Saturday, May 19, 2007

Capitals' Top RW Targets in FA

Here are the top 6 free agent right wings that the Capitals should target this off-season:

(Photo Courtesy of Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

(1) Jason Blake, N.Y. Islanders (33)

5’10” 185 lbs.

Last Year: 06-07 N.Y. Islanders 40 g, 29 a, 69 pts, 34 pim, in 82 gp

Other Key Stat: Last 4 Seasons has averaged: 28.75 g, 28.25 a, 57 pts, in 78.5 gp

Salary: $1.558 million

Assets: Is very fast and can forecheck extremely well. Always brings a bundle of energy to the rink. Has versatility and an improving offensive arsenal.

Analysis: He gets the #1 spot because of his combination of goal scoring and forechecking ability. He would fit right into the Capitals lineup that prides itself on outworking their opponents. Although he stands to get a nice raise in the free agent market, he shouldn't command more than $3 million a year which would be a steal.

(Photo Courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(2) Ruslan Fedotenko, Tampa Bay (28)

6’2” 195 lbs.

Last Year: 06-07 Tampa Bay 12 g, 20 a, 32 pts, 52 pim, in 80 gp

Other Key Stat: Career high 26 g and 41 pts in 80 gp with Tampa Bay in 05’06

Salary: $1.65 million

Assets: Shows a willingness to pay the price in front of the net. Has good hands and hockey sense. Scores big goals in big games.

Analysis: Plays a solid two way game and has the potential to grow offensively. He has good size and could be a valuable asset in front of the net on the power play. In the right situation he can be a key player as shown by his outstanding performance in Tampa's run to the Stanley Cup back in 2004. Still relatively young so he could be around for a long time to come.

(Photo Courtesy of David Lucas/Toronto Sun)

(3) Nik Antropov, Toronto (27)

6’6” 230 lbs.

Last Year: 06-07 Toronto 18 g, 15 a, 33 pts, 44 pim, in 54 gp

Other Key Stat: Missed 28 games last season with leg and ankle injuries.

Salary: $1.007 million

Assets: Can line up at all three forward positions. Plays with poise and patience. Owns good vision and two-way smarts.

Analysis: Obviously what stands out with Antropov is his size. At 6'6" and 230 lbs he has the ability to push people around on the ice. His ability to play all three forward positions makes him a valuable commodity. At only 27 he still has time to improve on his offensive numbers. He seems to be a poor man's Danius Zubrus.

(Photo Courtesy of

(4) Scott Walker, Carolina (33)

5’10” 196 lbs.

Last Year: 06-07 Carolina 21 g, 30 a, 51 pts, 45 pim, in 81 gp

Other Key Stat: 03-04 Nashville 25 g, 42 a, 67 pts, 94 pim, in 75 gp

Salary: $1.520 million

Assets: Has tremendous heart and leadership qualities. Is an excellent teammate. Can score, kill penalties and even fight if the need arises.

Analysis: He reminds me of Chris Clark, a solid two way forward with outstanding leadership. He can also provide enough goals for you to play on the top two lines. Prying him away from a division rival would also be an additional reason to go after him.

(Photo Courtesy of Kyle Ericson/AP)

(5) Jeff O'Neil, Toronto (31)

6’1” 195 lbs.

Last Year: 06-07 Toronto 20 g, 22 a, 42 pts, 54 pim, in 74 gp

Salary: $1.5 million

Assets: Has great hands and a lethal shot. Hits everything in sight. Excels at taking face-offs. Knows where to be to score goals.

Analysis: If we strike out on the four players above, O'Neil would be the next best option. He could be a player in the same way that Zednik was supposed to be for us last year. A lazer slap shot that could be lethal from the point on the power play. He can also play center so his versatility is a plus.

(Photo Courtesy of

(6) Arron Asham, N.Y. Islanders (29)

5’11” 205 lbs.

Last Year: 06-07 N.Y. Islanders 11 g, 12 a, 23 pts, 63 pim, in 80 gp

Salary: $950,000

Assets: Owns a solid work ethic and is strong along the boards. Is also willing to crash the net to create scoring chances or even drop the gloves.

Analysis: If all else fails, Asham would be a solid two way player for the third or fourth line. He would definitely be an improvement over Matt Bradley.

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