Capitals Offseason Report
By Stephen London
Vokoun Traded To Pittsburgh
The Washington Capitals traded goaltender Tomas Vokoun to the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week for a seventh-round draft pick in this year's draft. As the Stanley Cup Finals are winding down, the June 22 NHL Entry Draft creeps closer. Even though the Capitals do not have the highest draft position, through trades and future considerations they can boost their roster as well as draft position.
One thing the Capitals front office has been able to do well consistently is draft great talent, and the Vokoun trade gives the Capitals another draft pick in their arsenal to use or to trade away. The Capitals have two capable goaltenders on their roster and can let go of Vokoun, who is 35 years old and somewhat injury prone.
Capitals Cap Room Scenario
Washington general manager George McPhee has to evaluate not only draft prospects, but also his own players and other teams' free agents. The Caps have a ton of cap room to play with during the offseason, and depending on their drafting, they might have to save some money in order to sign said draft picks, especially if they trade up during the first round.
As of right now, the Capitals have $25,267,651 of cap room, according to CapGeek.com. If the Capitals were to re-sign everyone all their own free agents, they would have $14,155,151 of cap room to acquire big-name free agents (paying them what they earned the previous year). But the Capitals have already told Mike Knuble that they do not plan to re-sign him, leaving $16,155,151.
The Columbus Dispatch published an unofficial list of teams most likely to land the Blue Jackets' Rick Nash in a trade. The Capitals were sixth on the list, after the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes. The Blue Jackets reportedly want a goaltender in exchange for Nash, but will make the trade if a desirable one comes along without one.
Nash's contract has a $7.8 million cap hit each of the next six seasons. If the Capitals do not go after Nash, they will have enough cap space to sign Zach Parise ($6 million), Dustin Penner ($4.25 million) or even Ryan Suter ($3.5 million).
The fact of the matter is the Capitals have plenty of room to acquire some great new pieces during the offseason, especially if Alex Semin is not coming back next season. Semin scored only 54 points during each of the last two seasons, which may not be enough for his $6.7 million salary. He also registered 127 penalty minutes combined during the last two seasons.
The Capitals may be better off parting ways with Semin, but will need to acquire better pieces with the extra cap room.
Posted June 8, 2012