Free Agent Post Part 2

In my last post, I looked at players we could target to center our second line and depth players for the fourth line. With the re-signing of Brooks Laich, the second line center role is sort of taken care of, so that means depth players and penalty killers are going to be our first order of business come July 1st. There are still some other needs I would like to have addressed and one of which is finding a defensive defenseman to replace Scott Hannan. In a perfect world, we would re-sign him and in fact, it appears that would be the smart thing to do but the Caps already have about $18 mil committed to seven players on their blue-line and that’s soon to become 8 when Karl Alzner is re-signed. With only $8.7 in cap space to work with, they are going to have to spend their money wisely and if that means letting Hannan walk then so be it. However, when looking at the Caps blue-line, you could say that there is some decent trade bait present.

Mike Green $5.25 mil for one year
Dennis Wideman $3.937.5 mil for one year
Tom Poti $2.875 mil for two years
Jeff Schultz $2.75 mil for three years
John Erskine $1.5 mil for two years
John Carlson $845,833 for one year
Tyler Sloan $700,000 for one year

I think the one piece everyone wants to get rid of right now is Poti’s contract but I think it’s going to be tough to move a player who just missed 3/4 of the season with a “career threatening” injury. LTIR seems like the more likely destination for him but if he stays healthy then having him play 3rd pairing minutes won’t be bad. I’ve heard some people make a case for trading Green but I do not think it will happen. However, one player who could be moved is Jeff Schultz. He is still young (25) and is a good defensive defenseman, but let’s say the team wants to sell-low after a tough season for him and get rid of his $2.75 cap hit and use that money to sign Hannan., would you do it? It’s an interesting proposition. Mostly because Schultz’s sucking so bad this year is the reason why we kind of need a defensive defenseman right now. /cough.

Let’s explore some options for defensive defenseman. My assumption is that we’re looking for someone for the bottom-pairing but can play top-4 minutes like Hannan did this year.

Roman Hamrlik

 Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
 2010-11 MON 79 5 29 34 6 81

Why Would Washington Want Him?
He played big minutes for the Montreal Canadiens last season as one of their top defenseman. He’s a great shot blocker and can usually get matched up with tough competition if given the assignment. One of the keystones of the Habs defensive corps as he was one of the few members who actually stayed healthy for an entire season. On ice for 26.5 shots per 60 minutes, lowest among regular defensemen for the Habs.

Why Wouldn’t Washington Want Him?
He is going to be 38 by the end of next season and it’s been reported that he turned Montreal’s offer down because they offered only a one-year deal. He wants 2-3 years apparently. It should be noted that while he logged a ton of minutes, he was given the softest assignments among regulars in Montreal’s defense corps. Rookie PK Subban, Hal Gill and Jaroslav Spacek were given tougher assignments and it speaks a lot of your abilities when your coach trusts Spacek more than you in defensive situations. He also made $5.5 mil last season but I have a feeling that he’s going to get a paycut no matter where he goes.

How Happy Would I Be On A Scale of 1-10 If Washington Signed Him? 5

Steve Staios

 Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
 2010-11 CGY 39 3 7 10 6 24

Why Would Washington Want Him?

Staios is a steady, physical defenseman who can play top-4 minutes if needed. He handled penalty killing duties well during his time in Edmonton and was one of Calgary’s more solid defensemen during his short stay there. Isn’t afraid to drop the gloves either.

Why Wouldn’t Washington Want Him?

We already have a similar player in John Erskine already on the team so I don’t think there’s any need to go after Staios. Plus, Staios was given soft assignments in Calgary and against weak competition so I don’t think adding him to the roster will strengthen the team much. Oh, and he’s 37.

How Happy Would I Be On A Scale of 1-10 If Washington Signs Him? 3

Kent Huskins

 Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM
 2010-11 SJ 50 2 8 10 8 12

Why Would Washington Want Him?

He can play the shut-down role well even with less ice-time and he will likely come at a low cost because he made less than $2 mil last year. He’s usually a very smart defender who doesn’t make too many silly mistakes with the puck in his own zone and can provide a decent amount of offense.

Why Wouldn’t Washington Want Him?

He had a terrible series against Vancouver in the playoffs but that was coming off an injury that had kept him out almost a month of the season. Possibly looking for someone who is more durable.

How Happy Would I Be If Washington Signs Him on a Scale of 1-10? 6

Radek Martinek

 Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Hits BkS
 2010-11 NYI 64 3 13 16 -5 35 69 128

Why Would Washington Want Him?

Was forced into playing a shut-down role with the Islanders due to injuries to other defensemen and he actually did a decent job at it. He didn’t see tough competition but he got a lot of defensive zone assignments on a bottom-five Isles team. It will be interesting to see how he does on a inning squad in a role where he’s less depended on. He’s also a terrific shot-blocker.

Why Wouldn’t Washington Want Him?

Could ask for more money than he’s worth due to a weak free agent class and he’s had a bad history with injuries.

How Happy Would I Be On A Scale of 1-10 if Washington Signs Him? 7

Andy Greene

 Year Team GP G A Pts +/- PIM Hits BkS
 2010-11 NJ 82 4 19 23 -23 22 49 157

Why Would Washington Want Him?

Had to take on a ton of minutes and tough assignments for the Devils last season due to injuries. Would also be available at a low-cost. Fantastic puck-mover and has good defensive instincts. Also a great shot-blocker.

Why Wouldn’t Washington Want Him?

More of an offensive threat than a shutdown defenseman/Hannan replacement. Also looked absolutely brutal at times for the Devils last year.

How Happy Would I Be On A Scale of 1-10 if Washington Signs Him? 5

Paul Mara, Brent Sopel, Jan Hejda and James Wisniewski are others that are available but I don’t think this will matter too much since the chances of us signing one of these guys is slim unless a trade happens. I do think that this is a need that should be addressed soon, though and it would be preferable if it’s one of the cheaper signings like Martinek.

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