The Washington Capitals may lose some valuable players to free agency this offseason, but they can also enhance their team by signing free agents away from other teams.
Here is a list of five ideal free-agent signings for the Washington Capitals. Each player is listed with his position, current team, free-agency status and 2012-13 salary.
Note: All statistics courtesy of CapGeek.com unless noted otherwise.
The Washington Capitals know Stephen Weiss very well. The 30-year-old has played his entire 11-year career with the Caps' now former division rival the Florida Panthers. And he would be a good fit in Washington.
Weiss has scored 145 goals with 249 assists for 394 points in 654 career games. The Toronto native played in only 17 games during the 2012-13 season, scoring one goal with three assists.
But Weiss scored at least 20 goals in each of the three previous seasons, and has done so four times in his career. Weiss has also been good on the power play throughout his career, with 48 goals and 95 assists while on the man advantage (Hockey-Reference.com).
Weiss is a top-six forward at a position of need. Plus, he comes cheaper than Mike Ribeiro, having made $900,000 less than Ribeiro during the 2012-13 season. Having said that, Weiss figures to be the most expensive member of this list. And he may also be seeking a long-term deal, like Ribeiro.
The Capitals can beef up their blue line by adding Zach Bogosian.
The 22-year-old has played his entire five-year career with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise and has built a reputation as a solid defender with a physical presence.
During the 2012-13 season, the 6'3", 215-pound Bogosian scored five goals with nine assists for 14 points, with a plus/minus rating of minus-five and 29 penalty minutes (Hockey-Reference.com).
Despite playing in only 33 games, Bogosian was fourth among Winnipeg defenders in hits with 79, fourth in blocked shots with 50, and second in takeaways with 12. Among all Jets skaters, Bogosian was second in time on ice per game at 23:07 and first on the team in average shifts per game with 26.3 (NHL.com).
Bogosian would be a welcome addition to the Capitals' defensive corps. The group is soon to be short one man, if general manager George McPhee is able to accommodate Jeff Schultz's trade request, according to Ben Raby of CSNWashington.com. Then McPhee could accommodate Bogosian with $10,500,00 over three years.
This 27-year-old Swede has the same blinding speed as the 34-year-old Canadian and would be a suitable replacement for Chimera if the Capitals decide to part ways with the suddenly underachieving winger via offseason trade.
In fact, Stalberg may represent an upgrade from Chimera.
Since the 2009-10 season, Stalberg has scored 52 goals in 243 games, or 0.22 goals per game. In that same period, Chimera has scored 48 goals in 288 games, or 0.16 goals per game.
This four-year period represents Stalberg's first four seasons in the league, meaning he can still reach his full potential. Chimera, on the other hand, may have already reached his during the 2011-12 season.
Furthermore, Chimera's contract paid him $1,700,000 in 2012-13, representing a $1,750,000 cap hit. The Caps could get more bang for their buck by paying Stalberg a similar amount of money over a two-year contract.
Mike Ribeiro may walk. Nazem Kadri could take his place as the Capitals' second-line center.
The Ontario native was the seventh overall pick of the Maple Leafs in 2007 (Hockey-Reference.com) and finally came into his own in 2012-13.
Kadri led Toronto forwards in plus/minus with a plus-15, but was a dreadful 44.2 percent from the faceoff dot in 565 total faceoffs. Kadri was third among Toronto's three leaders in faceoff percentage in terms of total faceoffs (NHL.com). Perhaps Nazem Kadri was taught how to take faceoffs by Mike Ribeiro.
In any event, the Capitals could sign a young, up-and-coming star like Kadri to a three-year contract in the neighborhood of $7,500,000 total.
If you can't beat him, sign him.
Ryan McDonagh has been a thorn in the side of the Washington Capitals for the past two Stanley Cup playoffs, helping the New York Rangers beat the Caps in two consecutive playoff series. McDonagh stifled and stymied Washington's best players along the way.
Signing McDonagh—along with re-signing Karl Alzner—would strengthen the Capitals by giving them two shutdown defenders for their top pair, while also weakening a heated rival in the Broadway Blueshirts.
New York would sorely miss a defender who ranked second in total time on ice, time on ice per game, shifts per game and short-handed time on ice per game (NHL.com). Among Rangers defensemen, McDonagh was fourth in hits with 69, second in blocked shots with 78 and first in takeaways with 27 (NHL.com).
McDonagh is a restricted free agent, so it may be tough to pry him away from the Rangers. But according to Katie Strang of ESPN New York, McDonagh and the Rangers have held only preliminary discussions at this point. If the talks drag on, perhaps the Capitals could swoop in and sign the coveted blueliner. A five-year deal worth $4,000,000 per season might just do the trick.