Friday, June 29, 2007

Let The Madness Begin!

Lost in the shuffle of last week's uniform unveiling (still hasn't grown on me) were my thoughts on the upcoming free agent period starting on Sunday. So in the interest of recapping and clarifying, remember:
  1. The Caps are better advised to look for players who will stay with the team beyond a year or two. Guys like Nylander or (even worse) Yashin aren't real options because their age.
  2. Everything the Caps do in this offseason will have a direct effect on the moves they'll make next offseason when very important players come in line to receive new contracts. Welcome to the wonderful world of the salary cap. What this means is that whatever the Caps do starting on Sunday isn't likely to be a big splash because of next year.
  3. Don't listen to the rumor mongers out there who say that the Caps are after this guy and that guy and somebody else as well. Nobody had the Caps going after Brian Pothier before the Caps announced the signing last year. For better or for worse, General Manager George McPhee operates in the dark and frequently uses misdirection. We usually only find out about what he's up to until after he's already done it.
  4. Personally, I'm more looking forward to the release of the 2007-2008 schedule than I am over the coming free agent bonanza. Why? Well it is very, very rare for a team to conduct a roster overhaul and become instantly successful. Remember the Jagr trade? We missed the playoffs the first season after that trade was made. Boston went and re-did their lineup last summer and had only a two point improvement last season. Don't buy the song and dance that whatever moves we make will get us into the playoffs next year. It isn't bloody likely.

However, the most important thing to remember is that the players that are available this coming Sunday for one reason or another are rejects of another team. There are a very few exceptions but if these talented hockey players were wanted by their teams, they would be under contract before Sunday. Caps fans were drooling over the prospect of Pavel Datsyuk and he was locked up before the playoffs even started. Trust me, if a team wanted to keep a certain player, they would figure out a way to do it. The only way this doesn't apply is if their contract demands are so high that the team cannot afford it. And when that's the case, you're dealing with a player who is chasing $$$$$ and you have to be careful when dealing with those guys becase they don't always turn out to be what they seem.

Finally, remember as we go looking through the reject bin for players who are free agents, the player himself has to agree to want to play for the Caps. The Caps have had this problem in the past where players weren't interested in the offers from the Caps and took less $$$$$ to go play for somebody else. It is a fact of life and there's no use blaming McPhee or Ted Leonsis because somebody doesn't want to sign a contract with the Caps.

But that's never stopped some Caps fans...

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