end of his contract just like Brooks Orpik, nobody says it’s bad move, that just media that doesn’t like caps they always talk shit about Ovi and the rest of the players. This team is not Chicago, Boston, la, ny, for our GM is way harder get players for good price! They just won’t go unless you give more and longer contract. Our GM could of offer fair deal to both Orpik and Niskanen 4m-4years, they would drop us right away and now we would have nothing but statement that we good, we didn’t over pay. Looks at Rangers Philly And other teams when they want somebody they take players they go all in and they always contenders! Rick Nash, lecavalier, bryzgalov, M.Richards, worse contracts, there more that I don’t remember now but you got the point… I like mike green but would be gret trade him for a 1round pick and sign Grabovsky. Or try bring his game back on a top level than our D would be one of the best.

  • GR in 430

    Folks need to take a longer-term view of this. Cap room is tight this year, assuming Green doesn’t get moved. Even if he stays, you can assume that Erskine ends up in Hershey, freeing up a bit of space. But beyond this year, the Caps have a ton of space, even massively overpaying Orpik and/or Niskanen. In 2015-16 they have 11 roster spots and at least $20M in space to work with, and most of those spots are going to be filled with guys on ELCs or cheap first RFA contracts: Burakovsky, Barber, Vrana (maybe), Stephenson, Latta, Herbert, Brown. The first four on that list actually have top-6 potential, but even if they don’t, the lower half of the forward corps is going to be really cheap. Green and his >$6M and Erskine and his $2M will either be gone or replaced by an ELC or first RFA at $1M or less (Wey, Carrick, Bowey, Schmidt). By my calculation that leaves at least $9M for at most a couple of roster spots, more than enough to get a decent 2C if one is available.

    This is where the Caps’ decent drafts for the past few years will start to pay off, because at least for a while, those kids are going to be pretty good players for cheap.

    They paid too much for Orpik, but he represents real change — real improvement — both on and off the ice. And they can afford him, particularly if they can move Green and/or Erskine and/or Laich, but even if they don’t.

  • FACE/OFF

    100% agreed with you !!!!!!!!

  • Matt Dorsey

    When Filip Forsberg actually does something in the NHL we can regret that trade, until then let’s not make him the big one that got away. BTW, when he does something in the NHL, I say we just tell Latta to take him out.

  • FACE/OFF

    We still have Green Luich Mojo Brower he we go another 14+ mill for you to sign top 2c, and top winger and resign Kuzy and maybe give Mike Green 4m to stay. Hope that what our GM will try to do during next season.

  • Icky_Spice

    Boy, the amount of Kool Aid drinking by “Rock the Red, Leonsis Forever!” fans is amazing. It just shows how far out of touch DC fans are from actual hockey. GMBM crapped the bed on 7/1. Peters & Lata were good. Niskanen was an expected overpayment, and Orpik was exactly the wrong player at the wrong price for the wrong number of years.

  • Owen Johnson

    I think Mojo is a better option at 2C. Rather have Kuznetsov on the wing. I’d rather Grabo at 2C. And I was hoping Matty P would be our 3C. Laich is done.

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

    I’m hopeful you’re joking here, and if you’re not, I hope you realize that’s kinda an awful thing to say.

  • Owen Johnson

    Once again, we sign a goalie because of his prowess AGAINST the Caps. Unfortunately, Halak is better than Peters.

  • CapNMac

    You want your young goalie with potential to get minutes in AHL, not sit on bench in NHL.

  • Shmoo

    Truth. The knocks on Niskanen are the same knocks on Stralman (lack of proven experience at current level of play). Stralman is a FancyStats champ, Niskanen is a puckmover, for which any team pays a premium.
    Per TSN, Niskanen was top choice of TB, who took Stralman as consolation. DET wanted Niskanen. I am thrilled about Niskanen signing. Especially since it means Green becomes expendable.

  • Owen Johnson

    I think mostly, we’ve been rightly critical. I don’t like the Orpik signing one bit, but I’m going to wait until the season until I completely jump all over him.

  • Shmoo

    Given our glut of wingers, Kuzya gets 2C. Until we dump MoJo, he should be 3C. If he’s not developed there, he serves no purpose.
    Laich sucks at faceoffs and needs to “go to the bakery” to earn his 4.5. Fehr is more proven at center than Brooks Laich.
    I really think we gives the kids the 2nd line (Wilson/Kuzya + Laich) and see what they’ve got relative to Brouwer (3rd line RW) and Fehr.
    Too many wings, not enough centers. Time to sort it out. If not up to snuff, you try hard to trade Mike Green or get any value for Laich, Brouwer, MoJo, Fehr.

  • CapNMac

    He would not sign that offer sheet. He is looking for more than 6 mil.

    ETA: That was meant as a reply to connor.

  • Owen Johnson

    I’m looking at the roster now

    Ovechkin-Backstrom-Brouwer
    Kuznetsov-Johansson-Wilson
    Chimera-Fehr-Ward
    Laich-Beagle-Volpatti (ugh, Burakovsky maybe?)

    Niskanen-Alzner
    Carlson-Orpik
    Orlov-Hillen/Schmidt/Wey/Schilling/Erskine/Carrick/Kundratek (I think Green is as good as gone)

    D actually looks set. Forward depth is lacking though.

  • Owen Johnson

    Our defense will be absolutely better next year. Orpik and Nisk are upgrades.
    Orpik’s contract though….

  • Mark Mille

    Grabovski hardly played as 2C last year so it doesn’t solve your problem. Similarly 5mil is too much for Grabovski imo. Team is better off trading Green and Erskine and some picks for a player/cap space so we can sign Legwand

  • Mark Mille

    thats how you burn a bridge between organizations

  • Mark Mille

    Brouwer and Wards

  • Mark Mille

    Are the contracts great? not really, but thats free agency. People are complaining about the length of the contract with the player not the player themselves. if Orpik was signed to 2-3 years it would be a different story.

    Signing Peters gives Holtby the chance to play #1 for the next season or two, it give Gruby the additional time he needs to develop into something amazing. We now have the ability to see if Holtby can recover from last season, and if it doesn’t work we have Peters who while relatively unproven is quite talented, not as much as holtby or Gruby though. This is a fantastic deal and gives us plenty of flexibilty in who we really want in our tandem.

  • Shmoo

    Because I’ve looked with my special eyes.
    Playoffs. Green trying to keep his head on for a series. Or playing the puck anywhere near our goal. That’s why.

  • Matt Dorsey

    Of course I am joking on the part about Latta, but my greater point is that Forsberg is still 100% unproven at NHL level

  • Barrett

    Laich sucks at faceoffs? MoJo and Kuznetsov were the two worst players on the entire team last year for faceoff %!!

  • Connor

    GMBM did say he would like to keep Green. Lets hope he’s bluffing. (ill keep green for this exercise)

    Ovechkin-Backstrom-Fehr
    Kuznetsov-2C-Wilson
    Chimera-Laich-Ward
    Carcillo-Beagle-Latta

    Orpik-Carlson (defensive zone starts)
    Orlov-Niskanen (offensive zone starts)
    Alzner-Green (balanced starts)

    -Trade: Brouwer, Mojo, Erskine away to find a 2C or draft pick

    If no 2C in trade:

    -Offer sheet: Johansen 6yr/36mill
    -if matched circle back to Grabo if still available

    -Sign Carcillo to play 4th line

    For this to work its gotta happen fast

  • Connor

    Next year Fehr walks and Burakovsky with a year in AHL replaces him

  • Owen Johnson

    I’d be okay with that.

  • Shmoo

    Nah, you build Green back up and then you trade him at the deadline for a 2nd/3rd pair D-man + 2nd/3rd line forward.
    Laich’s value is responsibility, cycling and going to the net. If he isn’t back to form in those areas we should definitely move his 4.5 million out the door.
    Laich, MoJo, Fehr and Brouwer need to lock into their roles or leave via trade to address needs in the top 6.

  • CapNMac

    What about Brassard for 2C? He might be cheaper than Grabovski, and I really like his game. (plus he was awesome for me and the Caps in NHL12.)

  • Connor

    Only way Rangers would give us Brassard is if we gave them the moon in return being in metro. Plus after richards buyout they need C depth too

  • Shmoo

    We did need 2 defensemen. Otherwise Hillen or Erskine or a prospect is being relied on every night again. No thank you.

    By adding 2 defensemen we have allowed Schmidt, Carrick and Wey the opportunity to properly develop in the AHL and then move up when they are READY, not a warm body under contract.

    I think Kuzya’s getting a shot at 2C.

  • CapNMac

    I thought I saw his name on the UFA ticker. Different Brassard?

    Thinking about it, you must be right, he is too young to be UFA. I just saw the name on UFA and that he went unsigned and thought we could get him for cheap.

  • HunterVT

    “Two NHL execs HAVEN’T heard he’s available right now.”

    Doesn’t that mean the execs don’t think he’s being shopped? Or am I reading it wrong?

  • Guest

    I appreciate the thoughtful critiques here, which I mostly agree with, but where’s the trademark silliness that we’ve all come to expect from RMNB when delivering bad news? I’ll settle for just a gif, even.

  • Shmoo

    Niskanen is a roll of the dice, but there is no way to peg value on his deal until we find his ceiling. Orpik, yeah, I won’t argue that’s value. GMBM has essentially said that’s the guy we are getting and then the price/term climbed. He reached too far. Better than pulling back your hand after 60 seconds like GMGM. We’ve played that game already.
    We WERE middling. This is a change of plan to go for it while we have our current core players for 3-4 year window.
    I wanted Grabo. But the lack of D has been an issue as well and we’re building from our end ou

  • Connor

    He’s currently an RFA. Sure we could give him an offer sheet, but he is someone we could seriously overpay for on an offer sheet. Ryan Johansen is 21 years old scored 30+ goals last season and talks between him and columbus are at a stand still. Columbus wants to give him a 2 year bridge contract, he wants long term. I would be completely fine giving Johansen and offer sheet for 6 or 7 years at 6 million per. He would be the 2C we have been looking. And eventually in 3,4,5 years become 1C, and Backstrom becomes 2C

  • Barrett

    Also…..Fehr is NOT a proven center. Laich has been a center for most of his career

  • Connor

    They are in the metro, there are not supposed to be any bridges between us and Columbus….

  • Connor

    6 mill at 6/7 years is pretty hefty for a guy coming off entry level deal. That’s backstrom kind of money. Although he had a huge breakout season, paying him any more his very high risk

  • Eric Jones

    I apologize in advance if this has already been discussed, but does anyone have a clue what the Caps want to do with Dustin Penner?

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Cant see any scenario where they bring him back nor do I see one where he wants to come back.

  • orlovme

    No and no to both roster combos.

    Fehr-Backstrom-Ovi (Ovi and Fehr can flip)
    Chimmer-Kuzya-Ward
    Laich-mojo-brouwer
    Latta-beags-galiev (or deschamps at LW)
    (we have a lot of similar and versatile pieces from 2nd to 4th line)

    Alzner-Carlson
    Niskanen-Green
    Orpik/orlov

    Get rid of Erskine, Hillen or both. Ward, Brouwer and Laich are all overpaid, they could be moved to make cap space or traded.

    Tbh tho, we have no idea how Trotz likes his lines, I would like grit at C perspnally. Ott for 3c after buying-out a player or trading them to make space. (and Ott is a good face off guy)

  • orlovme

    See, I even forgot Wilson in the bottom 9, he could even slot up to the top line RW like debt and give ovi/backstrom some grit and netfront presence that has been missing since Knuble.

  • Eric Jones

    Figured as much. He didn’t seem like he wanted to be here. It’s interesting though that his name is not being brought up at all as one of those guys still out there.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Honestly, he went from a cup contender to a troubled organization. He went from playing with first line top end talent to being a 4th liner scrub. Yes Oates was to blame for this, but it soured his taste with the organization.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    If you dont want serious hockey talk and all you care about is ass grabbing, I suggest heading to a Flyers blog or perhaps just a Giroux fan club forum. :)

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    didnt we let dechamps walk?

  • Connor

    Erskine could maybe moved for a team looking for 7 defender in case of injury. Sabers?

    Mojo and brouwer might be able to command a 2C. Maybe Mike Richards?

    No one is going to want Brooks Laich, he is going to have to prove himself healthy and productive this year if we want to trade him down the road

  • Bilal

    In Orpik’s interview, he said he had gotten an even more generous offer from a western team but decided to sign with us. Im curious to see had he taken that offer, would the media be saying it was a bad signing? Ian did say that he quoted people who liked some of the Caps’ moves in the past. I’m just gonna go look at the bright side here and say that our D is now substantially better.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    I still say GMBM’s biggest mistake thus far and most costly was not getting rid of Laich. I know there was the whole not asked to pass a physical talk…but why not? Make him take the physical to see if amnesty will be an option. If it is, you do it without even hesitating. Now we are forced to force him into our line-up or try to trade him…which will be almost impossible. Laich’s money is preventing us from having a legit line-up. Move him and a couple others, this could be our line-up:

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

    Green-Orpik
    Carlson-Alzner
    Niskanen-Orlov
    Hillen

    Holtby
    Peters

  • dylan wheatley

    nisk was a bad signing in the “overvalued free agent” sense, so given that context, it’s excusable and definitely does make the team better..

    orpik is another matter. his contract is garbage. here’s orpik’s CorsiRel peers from last year. also, take note of how many more minutes than them he played (i.e: how much bigger his sample size is)
    https://i.imgur.com/BWPtT2Q.png

    do you see anybody offering 27+ million to murray, volchenkov, or schultz? no of course not. orpik is going to be bought out next year.

  • CapNMac

    Thanks man.

    Brassard was from Columbus as well. I wonder if their fans are as bad as some of ours: “We took a C Again? We already have Brassard and now we have a redundant player in Johansen! I hate this team! We could have had Nino Niederreiter! Fire these morons now!!!”
    ;)

  • kyle boyd

    can’t find a way to summarize my disappointment without rambling. i think your absolutely right, these moves make us a better team immediately, but if it doesn’t work out we’re screwed, full rebuild. which is unfortunate because i don’t think it was neccessary. i think we draft well enough, and have good enough players coming in that we could’ve “refreshed” the lineup year in year out. we didn’t need to put all of our eggs in one basket. but here we are. if these moves work out, we may be able to win, and then down the line move the players involved to make room for other up and comers. if they don’t, we’re 4-5 years away from being a contender again.

  • dylan wheatley

    i cant seem to reproduce this on extraskater, so hold off until i find out who made it and what the situation was. for the record, orpik was 11th worst in the league last year at 5-on-5 close corsifor rel, with -4%

  • Pat Magee

    Maybe our pens assistant coach saw some things that nobody else did. He probably saw that Niskanen WAS breaking out, and had been improving every year. Maybe he thinks that Orpik has a few more years left in him. Yes the contract is garbage, but what if he actually pans out?

    Read the article on Japers’ Rink. Made me feel a little better….

  • Guest

    Not sure how you got that from what I wrote, but, sure, ok. Thanks for the friendly input.

  • Pat Magee

    Our 3C is Fehr. Remember last season? 25-16-42 was our best line.

  • knxvil

    A $9M 3-yr deal in Winnipeg for MP… He’s got skills, and I imagine he’s happier on a team that will actually let him play, maybe even at 2C. I’m bummed that he was traded, but he was being jerked around here.

  • Aaron Contic

    We’re no contender this year, but next year we will have a lot of dead weight off this team and will be able to sign a decent #2 center (hopefully not to much) and will be solid down the middle too. I really wish we would move some of these right wingers for a young center and maybe an experienced one.
    Any updates on where Grabo might land?

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    I think you missed my sarcasm/attempt at making a joke, fulfilling your want for silliness and using the recent Giroux news story as the segue for that. Hence the use of ass grabbing.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Thats because he was inconsistent. He wasnt being jerked, they were trying to get him to play more consistently. The only thing that ever worked was to send him down then call him back up. Then you would get 2-3 games out of him before he’d revert back to not playing well. Did the same in ANA. Glad he got traded, he’s no where near ready for a 2C role. Bottom 6 role player and DEF not worth $3 mil per.

  • Guest

    My bad, not familiar with that story. And I come to RMNB for the serious hockey talk, but I’ve also always appreciated their approach of covering the caps with humor and wit, regardless of the circumstances. I feel like that’s been lacking a bit in this slew of articles about the free agency moves. To each his own, though.

  • SeminAllOverTheIce

    Claude Giroux was arrested for allegedly grabbing a male cop’s ass repeatedly…tipsy I believe. The jokes have been running rampant on twitter.

  • Mike Talbot

    I don’t give any credence to the opinions of worthless scribes. Outside of J.Bourne, none of them have any on ice professional hockey experience so they don’t understand intangibles like leadership and commitment that the Caps so sorely lack. They’re selling a product which is their pathetic opinions. Take Craig Button – the biggest legacy fund in hockey media – his opinion should be irrelevant but because of Mommy and Daddy he gets into the game and poisons it from the inside out. Respect RMNB and its affiliates because they’re not on someone’s payroll or pretend like they are the all knowing hockey entity. I apologize for the rant but hockey media drives me insane. As for the contracts, let’s talk in a year’s time.

  • Dave

    It seems like some commenters are happy that the Caps are “getting better” with these signings, or that we should “wait and see” how they pan out. But this ignores the money-side. This is basically a very complex optimization problem with constraints, with the salary cap being the most important constraint. Other teams (Blackhawks, Kings) are just too well run for us to be this sloppy with the cap. We were already a top-heavy team contract-wise compared to the rest of the league, making it hard to sign and retain quality depth, and this makes it harder. Even if you don’t believe the advanced stats on Orpik, or you argue that he brings “intangibles,” there’s just no way his cap hit won’t look like dead weight in 5 years at age 38.

  • Ryan Odell

    Everyone relax. Let’s just see what happens.

  • CapNMac

    Connor, they just mentioned you on Capital Report.
    “Connor on twitter asked about Ryan Johansen…”
    figured it had to be you!

  • CapNMac

    Their bridge seems to be with the Rangers.

  • Seth

    Bwahahahaha no one is taking Erskine. The best option for him is to stash him in Hershey and keep half his cap hit on the books. Trading Green right now is also stupid, with him and the new additions the Caps have one of the best D corp in the east. Who you get rid of is Brouwer, whose value will never be higher, and see if someone value Laich’s “intangibles” and Canadianness enough to take him. That is a heck of a lot of salary shed by getting rid of players that are far easier to replace.

  • Seth

    Galiev is never seeing NHL ice with the Caps.

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

    Rumor is Grabo to PIT or CAR, but who knows.

    And you’re so right about all the contracts coming off the payroll next year.

  • Owen Johnson

    Galiev spent most of last year in Reading. Lots of people would be an upgrade over Volpatti. He isn’t one of them.

    Obviously, we will probably not take the ice with the lineup I put up. If we do, we’re screwed. We need a couple more forwards in our ranks. I just put up the lines I think would be best with the players we have right now. Our Defense looks okay now though, even though in 3 years we’re going to regret Orpik’s contract.
    Oh yeah, and I’m not breaking up the 3rd line.

  • Seth

    Why? As PITs overall numbers have gone down over the past several seasons, his increased. http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4699053/Screen-Shot-2014-05-31-at-2.43.07-AM.png

  • Owen Johnson

    Yeah, I’m liking your idea of Johansen more and more.

  • Eric Schulz

    As GMBM said, we don’t really evaluate Orpik looking at his CORSI. He doesn’t drive possession? Yeah, no shit he doesn’t; that’s not why we got him. If we pair him with Orlov on the 2nd, then *ORLOV* drives possession, we just need Orpik to hit and block shots when we don’t have the puck.
    Don’t get me wrong, this may be the worst contract I’ve seen in the NHL, but adding him should make the team better. And as crazy as it was to add him *and* Niskanen for *way* too much, at least we added Niskanen also; if we only added Orpik, then it’s possibly we would try to use him on the 2nd pair, and that would probably be a disaster.

  • Eric Schulz

    I agree, but we no longer have a forward core that is good enough to win it with Grabovski gone; without Semin, Ribeiro, or Grabovski, our 2nd is a massive weakness. And these guys didn’t make our defense good enough either, unless Green rebounds. If both Green and Laich rebound, and Kuznetsov and Wilson both make a leap, then *maybe* we contend. The problem is that we could’ve added, oh, Grabovski and Havlat to anchor the 2nd, then guys like Robidas and Gilbert to improve the defense, and the four of them would’ve cost less than $2 M more than the two guys we got.

  • Seth

    No, he was signed because he is adequate and cheap and is a pure backup to the clear #1 Holtby. He’ll see 20 games, at most.

  • Owen Johnson

    I agree. That’s why I think we could have gotten away with overpaying Niskanen if we hadn’t gotten Orpik (who I think will be an upgrade for the next year or so, but then will turn into Roman Hamrlik). We still would have been able to re-sign Grabo.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t think it’s a bad contract, but I don’t think it’s good either. BEST? Stupid.
    Richards was a *great* move; as good as he can be and as cheap as he is AND given what the Blackhawks need, maybe the best free agency move. Havlat’s contract is probably the best as far as bang for the buck. Ehrhoff is cheaper AND better than Stralman.
    If you are only looking at longer term, I prefer Stoner’s to Stralman’s. I’d rather have Stoner than Stralman.
    Burnside also didn’t like Robidas’ but I don’t have a problem with it. Obviously I’d’ve preferred it to Orpik’s or Niskanen’s (b/c I think, contract-wise, it looks like swapping Orpik or Niskanen for Robidas means we can keep Grabovski). It may be a year too long, but it’s cheap enough and he’s a good player. Not great value, but I don’t think it’s bad either.

  • dylan wheatley

    “not driving possession” means the other team is taking shots, which means the other team is scoring. there is no “intangible” way of looking at this, especially given how colossally bad his possession stats are, and how stable their decline has been.

    there’s no way to remain honest with yourself and say that the orpik signing is anything but a terrible mistake.

    **im still waiting to find out what situation that original corsirel data is from.

  • Owen Johnson

    I was only being semi-serious.

  • Owen Johnson

    Oh good. He’ll only burn us 5-6 times a year then…

  • Searle

    Fehr worked great as 3rd line C last season, I’d give him first trial for playing between Ward and Chimera.
    I’m of the opinion that MoJo needs to GoGo, he just doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the team. I’d love someone like Chris Stewart to try and fill the Knuble role with OV and Backy. In my head MoJo and Erskine should be on the block, with Carrick maybe looking to be there two given the way the defence is panning out (unless Mike Green is gone soon too). Brouwer makes sense to trade but he works harder than anyone on the team I’m not against having him around at all. Would like Wilson and Kuz on the same line as well, give them some PP and actual ice time and they could do really well together they seem to cover each others weaknesses and had chemistry on the 4th last year.

  • Eric Schulz

    Green’s contract is up this year. We hang onto him so we can sign him next year and save almost $3 M on him (I’d think). He’s worth keeping, IMO. With Orlov and Schmidt, I could see letting him go, but I don’t think we need to move him.
    I agree we let youth take that 2nd, but that’s a horrible thing to be relying on if you expect to compete for the Cup (which I guess we do, since we thought those two defenders were so valuable, obviously we are banking on them putting us over the top). We have no flexibility to do anything now. Hopefully Laich and Green return to 2009 form, Kuznetsov and Wilson are 2 years ahead of where you could reasonably expect them to be, and Johansson breaks through also. If we get all 5 of those, then I think we can make the East Finals.

  • Eric Schulz

    Carrick needs to go regardless. If Green goes, our offensive defenseman on each pair is, in order: Carlson, Orlov, Schmidt. Carrick isn’t better than any of those 3.

  • Searle

    I think the least they’ll do is give Laich playing time in an effort to raise his value, which couldn’t be lower at the moment. If he plays like his old self they’ll be left with the tough decision as to whether to ship him out or have faith he won’t be made of glass now that his last surgery apparently went so well.

  • Eric Schulz

    No player in the league put up better numbers in similar minutes as Perreault. Inconsistent? Yeah, that’s what happens when you get 14 minutes a night. You aren’t going to score a point a game with 14 minutes a night. I don’t think he’s worth $3 M, but I’d be more than okay paying him that (he’s worth about $2.6-$2.7 IMO).

  • Eric Schulz

    Brown, not Volpatti. Or Latta (I’d probably have Latta at C, Beagle at RW, but I may be overrating Latta’s FO/underrating Beagle. Whoever does better is the C, obviously).

  • Eric Schulz

    Chris Brown would be my choice.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, maybe Johansen wants a long-term deal so much that he doesn’t care about the money? I’ll give him 12 years at $1.1 M per, no problem.

  • Eric Schulz

    LONG-TERM? We ARE thinking long-term, that’s why both of those deals are GARBAGE. Also, we are thinking short-term, and how these deals mean Grabovski walks, which is the other reason those contracts are garbage.

  • Searle

    Agreed. Carlzner, Niskanen/Green, Orpik/Orlov is how I see the defence as it stands next year. I think flip Carrick Erks and MoJo and get either 1st line LW or a 2nd line C (easier said than done.)
    If we had some more cap room and could sign Legwand I think he’d actually be a decent addition. He could centre Kuz and Wilson and together I think they’re be a solid unit. Put Fehr in between Ward and Chimmer and you know that will work, all we need in that scenario is someone to have chemistry with OV and Backy on line 1.

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Eklund is probably the worst ‘source’ you could use. He thought we were in on Vanek this year and Gaborik a few years ago. Most of his rumors are wrong anyway.

  • AngryBear

    Followed the link to Justin Bourne’s blog and his Niskanen assessment is as follows: “While he’s probably earning a bit more than he’s worth as UFAs do, he’s young enough that it may not be so terrible. As he depreciates as an asset, his percentage of the ever-rising cap will diminish, which should appropriately mirror his usefulness. Good move? Huge deals like this are risky, but the more I think about it, the more I think it could work out just fine.”

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s not a strength unless Green returns to form. Now, it’s merely not a weakness anymore. That’s not an improvement, however, because the forward core went from a strength to a weakness.

  • Eric Schulz

    We aren’t pissed ONLY because of how this screws us 3 years from now. We are screwed now; remember Grabovski? Well, memories are all we have now.

  • whynotkuzya

    Grabovski is older than Niskanen and wants the same contract as Orpik. I rather have Orpik over Grabo. Besides, why did we draft Kuzya? Much rather develop him at 2C rather than throw him on wing and forget him. Mojo is a better center than winger while on that topic.

  • Eric Schulz

    He was a major trade piece; we could’ve easily moved him for something worthwhile. Maybe he and Neuvirth could’ve netted us Evander Kane. Perhaps he could’ve netted us Jason Spezza (he has way more value than anybody the Sens got in that trade). Maybe he could’ve helped us get Kesler (he, Johansson, Brouwer, Carrick and next year’s 1st is better than Bonino, Sbisa, and Anaheim’s 1st). Maybe he could’ve helped us pry Johansen away from CBJ since he is pissed that they only want to offer him a bridge contract. (Not only Forsberg, obviously, but in a package). We just gave Orpik a 5 year deal, obviously we’d be willing to give a 23 year old Johansen a long-term deal; I’d actually *like* that, unlike the dumb deal we actually did.
    Thinking that a guy has no value because he’s unproven is incredibly short-sighted. Why don’t we just trade Barber, Burakovsky, and Bowey for Shawn Thornton then?

  • Eric Schulz

    If you’d rather have Orpik than Grabovski, then I have nothing to say to you about hockey that you will understand.

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t understand why you can’t understand what I said. Orpik’s job isn’t to drive possession, it’s to be good WHEN WE DON’T HAVE THE PUCK. Do you think we can just sign guys who drive possession and control the puck 100% of the time? If that’s the case, then we should just roll a defense of:
    Orlov – Green
    Alzner – Carlson
    Schmidt – Carrick
    There, guys who can move the puck and drive possession. You like that defense?
    There will be times when you don’t have the puck, no matter how good you are. Have you never noticed that Green is a favorite whipping-boy for many Caps fans, despite being the best on the team at driving possession? We signed Orpik to be good when we are on defense; it’s nice to have guys on defense who can check and block shots. That was my point. Read my 2nd paragraph is you think I like the signing.

  • ovechkaps

    You’re absolutely right! This line was crushing the opposition. I just hope they can continue that way.

  • Roy Schue

    Latta > beagle and don’t forget Chris brown > Volpatti The only way you will see burakovsky is if they feel he is ready for second or third line duty. Trotz has already said he will not bring up a prospect to skate on the fourth line. Also trotz said ovechkin is staying on the right wing at least to start the season.

  • dylan wheatley

    if you don’t have the puck you should be getting the puck back. if orpik was good at getting the puck back, his possession numbers would be good. he is bad at getting the puck back, because he is a bad hockey player. he is bad. his contract is bad.

    edit: also yes, i love that defense.

  • Roy Schue

    I expect green to improve but they both would need a time machine to return to 2009 form

  • Connor

    haha yea i tried to see if i could get vogs fired up

  • It’s me

    I don’t mind overpaying players but I can’t stand overpaying players on long contracts. 2 or 3 bad long term contracts can crush a team for years. I would rather have a good team that is fun to watch always talked about as a cup contender every year, than to win the cup one year then become a bottom dweller with old broke down players for the next 5 to 10 years. Winning the cup is a crap shoot I don’t like putting all your eggs in one basket for one or two year shot then being handcuffed and not be able to do anything the next few years. I prefer a Detroit style always have the new generation coming up the ranks. Has it been confirmed if these contracts are no trade deals or limited trade deals?

  • Owen Johnson

    Forgot about Brown and Latta. Yeah, I have them on the 4th line at least ahead of Volpatti.

  • Diller M

    The question is who we blame for the Forsberg move. If we have a coach that utilizes Erat the right way and he scores 20/50 was it a horrible deal then? Is it GMGMs fault Oates is a dick? I guess you could argue that he hired Oates but yu never really know what is gonna happen with any coach until you find out. To use an analogy, if I buy my kid a nice bike and they never ride it and it sits out and rusts is it my fault for buying it? I dunno, I like the aggressiveness of using prospects for established s
    Players once and a while, this just blew up in an unpredictable way.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    Why do you guys insist on ignoring opinion-maker extraordinaire Chuckles Gormley?

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

  • prut

    tweeted before we knew the contract terms

  • Eric Schulz

    Yes, I agree. That’s why I am down on the season. We are screwed.

  • Diller M

    Is there a buyout next year? I thought it was only for last and this year.

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

    I think they’re both rumored to have limited no-trade clauses, but I don’t know of any confirmations.

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

    I think he updated it at some point after Ian got the quote.

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

    Gorms and Wysh are the two biggest supporters of the signing. I think there’s merit to their points, but there’s also merit to the point that Orpik is bad and eveyrthing sucks now and why am I listening to This Mortal Coil now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mUmdR69nbM

  • Eric Schulz

    If the other team has the puck, Orpik blocks a shot and Orlov retrieves the puck then, while Orpik isn’t retrieving the puck or driving possession, Orpik still made a good play. Taking away a scoring chance is just as valuable as creating one.
    Clearing the front of the net doesn’t help us retrieve the puck in any way, but it makes the goalie’s job easier. He has value, and I think he’s a fine partner for Orlov on the 3rd (at, say, 2 years, $5 M – would be a bit of an overpay, but not remotely a crippling one).

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

    There are no more no-penalty compliance buyouts after this offseason.

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

    I blame Ian for the Forsberg move.

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

    I think that’s a fair point.

  • HockeyCoachBen

    Not sure Erskine can go to Hershey without clearing waivers. Do we really want to give players away with no return at all, assuming someone claims him off waivers? Isn’t that one of the things we hated about McPhee?

    Also, the Caps just signed “win now players”. Why are we taking a long-term look at short-term players? If the Caps don’t win a cup in 2-3 years, this whole thing gets blown up, guaranteed.

  • Connor

    I am really hoping that is sarcasm. Columbus probably offered him 2 years at 3 or 4 million because they basically want another 2 year waiting period with RFA at the end of 2 years to see if he is all that. Johansen called their offer a “slap in the face” and he should after the season he had. You could move Mike Green and Mojo to clear space or Brouwer, Mojo, and Erskine. I like the latter to clear space. Offer sheet for 6-7 years and 6 million per. That is serious money for a serious player. If Columbus matches more power to them, but if we don’t get him you just raised the cost of him for a metro opponent.

  • HockeyCoachBen

    Besides isn’t some or all of his salary paid by the team like Laughlin and Benninati? Opinion is automatically cancelled if that’s the case.

  • dylan wheatley

    except that very play would reflect on orpik. his denial of a shot (and the subsequent change in posession) would result in a net even fenwick or a negative 1 corsi (remember, corsi counts blocked shots, fenwick doesn’t). then assuming orlov manages to get the puck to someone who gets a shot off, his corsi is even and his fenwick is positive 1.

    but orpik’s stats don’t look like that, they look terrible. because that play isn’t what happens. what happens is he blocks a shot, and the other team keeps possession, cycles, and takes a million shots.

    reminder: http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/03/10/kings-coach-sutter-says-teams-dont-defend-they-possess-the-puck/

  • Eric Schulz

    “what happens is he blocks a shot, and the other team keeps possession, cycles, and takes a million shots.”
    Yes, and paired with Orlov and with the Caps deep group of forwards, then we *would* retrieve the puck, and his corsi would look better. (You know, if we would’ve signed him to a reasonable deal, thus allowing us to resign Grabovski and also pursue a 2nd line winger like Havlat, Cammalleri, Moulson, or some other comparable player).
    He’s a possession passenger, we know that. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as we utilize him properly, which I think we will.
    (Obviously the other problem in addition to role is contract, and his is crazy. But it’s easy to defend acquiring him, the problem wasn’t us getting him, the problem is that we burned half the cap room we had to do it.)
    Our biggest need on defense wasn’t getting guys who can drive possession, our biggest need was getting some size and physicality; we need guys who can clear the front of the net, particularly on the penalty kill. We need guys who can allow Green and Orlov to do their thing. To some degree, I think Orpik’s a better fit in that respect than Niskanen. I have no problem with us adding Orpik (even though there were other, younger players that I would’ve rather had, and even though I don’t think we needed him). I have a problem with the contract, but to just rip him for not driving possession is missing the point.

  • Matt Lauer

    That is cruel.

  • dylan wheatley

    most of your points are right, but he isn’t a possession “passenger”. his bad corsiRel means he actively drives down possession. so he’s worse than a passenger, he’s an anchor. and i don’t think our defense corps and forwards are any deeper than pittsburgh’s.

    and my reason for being so adamant about how bad he really is is to drive home how incredibly bad and stupid his contract is. its feaster or nonis level bad. it’s worse than anything holmgren ever signed.

    here’s everybody’s favorite orpik moment: http://youtu.be/XpBXdefDulU

    yet the redwings manage to keep possession, (theoretically) tiring the pittsburgh defenders, maybe pushing towards an icing or penalty. *intangibles* hockey is nonsense. it’s not real.

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Arizona and Carolina are the only teams that it would make sense Grabovski would go to. I think Carolina is more likely.

  • Alex

    Eh, screw all of ‘em. My optimistic side says we just became cup contenders again, now let’s trade some salary for picks and bring back Grabo! As for my pessimistic side, let me just down some bourbon and make some ill-advised phone calls to my exes and I’ll get back to you.

  • Eric Schulz

    I agree about the contract, it’s maybe the worst I’ve seen in the NHL. But I mentioned that in my first comment.
    I think, with Grabovski, our forward core is definitely deeper than Pittsburgh’s was. (The way Oates utilized them last year maybe doesn’t show it, but utilized properly, our 4th was better than Pittsburgh’s 3rd). Our defense, with Niskanen and Orpik, is both better AND deeper than Pittsburgh’s was last year, although the price obviously isn’t worth it.

  • Eric Schulz

    Arizona? Also, he wants to win, so Carolina doesn’t make much sense. I don’t really see any team that makes sense, unless San Jose moves Thornton.

  • pixiestix

    :( gonna miss Grabo.

  • whynotkuzya

    And if you think 5m a year for 5 years for a 30 y/o 2c is better than the D we got you have NO idea about what this team needs or what it takes to win a cup. I mean, we have soooo many defensive prospects ready to jump to the NHL that we should forget our D and focus on our offense, which was only #2 on the PP last year and only had a ppg first line center and the “rocket” winner…oh, and the best player not in the NHL until now…

    If you think we should just use Kuzya as a wing and forget about Brown, Latta and Wellman at C as well then you have no concept of roster or player management and should just get out of your armchair, GM.

  • JenniferH

    Heaven forbid we do that. I mean, heaven forbid we even wait for development camp and see how all the pieces fit together. The negativity from the fanbase right now is just …. I don’t even know.

  • AngryBear

    Possibly. Doesn’t make much difference to me. Seems like our opinions as a Caps community are all over the place regarding these two monster signings. I’d personally like to see how it works out on the ice instead of rage-emoting amongst ourselves. And call me paranoid, but I’m a little leery over three ex-Penguins (two players, one coach) joining the team blitzkrieg-style. Am I crazy?

  • JenniferH

    This is where I am at. I just do not get it. Yes, I am beyond bummed about Grabovski, but this is the here and now and the here and now looks hella better than we did last year. Like by LEAPS and BOUNDS!

  • Seth

    No one is going to pick Erskine up off of waivers, and if they do that frees up his entire contract and is a massive plus!

  • JenniferH

    No, you aren’t. FacevOff read it wrong.

  • JenniferH

    Which they really need to show him (a) after how horribly both Oates (especially) and GMGM treated him last year, and (b) since he only has 1 year on his contract left.

  • CJ Easton

    Just wanted to say a quick thanks to Ian for the write up. All day yesterday it seemed that people were continuously misunderstanding several of the reasons why people had been so upset with the deals while also being miffed that nothing in print from any article prior to this one stated or acknowledged “Our Defense is better than it was.”

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

    I think discussing the contract on the day the contract is signed is relevant and timely.

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

    Well said.

  • Eric Schulz

    Intelligent?

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

    Dude, CJ, thanks! I really appreciate it. You were definitely the inspiration behind me clarifying.

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

    I think it really comes down to who in this community believes in advanced stats or not. Simple as that.

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

    Yes, I did. I was going for people who aren’t trolls and who I genuinely respect.

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

    I covered the shit out of him and the Predators JUST COULDNT SAY NO TO HAVING HIM.

  • Dave
  • sean

    Here is another way to look at the Orpik deal, if Greenie is worth 6m, then Orpik should have got more than 5.5m/yr.

  • VeggieTart

    Carrick needs to go to Hershey and start there and likely stay there. He’s not a bad player, he was just in way over his head.

  • VeggieTart

    Even if he does, he’ll be an overpaid, perennial scratch because of the whole rule about how many veterans a coach can dress for any given game.

  • Eric Schulz

    Um, if Green is worth 6 M, than Orpik is worth about 0.8 M.

  • VeggieTart

    Deschamps wasn’t re-signed by the Caps/Bears. He won’t be back. During his time in Hershey, Latta was center. Galiev can barely make the roster in Hershey. And you forgot about Wilson.

  • Eric Schulz

    Well, I just don’t see how he fits in our future, given Carlson, Orlov, and Schmidt, so I think he goes. It’s not that I think he won’t be good eventually. I have no problem with keeping him and letting him develop for 2-3 years then seeing how our guys have evolved; it’s possible that Schmidt’s development stalls, or maybe somebody develops injury problems like Green did.
    I wouldn’t trade him just to move him, I’m just saying that, right now, we have 4 offensive defensemen who are better, and 3 are young enough that it’s hard to see Carrick supplanting them.

  • Owen Johnson

    The criticism is intelligent. The negativity is less so.

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

    No way IN HELL we trade Burakovsky and Bowey for Thornton they show REALLY great promise. Did you see Burakovsky’s numbers in Erie? sure hes got Eichel and Mcdavid but if you watch video of him its not like he is relying on them or anything he is very skilled. As for Bowey he is a great D man who knows when to step up in the rush as well as man the blue line. I personally think both futures will be bright.

  • Austin

    I read “Luich” and thought it said “Lucic”….Definitely dont have him lol

  • Diller M

    Nice… Does this mean we can blame Ian for other stuff too? Tom Poti’s groin? Tom Wilson’s ankle? The list is endless…

  • JenniferH

    Sorry, Eric, so not the word I was thinking of. :(

  • RESmith

    It’s not so much that I am worried about how they will play this season but more about the roster decisions they will be forced into in the next two to three years. We might see us have to part ways with someone who we don’t want to because we can’t afford it now that we have committed the next 4 years, at least, and 10+ million commited in additional cap space to these two players.

  • dylan wheatley

    ack i still haven’t heard back from where this data is from

  • Eric Schulz

    I think the old saw applies here that if you want positivity, here you go: I’m positive these moves were incompetent and massively screwed the Caps over, both short- and long-term.
    I thought we could easily return to contender status this off-season: resign Grabovski, grab a top-4 defender to pair with Green (Ehrhoff became available, Meszaros, Robidas or Hannan or Greene would’ve at least been a worthwhile gamble), add another top-6 player (Cammalleri, Moulson), maybe even two if we could get one or both cheap, probably due to buyouts (Richards and/or Havlat would’ve been great choices, I was really hoping for Havlat), perhaps even add another defender on the cheap to pair with Orlov on the 3rd even though we can probably count on Wey or Oleksy or even Hillen to fit there nicely – if you want to be contenders, I have no problem spending close to $2 M on a guy like Nick Schultz or Clayton Stoner, Matt Hunwick or Brooks Orpik instead of gambling on relatively unproven guys like I mentioned – then add a cheap veteran backup (was hoping for Greiss, but Peters is fine – hey, a move I’m fine with!)
    To see contention status ripped away with such finality, with no hope of improving the team in the next 3-4 years (even when we get cap space from Green or Laich resigning on smaller deals or leaving, the guys we acquire from those deals will need to make up for the inevitable decline of Ovechkin… hard to imagine anybody making up for that enough to make us better, even if we manage to not decline), it just kills me the more I think about it.
    We improved the coach, but the roster is worse; we can count on a decline in Ovechkin’s numbers, and there’s a 100% chance that Chimera and Ward are worse, it’s hard to imagine Brouwer putting up the same numbers as he did last year with so little scoring threats on the team… our defense isn’t even necessarily improved with Orpik getting older and slower… and our backup goalie is worse.
    If Wilson is the best player we can reasonably expect him to be, AND Kuznetsov is what he can be (I’d bet on 20 goals, 50 points), AND Johansson finally steps up, AND Chimera and Ward somehow remain as good next year as they were this year even though they are older and had unsustainable puck luck, AND Laich stays healthy and returns at least mostly to 2009 form, AND Green stays healthy, AND Brouwer finally puts it all together… then we can contend.
    We can still make some moves, I guess. Perhaps we trade Brouwer for 2 2nds, Johansson for 2 2nds, and Erksine is packaged with a prospect just so we can move his contract (say, Galiev and Erskine for a 4th or 5th), then we sign Grabovski… it’s selling really low on Johansson and Brouwer, but we could field, say:
    Ovechkin – Backstrom – Wilson
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brown
    Chimera – Fehr – Ward
    Laich – Latta – Beagle
    (with Laich easily able to move to the 2nd line if he’s healthy, or even up to 3C and push Fehr up to 2nd RW)
    And I think that’s maybe as good as we were last year: the core is Ovechkin, Backstrom, Grabovski, and having Kuznetsov the whole year is an improvement. Losing Brouwer hurts, but Kuznetsov is an improvement over him, our 3rd is the same, our 4th is better (just not having Volpatti is enough, and I really like a young 4th of guys like Latta and Brown who can be hard to play against under the coaching of Trotz). If Wilson is even close to the player I think he can be OR Laich is healthy, that’s clearly a better forward group (especially if our core guys remain healthy, like not losing Grabovski for half the season, or having Laich playing hurt when he actually plays)…
    Losing Brouwer isn’t great, but if you just look at the roster this year compared to last (ignoring salaries), we’d be trading him for Niskanen and Orpik; I’ll take that. I wouldn’t be happy about losing Johansson because I think he’s a value asset and trading low on him isn’t smart, but just looking at what he gave us last year compared to whoever replaces him this year isn’t much of a step-back (Latta or Brown, I’d say); arguably it’s even a (slight) improvement if you think those two guys fit better on the bottom-6 than Johansson did. I think so, although I’d’ve liked to have seen a 3rd with Johansson allowed to be the set-up man for Brouwer, giving us an above-average scoring 3rd, but if you move Brouwer than I don’t really see much of a fit for Johansson anyway (unless he finally fulfills his potential, which isn’t as smart of a move as counting on Grabovski, obviously). Also, in my scenario, we have an exceptional 4th with Chimera and Ward centered by whomever (I’d audition Latta first, but Beagle would fit just fine), which would be a nice luxury since Trotz rolls 4 lines (it would be a waste if he, like Oates or Carlyle, only used 3, but he doesn’t).
    However, given that GMBM just gave out maybe the dumbest contract I’ve seen in the NHL – Orpik’s; Niskanen’s was bad, but I think that alone didn’t *necessarily* kill us.. it was maybe worst reasonable case scenario, but as a Caps fan, if we’d’ve opted for Grabovski over Orpik, then I think you aren’t too concerned about overpaying Niskanen because you are too ecstatic that we finally addressed the defense, plus I think we finally have the depth to fill out a 3rd, anchored by Orlov – I can’t have any confidence that they will be smart enough to make those moves. Here’s to hoping.

    Postscript: I can’t imagine a worse NHL contract than Orpik’s. Even if you want to mention crazy ones like Yashin, DiPietro, or Luongo’s, at least those guys had a possibility of living mostly up to the money, and they were young enough that the length wasn’t 100% stupid. Yashin was a top C at one time, DiPietro was a solid goalie (better than you think when he wasn’t injured… yeah, not a great caveat, but still), and Luongo was the best goalie in the league over probably a 5 year stretch (not necessarily every year, but for the entire span).

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    That’s really weird that we decided not to use our last one. Did Erskine fail his physical?

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    People also seem to forget that the salary cap will likely keep increasing making it relatively easier each year to handle these deals. Plus, Erskine is gone next season so that frees up $2m. Still baffled why we didn’t use our last compliance buyout on him. Even if it would only be for this season, it was our last chance to use a compliance buyout. Erskine must have failed his physical or something.

  • Eric Schulz

    Had he just made the Niskanen move (an overpay, sure) and been able to keep Grabovski, then I’d agree with you. We could’ve signed Grabovski for what we signed Orpik for though… that’s just an incredibly stupid decision. I can tell you, with 100% certainty, that Grabovski would be more valuable to us next year than Orpik will be. I don’t mind adding Orpik, even overpaying him, but choosing him over Grabovski is just mind-bottling.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I’m sure Ted is prepared to buyout Orpik in his last 1 or 2 years if needed. It’s a realistic contingency. Plus the cap will keep going up making it relatively easier to handle these contracts down the road. Moreover, Erskine’s $2m is off the books next summer.

  • Eric Schulz

    Did you not see the original post? You completely missed my point.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yes, it was a horrible deal on EVERY front. It blew up in a COMPLETELY predictable way. When it happened I wondered why we acquired Erat since he was redundant, and he ended up not fitting; also, I wondered why we took on so much salary, and we had to move him to clear salary space.
    Had we used Erat well, it still would’ve been a completely idiotic move because our weakness was the blueline, and if you are gonna trade the 2nd or 3rd best player in a draft, you should address your weakness rather than strength (especially if addressing that strength means you get an old, declining, overpaid player).

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I agree, people don’t see the intangibles of this deal. There are many.

    – Reirden allows Orpik and Niskanen to transtion quickly to our team.
    – Our coaching staff will work wonders with this D corps
    – Orpik is surrounded by amazing puck-moving defenceman.
    – We absolutely needed someone like Orpik to lay people out and clear the crease. Alzner still seems to want to be more of a two-way guy and not as physical.
    – We almost made the playoffs with the WORST coaching staff and NO defence past Carlzner and now we have, IMO, one of the best coaching staffs and 6 top 4 defenceman (yes, I consider Orlov top 4).
    – Pittsburgh’s D corps had a ton of injuries last season so any statistical flaws of Orpik/Nisky should be taken with a grain of salt. Orpik was also battling injuries and I’m optimistic that he’s really getting prepared this offseason for a fresh start in Wash.
    – The cap will keep going up, making these deals relatively easier to handle each year.
    – Erskine’s $2m is off the books next summer.
    – This is the best D corps we’ve had since we drafted OV.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I definitely agree and think Laich is the odd man out right now. Unless we want Kuz to be full-time 2C for the whole year (which he might), we’re screwed with Laich as 2C because he’ll have to play with Brouwer and when those two play together, they’re a black hole in regards to possession and generating/sustaining offence.

    If I were BMac, my next move would be to try and ship Laich and a pick to a cap floor team. I’m pretty confident one of those GMs would be willing to take the risk on Laich because when he’s healthy he’s pretty good. If we could pull that off, I’d sign Legwand in a heartbeat.

    Not does Legwand already have a huge relationship with Trotz, he also played 1C, 2C, and 3C at different points. He’s basically a much better/experienced/defensively-sound Laich and HE STAYS HEALTHY! Great leader, great mentor. Basically what Arnott was when he came into our locker room.

    It would allow us much more versatility for lines because it wouldn’t be as nerve-racking as 2C Laich.

    I’m really baffled that we didn’t use our final compliance buyout on Laich or even Erskine. Especially since this summer was apparently the last time teams could use compliance buyouts.

  • Eric Schulz

    It’s not sarcasm, I would offer him that contract every day of the week.
    Given that Grabovski is gone, I would say we could move exactly the guys you’ve mentioned (not Green, the others). I’ve mentioned that a few times, not sure if you’ve seen it or just came to the same conclusion. We could move Brouwer to a contender for a 1st prob, although the time constraint may hamstring us, although I’d still expect about 2 2nds. I’d just package Erskine with a lower tier prospect and trade him to a rebuilding team and take a hit on the value; Erskine and Galiev for a 5th or 6th I think would be enough value to entice a rebuilding team to take it; if they had cap space to fit Erskine, then Galiev is worth more than anybody they’d likely get in the 6th round, so w/e. Johansson’s value is much harder to nail down; he’d be more useful to a rebuilding team because he’s young and talented but he’s not worth a top-10 pick which is what a rebuilding team would have, while he’s probably worth a lower 1st (compare him to the average player drafted in the 20-30 range and he actually compares favorably), but because his talent hasn’t translated to production yet I don’t see why a contender would make that trade, unless it was at the deadline and they just wanted depth and didn’t have much cap space. Perhaps 2 2nds for him as well… if we could even get back 2 2nds and 2 3rds for Brouwer and Johansson and even gave up Erskine and Galiev for “future considerations,” that would free up roughly $7.7 M. I’d offer Johansen something like 6 years, $5.5 M. Not sure if he’d want more if the contract was that long… even if we could keep it below $6.5, I’d call that a win.

  • Eric Schulz

    Yeah, Kuznetsov winning 30% of his faceoff just screams Center, right? MoJo is equally inept at faceoffs. But hey, having the puck isn’t that important because we’ve got Orpik on defense now, right?

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    What can we do, McPhee was in his “save-face” mode when he made that awful deal. Can’t regret the past with a new GM. Although it will always be tough to forget lol

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I don’t think anyone would really care if we got rid of Erskine for nothing. His contract is, IMO, our worst one, even with it expiring next summer. I think all Caps fans would be ecstatic if any team could take him off of our hands.

  • Eric Schulz

    I never said forget the Defense, btw, I just wanted to address it intelligently, and without depleting the forward core. We had $17 M in space, we could’ve kept Grabovski AND added a 2nd line winger, AND added a potential top 4 guy on defense AND even added a 6D. Instead, we added a top-4 guy and a 6D… yeah, that’s dumb.

  • Eric Schulz

    We can’t do anything, although “we” (the Caps front office) can hopefully learn from it and not make the same mistake. But if we, as fans, don’t realize that it was a mistake, then I feel obligated to point out that it was a massive mistake.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    It will also cover the expenses of potentially buying out Orpik in 3 years if needed. Plus the cap will keep going up making these contracts relatively easier to handle going forward. Can’t forget Erskine’s rediculous $2m contract being off the books next summer.

  • Eric Schulz

    So, a 30 year old center isn’t worth signing because you’d rather pay more for a 33 year old defenseman whose numbers in every respect paint him to be a worse player (whether you compare them now, or compare both in their primes)? Or are you saying that 30 year old forwards aren’t important in the playoffs. I’d guess the Kings would disagree (Gaborik – 30; Williams – 32). The best way to win the Cup is to have as much talent as possible. We could not have done a worse job this offseason in that pursuit.

  • Eric Schulz

    You’re right though, we have Backstrom and Ovechkin, of course we will win the Cup. Those two dynamic players guarantee at least a playoff spot, right?

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Fair enough. I’m sure (at least hoping) the current management sees that trade as a massive mistake.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    I really hope we could get Green for that cheap. This year definitely plays a huge factor in how much he gets next summer. IMO, I predict he’ll either get the same AAV. No less than $5m.

    I have a feeling BMac will consider trading him in March for some forward depth. And I’ll be sad.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    The financial situation isn’t as bad as you make it out to be.

  • Shawn Kane

    I’m going to decide if the Orpik signing was a mistake after they actually play some games with him in the lineup.

  • mspeer

    There is criticizing the Orpik contract and then there is the lack of common decency that is going on in general. To ask Orpik in an interview, “why, exactly, he was worth that much” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capitals-insider/wp/2014/07/03/big-contracts-to-bring-scrutiny-pressure-for-new-capitals-defensemen-niskanen-orpik/) is classless. What is he supposed to say to that? Ask GMBM. That was his call, like it or hate it. Orpik’s job is to play hockey and get the best deal he can. He did so good on him. People need to step back, take a breath, and take it down a notch.

  • Austin

    oops just realized you were being facetious with the last line

  • CJ Easton

    Rant much? Don’t get me wrong I agree with you over Whynotkuzy 100% but your tone comes off as over agressive, bitchy, and exasperated; and this from a guy who agrees with you entirely. If you are trying to communicate and explain things with someone please keep up the good work but I feel like I am reading a verbal shouting match.

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

    Yeah, not a great question for a press interview.

    GREAT question for a job interview though!

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

    COWARD!

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

    Play nice, guys. We’re all LITERALLY on the same team here.

  • CJ Easton

    Peter it pains me that this is true but in case you haven’t heard about it

    http://www.newsmax.com/TheWire/literally-definition-changes-google/2013/08/15/id/520619/

  • CJ Easton

    Not sure why the image did not post. Attempt #2

  • mspeer

    True. Totally appropriate for GMBM to ask before raining cash down from on high. Key word there is *before*. Hopefully he’ll prove the fancy stats wrong and we are all singing GMBM’s praises somewhere around the beginning of June next year or the following.

  • jalabar

    Too much. This team is demonstrably better than it was last week, even with the departure of Grabo. The Orpik contract is bad. I guess I’m where Burnside is on it. I’d have been fine with $11M for 2, or even $16M for 3. BUT, the NTC for Orpik only lasts 3 seasons, and how many times have we seen other teams get out of perceived cap jail by trading an asset thought untradeable? Niskanen came in under what was rumored to be the price, and is young and talented. Orpik and Carlson, for at least two seasons, should be a very good top pairing against top competition. Alzner and Niskanen should work well together, and hopefully the addition of Trotz (or subtraction of Oates) unfucks Alzner. Mike Green and Orlov, with favorable starts against weak opposition, should be wolves among sheep.
    Do I like the in-house options at 2C? Nope, but there is time (and surplus wing talent and prospects) to try to fill that hole. Mac said he was gonna keep looking. I believe him. And even if we have to Laich our 2C next season, this team will still be demonstrably better without the toilet fire last year’s defense proved to be.

  • Mike Talbot

    Unsubscribe.

    This isn’t Mike and I did not sign up for notifications.