Anton Volchenkov Needs to Be on the Capitals' Radar

Sam SnyderCorrespondent IJune 9, 2010

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 16:  Anton Volchenkov #24 of the Ottawa Senators prepares for a face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on April 16, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Senators  2-1.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Capitals' need for a defensive defense-man could not have been more obvious in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Montreal's offense ranked near the bottom in five-on-five play, but they bombarded the Capitals at even strength, and their second ranked power-play dominated.

Anton Volchenkov has become a top tier defense-man in the NHL and is set to become an unrestricted free agent. His salary is currently hovering around $2-3 million, and for all his recent efforts, he is certainly going to want a raise.

The Senators want him back, for obvious reasons. However, can the Senators afford to keep him? With players such as Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza eating up cap space, the Senators may not be able to cough up enough dough for the A-Train.

This is where Washington steps in. They have an obvious need for a big defense-man who can block shots and crush opponents. They watched Hal Gill block dozens of pucks and crush their teammates.

Although nothing has been said by the Capitals, there is a big chance that either Mike Green or Alex Semin will no longer be in a Washington uniform. Unless one of them is traded for a big name player, the absence of one of them may free up enough room to accommodate Volchenkov.

Washington is more of a finesse team. While they are extremely talented and fun to watch, finesse doesn't win Stanley Cups, maybe President's Trophies. For three years in a row the Caps have been kicked out of the playoffs by strong defensive teams.

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The Flyers took rode their defense to the Stanley Cup Finals, while their offense was no where near as strong as the Capitals'. Montreal's defense marched all over Washington and Pittsburgh on their way to the conference finals.

Guess who they lost to. A team with a great defense.