Washington Capitals Free Agents: Best FA Options Still out There This Summer

Robert Wood@@bleachRWreachrCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2012

Washington Capitals Free Agents: Best FA Options Still out There This Summer

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    The NHL regular season is less than two months away, and the Washington Capitals still have some needs they could fill via free agency. 

    Here are eight available players that represent the best free-agent options that the Washington Capitals could acquire before the summer ends and the regular season begins.

8. Andrei Kostitsyn RW

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    This 27-year-old forward from Belarus could fill the Capitals' need for a right wing after the departure of Alexander Semin. 

    Andrei Kostitsyn has scored 103 career goals in 398 games with the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators.  He scored 16 goals last season between the two teams, and has scored more than 20 goals three different times in his seven-year career.  Andrei also has 14 goals and 23 points in 49 games during the postseason

    But Andrei Kostitsyn comes with baggage.  During the 2012 postseason, he violated Nashville Predators' curfew during a night out in Scottsdale, AZ with teammate Alexander Radulov. The pair was suspended for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Coyotes.  Kostitsyn was also scratched for Game 4.  As a result, the Nashville Predators decided this summer to not bring Kostitsyn back to the team. 

    Kostitsyn's last contract was worth $3.25 million.  Any offer remotely close to that would be a risk. 

7. Pavel Kubina D

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    This veteran Czech defender would add some beef to the Capitals' blue line. 

    The 6'4", 258 lb. Pavel Kubina has played in the NHL for 14 seasons, most recently with the Philadelphia Flyers.  The physical defender has 1,123 penalty minutes in 970 career games.  The 35-year-old also has 110 career goals, 54 of which have come on the power play. 

    Pavel has played in 51 career postseason games, and won the 2004 Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning

    Kubina's latest contract paid him $3.5 million.  The Capitals could afford to pay him a salary in that neighborhood to add some physicality and experience to their defense.  

6. Michael Del Zotto D

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    Michael Del Zotto is set to make the first big payday of his young NHL career. 

    The 22-year-old from Ontario has played all three of his NHL seasons with the New York Rangers. In 204 career games, he has 21 goals and 89 points, with a plus/minus rating of minus-5. 

    The 2011-12 season was a breakout year for Michael Del Zotto. 

    In 77 games, he scored 10 goals with 31 assists for 41 points.  He had a plus/minus rating of plus-20 and only 36 penalty minutes while averaging 22:26 TOI per game. 

    In his first taste of postseason action, Michael scored two goals and had 10 points in 20 games.  He also added one game-winning goal, which Capitals fans will painfully remember was also the series-winning goal in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series. 

    Michael's 2011-12 salary was $875,000, but this fast, smooth-skating defender is now worth much more.  However, he is not a shut-down defender like current teammates Dan Girardi and Mark Staal. 

5. PK Subban D

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    PK Subban is a dynamic hockey player who would bring a new dimension to the Washington Capitals' defense. 

    Subban is 23 and has played in three NHL seasons, all with the Montreal Canadiens.  In 160 career games, Subban has 21 goals and 76 points, to go along with a plus/minus rating of plus-2.  And he already has 245 career penalty minutes, helped in part by some fighting majors

    Subban is fast, physical, and offensively skilled.  He should command anywhere between $4-6 million per year, well over the $875,000 he makes on his current contract

4. Tomas Holmstrom LW

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    Tomas Holmstrom would be an excellent replacement for Mike Knuble

    Like Knuble, Holmstrom is 39 years old.  And like Knuble, the bruising Swede has played in more than 1,000 NHL games. 

    But Holmstrom is a veteran of 180 career playoff games, winning four Stanley Cups. He has 46 playoff goals and 97 playoff points.  Knuble has played in only 65 playoff games, winning one Stanley Cup and tallying 14 goals and 30 points. 

    Tomas plays the same style as Mike.  He is a power forward who sets excellent screens in front of the goalie while his teammates attempt slap shots.  Only Tomas Holmstrom may be the best in the NHL at setting these screens, and to opposing goaltenders his mere presence on the ice guarantees distraction, confusion and frustration. 

    Tomas Holmstrom and his unique skill set would be a bargain for the Capitals at $1.5 million, the amount of his 2011-12 contract with the Detroit Red Wings

3. Shane Doan RW

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    Shane Doan is an experienced veteran, a proven leader and a consistent goal scorer. 

    He has 318 goals and 788 points in 1,198 games.  He averages 0.27 goals per game, and has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last 12 seasons. 

    The Alberta native would also bring toughness to the team, as he has 1,071 penalty minutes in his career. 

    But the 35-year-old Doan, whose contract paid him $4.55 million in 2011-12, has been with the Phoenix franchise his entire career starting when the team played in Winnipeg as the Jets.  And "Captain Coyote" has said he will not pursue another team until he gains assurances from potential buyer Greg Jamison

    So the Capitals may have to look elsewhere for toughness and leadership. 

2. Carlo Colaiacovo D

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    Carlo Colaiacovo is just the defensive-minded defender that the Capitals are looking for. 

    Colaiacovo has only 30 career goals in 370 games over nine NHL seasons.  And the little offense he does provide comes while sharing the puck, especially on the power play.  Carlo has 109 career assists and 48 have come on the power play. 

    But Colaiacovo is known for his defense.  He has a career plus/minus rating of plus-13, and was plus-7 last season for the St. Louis Blues in 64 games.  For his career, he averages 17:53 on the ice per game, while averaging only :30 in the penalty box per game. 

    The only caveat with Colaiacovo is that he has trouble staying healthy.  The 29-year-old has played more than 70 games in a season only once during his career.  In his last three full seasons with the Blues starting in 2009-10, he averaged 65 games per season. 

    Carlo Colaiacovo was paid $2.5 million during the 2011-12 season.  He would be worth the risk at around $4 million. 

1. Evander Kane LW

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    Evander Kane would definitely help replace Alexander Semin's scoring. 

    The 21-year-old Vancouver native has scored double-digit goals in each of his three seasons in the league, and was a 30-goal scorer last year. 

    Plus, Kane has torched the Capitals throughout his career.  By playing in the Southeast division, Kane has played 15 of his 213 career games against the Caps, or seven percent of his total games.  Yet he has eight career goals against the Capitals, accounting for almost 13 percent of his total goals.  Evander has scored more goals against the Capitals than against any other team in the NHL. 

    Evander Kane's contract paid him $900,000 last season.  If the Washington Capitals paid four or five times that much money, he would stop scoring so many goals against them.