Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Official Retraction

Okay, I'd officially like to retract my previous post that declared the Capitals as players for the #1 overall pick and the rights to Steven Stamkos. With the moves made at the deadline, the team obviously has no aspirations of finishing in the top 5 for a spot in the draft lottery. No, the Caps have decided to add to their lineup and compete now for a playoff spot.

You have to give GM George McPhee a lot of credit with these deadline moves. The Caps gave up next to nothing to acquire a #1 goaltender in Cristobal Huet, a former #1 center in Sergei Fedorov, and an agitator in Matt Cooke. All of these assets were had for a grand total of Anaheim's 2009 2nd-round pick, which we received for Brian Sutherby, defensive prospect Theo Ruth, who is a freshman at Notre Dame and is still multiple years away from seeing an AHL rink let alone an NHL rink, and Matt Pettinger who I would say didn't even deserve to receive a jersey on a nightly basis anymore.

Huet, Fedorov, and Cooke will all be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. But that doesn't mean that they will all depart this summer. It's not as if teams will be lining up to sign a 38 year-old center, or a 29 year-old winger with a career average of about 20 pts/season. If either or both of those players fit well with this team, the Capitals will pay up and bring them back this fall. Huet on the other hand, will most likely be the best free agent goaltender available this summer. His performance down the stretch could earn him a big payday. McPhee will have to make the decision of whether or not he is worth the money it would cost to keep him here. To say the 3-way goaltending battle down the stretch will be interesting is an understatement. Hopefully the cream will rise to the top and one of the three will establish themselves as the #1 man.

As the New York Giants proved this season, once you get into the playoffs anything can happen. With the best player in the world on their side, can Ovechkin take his game to yet another level and lead the Caps on a Stanley Cup run this year? Only time will tell.

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