Now that I've had some time to get over the disappointing game seven loss to the Penguins, it's time to look forward to next season.
Varlamov has at least earned the right to compete for the number one job, if not be named to it out right.
Brent Johnson is an unrestricted free agent now. I'd like to see the Caps re-sign him for what he's helped them accomplish in his four years with the team.
However getting rid of Jose Theodore would be a cap hit (no pun intended) so that may eliminate Johnny from consideration.
The offense is set, do I really need to mention the names? I didn't think so.
The other unrestricted free agents for the Capitals this off season are:
- Sergei Federov - C, 39
- Alexandre Giroux - C, 28
- Viktor Kozlov - C, 34
- Donald Brashear - LW, 37
- Quintin Laing - LW, 29
- Graham Mink - LW, 30
- Bryan Helmer - D, 36
- Tyler Sloan - D, 28
To see unrestricted free agents throughout the league click here.
I would like to see the Caps re-sign Federov. He wants to keep playing and has become a fan favorite. His production may be down, but his experience and leadership is invaluable. If the Caps are worried about his age, do a year at a time. But I'd like to see him retire as a Capital.
Giroux, had some nice moments this season when he was called up. He may never be an All-Star but I think he could be a good player, if given the opportunity.
Kozlov is another guy whose numbers are on the decline, but he fits in well with the other Russians on the team and like Feds, his leadership and experience is worth keeping around.
During the season my opinion of Brashear changed. At first I just thought he was thug, but then he proved to me that he had some skills. However the hit he put on Blair Betts in game seven of the Rangers series reverted me back to my original thinking. I wouldn't mind seeing him move on.
Laing and Mink, basically had cups of coffee with the Caps this year and I don't even remember seeing them play.
Between Helmer and Sloan, if the Caps can only keep one, my preference would be Sloan. Neither puts up a ton of points, three and five respectively, Sloan however is eight years younger and has more upside.
If there is one area that needs work it would be the defense.
Mike Green is a solid player and is on his way to being an elite defender, if he's not there already.
He vanished in the playoffs but was fighting the flu for much of the Rangers series. I wouldn't be surprised if he gave himself a concussion, slamming head first into the boards after missing a check on a Rangers player. He was clearly dazed when he got up and didn't seem right for much of the rest of the game. Or the rest of the playoffs for that matter.
Karl Alzner was productive in the limited time he saw with the parent club. He may not have put up huge numbers but was solid in his end of the ice and didn't make many mistakes. At least none that were so glaring that they jump out at me right now.
They have Green to be offensive minded. What the Caps need is a veteran leader that can come in and help mentor some of the younger guys and be a stay at home lock down defender. Guys that don't make a lot of mistakes or let pucks bounce off of them into their own net.
Another alternative may be Steve Montador, at 29 and a salary of $800,000 he may be a guy they could sign to a four or five year deal at a reasonable price. His +17 rating ranked 45th in the league.
Other than Mike Green (+24) and Jeff Schultz (+13) none of the Caps defensive corp broke double digits on the +/- rating. Many were circling zero or were on the negative side.
The Capitals had a fantastic season this year and I believe they are only a piece or two away from making an even further run next season.