“Let’s Make A Deal”

After the Caps signed Troy Brouwer to a tw0-year deal worth $2.35 mil per season, they find themselves over the salary cap limit by a little less than $2 mil. Thus, everyone knows that a trade or something is coming very soon and with 14 forwards 7 (soon to be 8 ) defensemen currently under contract, the Caps have a couple of spare parts that they can move to make cap space. We are going to need to move at least $4 mil to be able to re-sign Karl Alzner while staying under the salary cap so there’s definitely going to be some moves.

First, before we talk about trading players let’s go through two players who likely will not be healthy to start the season; Tom Poti and Eric Fehr. One option with them is putting them on LTIR (long term injured reserve) once the season starts thus, giving the Capitals a little more leeway with the cap limit and possibly allowing them enough room to keep Alzner for now. The way LTIR works is that Poti and Fehr’s salaries would not come off the books but the Caps would be allowed to exceed the cap limit by Fehr and Poti’s cap hits minus how much cap space they have left to start the season. Poti appears to have not recovered from his “career threatening” groin injury and Fehr had shoulder surgery after the season ended which means that these two are more than likely to miss more than 10 games to start next season, making them eligible to be put on the LTIR and possibly freeing up possibly $4 mil in cap space. That would work well as a temporary fix but the Caps might look to trade some players if they want to have enough space to re-sign Alzner. When looking at the roster, the odd man out could be Jason Chimera.

Chimera didn’t have a good season last year and the signings of Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer (who have a similar role to him, only they do it a lot better) tell me that Chimera might be moved in the upcoming weeks because I do not see where he fits on the roster. Also, his low cap hit of $1.875 mil is something that other teams would be willing to take if they are looking for a third line winger who isn’t depended on for secondary scoring. I’m sure the Caps would be willing to take whatever they can back to gain some salary so what we would get in return for him isn’t that big of an issue for him. I just don’t see where exactly he would fit in the lineup if things stay the way they are, but if Fehr is out for longer than intended then he could stay.

Other players names I’ve heard thrown around in trade rumors are Alex Semin and Mike Green but I think the two are too important for the Caps to trade now even though they take up a lot of cap space. One player who I’ve been thinking of being traded is blue-liner Jeff Schultz. I know he’s not as bad as his play indicated last season but with Hamrlik, Alzner, Carlson, Green, Wideman and Erskine on the blue-liner, where does that leave him? Yes, he’s better than Erskine and possibly Hamrlik but he was given less minutes in the playoffs and some teams looking to shore up their blue-line might be interested in him. Don’t get me wrong, I like Schultz and he has shown to be capable of playing top 2-4 minutes but so can five of the six defenseman I just mentioned and we are going to have 8 blue-liners under contract (counting Poti) at the beginning of the season so one of them has to be moved. If Poti is somehow moved then this becomes null and void but I just think the idea is worth throwing around. As I said earlier, he is pretty decent trade bait as a first round pick and his strong 2009-10 season might have gained him some recognition but he might end up being the odd-man out on defense. He’s due $2.75 mil over the next three seasons, so that might steer some teams away, though but it’s hard to predict anything with the way this off-season is going.

So who do you think might be traded?


2 Responses to “Let’s Make A Deal”

  1. Who do I think might be traded, or who do I want to be? I want Chimera to be traded, for precisely the reasons you stated above. I have been calling for that move since the trade deadline. I don’t think that moving Chimera alone would be enough for the team to cover Alzner’s cap hit, though, whenever he signs his contract. So as much as I do want him to be traded because he is so redundant on the team, I think the team would be better off finding a way to move Semin. There are plenty of teams struggling to meet the cap floor this season, so his contract is not quite as hard to swallow as it was at the trade deadline. Putting Poti on IR and trading Semin would give the Caps enough space to give Alzner $3.5 mil and still have $4.5+ in cap space to play with. Some of that could/would be used in acquiring another player in a Semin trade, as well as calling up younger players. Moving Chimera in addition to Semin and picking up two cheaper wingers would probably be the best bet for the team.

    I still don’t trust McPhee, though, so I think that Fehr will be gone. I also think that is a huge error, since he has scored the same amount of points with the Caps that Knuble has, but having played only 28 1/2 more minutes more than Knuble over an additional 82 games with the team. (93 points each with Caps, Fehr playing 230 games and 2,605:35 min, Knuble playing 148 games and 2,577:07 min), not to mention that Fehr is still young. But Boudreau seems to have something against the kid, giving him terrible minutes despite his high rate of scoring and his youth. McPhee also hate players who get injured and aren’t named Chris Clark (see, i.e. Varlamov), and I get the impression that Fehr is undervalued by the organization. I expect that both of the Winter Classic heroes (Varly and Fehr) will be long gone by season’s start.

    • Yeah, Chimera is who I want to see gone the most but I agree that his cap hit is too low to get us under the limit and re-sign Alzner. Fehr was another one I was thinking we would trade (although I don’t want to see it happen) but I thought he was going to be injured to start the season so I don’t know how likely a trade for him would be.

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