Free Agency Frenzy Open Thread 2014

NHL teams have had an extra handful of days to talk to players before free agency officially begins, so some are expecting today to be more bananas than usual. Considering the first day of free agency is traditionally already pretty bananas, I’m not sure I’m ready for the sheer volume of bananas we’re about to see.

Who’s gonna get the most ridiculous contract of the day? I’m gonna say Ryan Miller. Which defender will the Caps take? I’ve got no clue. Who’s gonna make a crazy trade? Probably Hextall.

Follow all the madness below. The comments should be fun. Please go GIF bananas.

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Starting at noon, it’ll be open season on unrestricted free agents in the NHL. Last year’s contracts will be up, and we’ll be inundated by a flood of exorbitant salaries and impractical terms. For the last few years the Caps have mostly been bystanders to the free agency frenzy, but with $12.7M in salary cap space, they’ll likely be a bit more active today.

I cut this video to discuss what might animate the Caps’ offseason strategy: where they stand as a franchise, what holes they need to fill, and where the problems are not.

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Zubarev hoists World Champions trophy (Photo: AP/Darko Bandic)

Andrei Zubarev, a 27-year-old defenseman with the KHL’s Salavat Yulaev Ufa, recently told Business Online that “it’s entirely possible” he’ll be coming over to play in North America next year.

Zubarev, who was a first-time KHL all-star as well as a World Champion this season, already had one unsuccessful stint in North America during the 2010-11 season. He played only four games with Atlanta Thrashers, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2005, and 51 with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves.

The Caps would be wise to give this late-blooming defenseman one more shot in the NHL.

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Free Agency Frenzy Open Thread 2013

free agency

At noon on Friday, NHL teams can begin signing free agents. This will be the first free agency period under the new collective-bargaining agreement and its diminished salary cap, but if you think that means GMs all of a sudden are going to start behaving rationally, nu-uh. Get ready for some overly long terms and capacious paychecks for players of middling ability. Because it’s summertime, and that’s when we all make decisions we later regret– NHL teams not exempt.

Teams and players have actually been talking since like Wednesday, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re looking at a pretty active afternoon. We’ll be RTing legit news sources from @russianmachine, but you can also follow along here, where I’ll keep a running tally of who goes where– especially anyone of interest to the DC universe.

P.S. Matt Hendricks is gon’ get paid.

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Photo credit: John Russell

On Friday, the first day of free agency, the Capitals surprised many as busiest team in the NHL. Dumping Semyon Varlamov to Colorado, they then signed five players, including three bound for Washington’s NHL roster. The biggest wild card of the bunch? Thirty-year old right wing Joel Ward, who was given a four year $12 million deal.

“It’s going to be fun to make a new batch of friends and join a new family, start bonding right away,” Ward said of joining the star-laden Caps. “Obviously you see them on the highlight reel every night.”

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Matt Bradley

By all indications, Matt Bradley will not be back with the Capitals next season.

According to Larry Kelly, Bradley’s agent, the 33 year-old winger never received an offer from Washington and is set to become an unrestricted free agent Friday, July 1, at 12 PM Eastern Time.

“They indicated a number of months ago that there would be an offer for him in eight to ten days and there’s been no offer and we’re not expecting one,” Kelly told RMNB. “I think Matt’s a very, very valuable hockey player and I think he’ll do fine in free agency.”

Bradley, who became a fan favorite in DC, has played the past six seasons for the Caps and registered 11 points including four goals in 61 games last year. The Stittsville, Ontario, Canada native has a total of 59 goals and 93 assists in in 677 career NHL games including playoffs. He was previously playing on a three-year contract that paid $1 million per season.

This Is Not A Democracy

Ted Leonsis (Photo by Capitals Outsider)

Lately, George McPhee hasn't gotten much credit for the 121 point team he's assembled. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Lately, George McPhee hasn't gotten much credit for the 121 point team he's assembled. Is the criticism he's recieved justified? (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Photo above taken by Phil of Capitals Outsider

It must be hard owning a professional sports team. Every crackpot with an internet connection is either emailing you, posting articles about you, or just simply trashing you in 140 characters or less.

It’s probably harder still to be a General Manager. Talk about loneliness. You get little credit for drafting the superstar everyone knew would pan out, yet take tons of abuse for those trades/signings that just don’t make sense. You even get crap for the moves that you don’t make, even if you told everyone beforehand that you weren’t going to make them. Then some of your precious assets file arbitration and you don’t know what to expect. On the surface it seems that you were shrewd in holding off on the UFA frenzy, but until we see what the arbitration  rulings are and which, if any, of the deals you walk away from it’s too soon to tell.

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