Monday, July 02, 2007

Nylander Is Back

Well the Caps went and did something I wished they hadn't by signing Michael Nylander to a 4 year $19.5 million contract that according to Tarik, will be front loaded to help bring down any potential buyout payment.

Ok first things first, I need to offer a correction, Nylander does not turn 35 until October and as I understand the CBA, this contract will NOT stick with the Caps throughout its four year term. Secondly, with Tarik's information, the Caps buyout number in the out years of the contract is lower which is the real advantage to teams seeking to front load the contracts (I wonder how long the NHLPA will allow that to continue).

About the signing itself, I can't say that I applaud this for reasons I've stated before. Nylander, like Kozlov, is a stop gap measure and I would have preferred the Caps have gotten somebody who could have centered the top line for the next five-ten years. Nylander will not accomplish that. While Nylander is a player who can help mentor Nicklas Backstrom, George McPhee said that was not a factor in the decision to pursue Nylander and that Nylander was at the top of their list because of his earlier stint in Washington meant they knew what they were getting with him.

But what's done is done. There's no arguing that, on paper at least, the Caps have improved themselves and have made moves with the idea of improving the club in mind instead of treading water. While I still think this is NOT playoff team, the Caps still have more moves to make in the coming weeks and days ahead.

What this signing means is that Kozlov can play wing for the time being and that there is no reason to further pursue Alexi Yashin. That is the silver lining in this contract.

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