Caps, Jackets Play Lets Make a Deal

12/28/2009
Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Rangers

The Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets officially make a deal in which Columbus sends solid left wing Jason Chimera in exchange for depth defenseman Milan Jurcina and surprisingly team captain Chris Clark

The Capitals receive probably the best player of the bunch in Chimera, who last year would have posted career highs had he stayed healthy.  The 30-year-old veteran carries a reasonable 1.875 cap hit, a fair price for a grinding wing who shows the ability to put up points.

Clark, now the former captain of the Caps, admits to being shocked he was traded.  This trade may mark the first time a first-place team traded away their captain, however it was the smart move.  The 33-year-old sported a hefty 2.633 million cap hit this year and next, something a contending team simply should not pay for considering he posted two less points than Chimera.

In Jurcina the Jackets get a warm body on the blue line, something they needed since Rostislav Klesla went down at the beginning of the month.  More importantly the Blue Jackets shake the team up, as they promised they would do.  Used mainly as a depth defenseman, Jurcina posted four helpers in 27 games while carrying a 1.375 cap hit.

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Kovalchuk and Ovechkin Together?

12/23/2009
Russia v Canada - Gold Medal Game

If you listened to the Team 1040 AM stream like I did, you would know new rumors around Ilya Kovalchuk continue to spread like wildfire.

The newest and latest rumors discussed are the Washington Capitals as front runners in the Kovalchuk sweepstakes.  Interestingly enough, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period says as much as Kovalchuk loves Atlanta, there are bigger issues there in hindsight.

Going back to the 1040 AM discussion, Washington as an organization boasts numerous movable assets.  Since the permanent Michael Nylander demotion, a fair amount of open cap space opened up for the club so perhaps they have both the room and assets necessary to acquire the services of Kovalchuk.

Naturally the centerpeice would have to be either Alexander Semin or Nicklas Backstrom along with another player like Eric Fehr.   Kovalchuk should claim a bounty larger than that of former teammate Marian Hossa, so there would need to be work on both sides.

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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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Nylander Clears Waivers, Minor Signing & Trade Rumors

12/10/2009
USA Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp

A few things going around the league.  Nothing huge on the trade front as can be anticipated.  Most rumors or big deals will not materialize until at least February when we have clear cut buyers and sellers.

  • Lance Hornby of The Toronto Sun reports the Leafs self-imposed trade deadline has come and passed.  Earlier in the year, notably before the return of Phil Kessel, Toronto was expected to have a major fire sale.  At this point, I would expect a smaller move along the lines of the Lee Stempniak trade after the period of immunity passes.
  • Former NHL head coach Pat Burns says “Vincent Lecavalier will be traded this season.”  The article by Vincent Destouches of Corus Sports covers the entire story in which Burns mentions the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers as interested parties.  Despite the ties the former coach has to the NHL community this seems like more like speculation than inside information.  The 29-year-old is due a whopping $7,727,273 cap hit through 2020 so any deal will have to involve a number of moving parts.  The former first overall pick projects to score 16 goals and 68 points.
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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


Restoring the Rosters: Carolina Hurricanes

11/30/2009
Carolina Hurricanes v Colorado Avalanchee

Based on Matthew Pouliot’s series on Circling the Bases, I have decided restore the rosters for every NHL team. Like Pouliot, I have established some ground rules for my selections.

  1. Each team contains players they originally drafted or signed before any other NHL team. This includes players drafted and not signed, as well as European free agents coming over at an older age.
  2. I have chosen to leave retired players off the list, and lean toward players in the AHL rather than those deported (KHL, SEL, DEL, etc.).

Essentially I am choosing the best available players for a team to succeed in the current NHL season. All 30 teams will be covered, with grades assigned to forwards, defense and goaltending. After all 30 articles are written, they will be ranked in order. This series’ intent is to reward or shame NHL scouts.

Looking at the roster, there are a few names most casual fans would know, and then a few only Hurricanes fans and prospect enthusiasts have knowledge of.  Despite carrying a few superstar players the Canes have to rely on a plethora of young and unproven players.

The lineup for the Carolina Hurricanes is as follows.

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