Another successful regular season for the Capitals was all for nothing because the end result was yet another disappointing playoff too. This team needs a makeover, and with the majority of their team signed, it’s going to have to be done creatively by GM George McPhee.
The Capitals may have received some bad news regarding Varlamov potentially wanting to play in the KHL, but it could be a blessing in disguise, as Varlamov would have been expensive. This makes room for Braden Holtby to assume the role of backup goaltender, while Michal Neuvirth retains the reigns as number one. With the emergence of top prospects Karl Alzner and John Carlson, one could argue the organizational strength in Washington is on defense. The Caps are set on the blueline for next year, and even have Dmitri Orlov who is NHL ready, in case Tom Poti is not healthy enough to start the year. The Capitals have already added some jam up front in the form of Troy Brouwer, and retained Brooks Laich who was set to be a UFA on July 1. Those moves are proactive, but its going to take a lot more to change the culture in Washington.
The Caps have just over $8M in cap space to play with, although you can automatically take about $4.5M of that and allocate it to Alzner and Brouwer’s new contracts. Prospect Cody Eakin stands a good chance to make the team out of training camp, which should bring even more offense to the party. The roster is full, but there is still a void at the centre ice position on the second line. If the Capitals could package Alexander Semin, perhaps a defenseman and a prospect or first round pick, odds are they could land a center that can fill that void.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS 2011-12 ROSTER (using CAPGEEK CAP CALCULATOR)
Alexander Ovechkin ($9.538m) / Nicklas Backstrom ($6.700m) / Mike Knuble ($2.000m)
Alexander Semin ($6.700m) / Brooks Laich ($4.500m) / Troy Brouwer (RFA)
Cody Eakin ($0.637m) / Marcus Johansson ($0.900m) / Eric Fehr ($2.200m)
Jason Chimera ($1.875m) / Matt Hendricks ($0.825m) / Jay Beagle ($0.512m)
D.J. King ($0.637m)
Jeff Schultz ($2.750m) / Mike Green ($5.250m)
Karl Alzner (RFA) / John Carlson ($0.845m)
Tom Poti ($2.875m) / Dennis Wideman ($3.937m)
John Erskine ($1.500m)
Michal Neuvirth ($1.150m) / Braden Holtby ($0.637m)
BUYOUTS: Tyler Sloan ($0.233m)
SALARY CAP: $64,300,000
CAP PAYROLL: $56,205,683
CAP SPACE: $8,094,317
It will be very interesting to monitor how the Capitals attack this offseason. Owner Ted Leonsis has even admitted in one of his blogs that trades are coming, so it’s very hard to believe that the roster above is the same roster that takes to the ice when the puck drops in October 2011.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.