What Will Washington Do…

12/19/2009
Anaheim Ducks v New Jersey Devils

…with all that cap room?

With the loan of Michael Nylander to Grand Rapids of the NHL, the Capitals gained financial flexibility which should allow them to acquire some help in areas they deem necessary.  As of this writing, the Caps 24 wins lead the League making the average fan ask: How can they possibly get better?

Corey Masisak of The Washington Times lists five speculative picks that would bolster this team as they prepare for a lengthy playoff campaign.  As the team stands there is little need for improvement but one could make a case for another top defender.

As we know from our history watching the playoffs, depth is key.  The team’s current construction has featured numerous players shifting up and down the teams forward lines as coach Bruce Boudreau dealt with injuries and juggling in order to find the proper mix.  Still Masisak believes the most glaring need is this top defenseman. His solution: Scott Niedermayer.

Niedermayer currently captains the Anaheim Ducks and has lead them, as well as his former team the New Jersey Devils, to the Stanley Cup.  In addition, this may be the last year in the NHL for the 36-year-old.  Although he only has three goals on the season, he would become a powerful weapon on the Washington powerplay, something dreams are made of.  He along with Mike Green would give them two elite puck-moving defensemen which would be incredibly dangerous for this already powerful offense.

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Waivers, Waivers and Re-Entry Waivers

12/14/2009
Atlanta Thrashers v Carolina Hurricanes

Two players were placed on waivers today, Aaron Ward and PA Parenteau.  Yesterday, goaltender Michael Leighton was placed on re-entry waivers.  Lets take a further look at these players and the value they may have around the league.

Ward according to most Hurricanes fans has been terrible.  That, however, means little when you play on one of the worst teams in the league.  His contract expires at the end of the season and he carries a hefty 2.5 million cap hit.  Teams like the New York Islanders or Columbus Blue Jackets have a strong need for another defender, but they just recently passed on Lukas Krajicek at almost half his cap hit.

As TSN’s Bob MacKenzie speculates, there may be more interest if he goes through re-entry waivers.Ward is a multiple Stanley Cup winner and should add a welcome addition to either team’s blueline.

Leighton sees re-entry waivers as he now is the third man out.  Not starting a game until the end of October, the 28-year-old struggled to find his game winning only one game in seven appearances.

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Waivers, Minor Signing & A Trade Rumor

12/12/2009
Boston Bruins v Philadelphia Flyers

To be honest, I thought today would be a lot busier.  Yesterday we saw a few goalies make their way onto the trade market and a few vets put through waivers.  Today, we have a minor signing, those players clearing waivers and a most likely bunk rumor.  Lets go over the action for today:

  • Derek MacKenzie and Lukas Krajicek both cleared waivers today.  MacKenzie goes to the Jackets AHL affiliate the Syracuse Crunch, link here.  Krajicek will not go down to the AHL says Damian Cristodero of Lightning Strikes.
  • Sam Carchidi with Broad Street Bull reports a failed trade proposal between the Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The supposed deal would send Mike Smith to Philly in exchange for talented youngsters Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk.  I could barely keep a straight face reading a proposal that involves two of the better young players in the game for essentially a good backup.  Carchidi suggests a relatively equal trade as a rebuttal, Bobby Ryan + for Jeff Carter.
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Krajicek, MacKenzie Placed on Waivers

12/11/2009
Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

According to Lightning Strikes with Damian Cristodero defenseman Lukas Krajicek was placed on waivers.  Coming over in a trade for Shane O’Brien, the 26-year-old registered two goals and 18 assists in games over 92 games and two seasons.  Originally drafted by the Florida Panthers  in the first round, 24th overall the native of Prostejov, Czechoslovakia carries a lofty 1.4 million cap hit and will most likely not be claimed with the cap crunch most teams are in.

As a history buff, it is also notable he was part of the illustrious deal that sent star goaltender Roberto Luongo to Vancouver.

In other news Aaron Portline of The Columbus Dispatch writes the Blue Jackets placed Derek MacKenzie on waivers. A favorite of coach Ken Hitchcock, the 28-year-old produced six points over three seasons and 34 games with the team.  MacKenzie gets sent down in hopes he goes unclaimed, as he is a casualty of the numbers crunch.  The team needs to make a move in order to activate left wing Fredrik Modin.

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Trade Rumors Hitting the Presses

12/11/2009
NY: Phoenix Coyotes v New York Rangers

Busy day in the rumor market, lets take out our magnifying glasses and take a closer look to the Hot Stove:

Larry Brooks of The New York Post discusses the shortcomings on the current Rangers roster.   The controversial reporter notes that the pieces that may have value are the same that the team wants to keep.

Most importantly he discusses a trade proposal supposedly between GM Glen Sather and former assistant and current Coyotes GM Don Maloney.  Sather would send AHL defenseman and promising defensive prospect Bobby Sanguinetti for struggling forward Peter Mueller.

Although the former 8th overall pick managed a measly six points in his first 26 games it will take more to land him.  Still young at 21 years of age, Mueller averaged 48 points through his first two seasons.  Regardless of his slump he remains a vital part of a young Coyotes core and probably would not be moved until the trade deadline if at all.

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Jaroslav Halak On The Block

12/10/2009
Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens

According to the Web Staff over at Sportsnet, the Montreal Canadiens are actively shopping Jaroslav Halak (H/T to crashthecrease.com).

The 24-year-old netminder is 6-4-0 in 11 games, including an impressive 46 save effort against the Ottawa Senators.  Earlier in the year the Czech native amassed a four game win streak, an feat when you consider how injury riddled and weak the Montreal defense has been.

A quick look around the league shows a handful of teams needing depth between the pipes.  The Flyers lost starter Ray Emery for six weeks leaving their team to the fate of Brian Boucher.  The Oilers may have to rely on Jeff Deslauriers longer than they would like while Nikolai Khabibulin sits at home with a bad back.  Pascal Leclaire remains on the sidelines as he watches Brian Elliot inconsistently block pucks.

Perhaps the most interesting rumor circulating involves Darren Helm and the Red Wings.  As earlier whispered here.  Does Halak really offer an upgrade to Jimmy Howard or the legendary Chris Osgood?

A quick look says no.

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Today's Waiver Roundup

12/09/2009
Washington Capitals v New York Rangers

The Washington Capitals placed Michael Nylander on waivers for the second time this season.  I posed this question on Twitter earlier today, but Is Nylander really THAT bad?

Most Capitals fans say yes.  Signed for this year and next, his annual cap hit of 4.875 million puts the handcuffs on GM George McPhee.  In fact, teammate and essentially replacement Brendan Morrison is playing at a point-per-game pace while making a meager 1.5 million.  Even if Nylander was claimed on re-entry waivers his cap hit would still be about a million above that.

Would anybody claim him?

Possibly, as the 37-year-old is only two years removed from a 83 point campaign.  However these are two long years on a body that has endured over 16 years pro experience.  Combine that with a recession and a salary cap and Nylander finds himself practicing alone, in Rockville in New York Rangers gear.

Maybe reuniting with Jaromir Jagr in Omsk would make the Swedish native happy.  He seems to have no place on the current NHL rosters.

In other news, Ville Koistinen cleared re-entry waivers.  A bit of a shocker to me, Koistinen is still young and has some success in the NHL.  Couple that with the fact that the claiming team would only have to pay him a measly 600K.  Simply put, he could have some value to a team in desperate need of a defenseman.  With teams like the Blue Jackets and Islanders short on the defensive side I cannot beleive nobody took a chance.

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-Alexander Monaghan
NHLHS Founder
thehotstove@gmail.com