Welcome to KOL’s first “Around The Boards” roundtable. Every so often, we will ask a question to the Caps blogosphere and beyond regarding a hot topic issue that surrounds the team. Without further ado, here’s the first question.
What is the best move (trade, free agency or re-signing), non-move or rumored move that the Caps have made so far/could make this offseason?
Keara (KG’s District) –
The best possible move the Caps could make would be to sign Willie Mitchell. Having a veteran, shutdown presence would not only help immediately on the ice, but his leadership will help develop the defensive skills of the young defensive corps.
John Carlson and Karl Alzner in particular are going to need to learn the ropes of the big leagues, and although Tom Poti will be able to teach them to an extent, having a strictly shutdown guy to mentor the youngsters will be invaluable. Mitchell would also most likely continue to develop Mike Green and Jeff Schultz.
Injuries could be a concern, but more likely than not that will just bring down his price. A second line center will develop from within soon enough, and there aren’t any good ones currently available. Mitchell is there, and if the Caps can pull off signing him it will add an element to the team they haven’t had in a very long time.
Netty (Musings Of A Caps Fan) –
Of the Caps moves this offseason, I have to say I like the re-signings of Eric Fehr and Jeff Schultz to relatively salary cap-friendly deals. Fehr scored 20+ goals with little ice time last season, and I hope he just keeps improving. Schultz, simply put, keeps the puck out of the net, and will probably be an asset for this team while not taking too much cap space.
As far as moves that can be made, I’d like to see GMGM sign Willie Mitchell to a short, low cap hit deal (with bonuses). I think his veteran and physical presence on the blue line would help the team. Other than that, I can’t see many other moves that would make sense.
Neil Greenberg (Russian Machine Never Breaks) –
I consider the Nicklas Backstrom 10-year contract extension the best move they could have made.
Backstrom, coming off a season where he posted 33G/68A/101P and a +37 rating, is one of only three centers (Evgeni Malkin and Bobby Smith are the other two) who in their first 3 seasons (before age 22) have 250+ points and average more than a point per game.
I would have thought Backstrom’s camp would want to sign something shorter term and wait for Crosby’s next contract to re-set the market for elite pivots but it looks like the Caps got a home town discount. A $6.7 cap hit for a durable, Selke caliber pivot who has yet to enter his prime could be the best NHL value 3-5 years from now – whether or not salaries continue to rise.
Thanks to Keara, Netty and Neil for participating. If any bloggers or fans are interested in contributing to our next discussion, please email Adam at email@example.com.