Washington Capitals Offseason Roster Changes

Washington CapitalsIn my past hockey-related entries, I have focused solely on the Calgary Flames, or the league as a whole. As I was sitting here at my computer this evening, I realized how unfortunate it was that I was failing to pay any attention to my other favorite NHL team, the Washington Capitals. That being said, here is my first posting on the Washington Capitals. It is relatively brief, and takes a look at a few player changes to the Caps roster. I hope to continue covering the Caps in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for more postings.

The Washington Capitals offseason has been one of minor additions, but fairly significant deletions to the 2008/09 roster. Let’s examine a few significant names from 08/09 that you won’t be seeing on the ice in Caps red come October:

  • Sergei Fedorov: perhaps this is the most significant roster player who won’t be joining the Capitals for the 2009/10 season. Following the 2008/09 playoffs, Fedorov signed a 2yr contract with Magnitogorsk of the Sergei FedorovKontinental Hockey League. Fedorov scored 33pts in 52 games for the Capitals last season, and undoubtedly held a strong leadership presence within the dressing room. Many Caps fans have noted that Alex Ovechkin’s level of play increased when Washington acquired Fedorov in 2008.  It will be interesting to see how Ovechkin responds to the loss of his Russian mentor in 2009/10.
  • Donald Brashear: following 3 seasons with the Capitals, Brashear jumped ship to sign with conference rival, the New York Rangers. In 2008/09 he registered 4pts and 121 PIMs in 63 games for Washington. While Brashear was a bruising presence on the ice, he is most certainly replaceable. Apart from playing the role as enforcer, Brashear had a very limited impact during this past season with the Caps.
  • Brent Johnson: with the emergence of Simeon Varlamov during the 2009 playoffs, and Jose Theodore still under contract, Johnson became the odd man out when his contract expired. He was a fan favorite and played some solid minutes for the Caps during the 2008/09 season. With Simeon Varlamov sure to take over the #1 spot and Jose Theodore’s fat contract to sit on the #2 spot, Johnson signed a 2yr contract with conference rival Pittsburgh.

While the players above left the organization, there was no significant abundance of moves by GM George McPhee. Only two roster names have joined Washington. Let’s take a quick peek at who will be new in red on opening night in October:Brendan Morrison

  • Brendan Morrison: since leaving the Vancouver Canucks, Brendan Morrison has struggled to find the offensive numbers that he put up alongside Markus Naslund. Last season, in time split between Anahiem and Dallas, Morrison put up 31pts alongside a +3 rating in 81 games. While he is not the offensive threat that he once was, Morrison can still play a reliable two-way game, and is great in the face off circle. Who knows, if given the chance to play with Alex Ovechkin, perhaps Morrison will find his scoring touch again?
  • Mike Knuble: this is perhaps the most significant impact signing in the Eastern Conference. At the very least, it is one of the most underrated signings of the 2009 offseason. Something that the Capitals lacked last season was a big presence in front of the net in the offensive zone. Queue Mike Knuble. By adding Knuble, Washington now has a bona fide grinder who isn’t afraid to go into the corners, stand in front of the net, or take a beating to score a goal. Not only is Knuble tough, but he also has the ability to put pucks in the net. Since 2002, Knuble has broken the 20 goal barrier every season, while twice breaking the 30 goal barrier. A player of Knuble’s size and ability is the perfect addition to play alongside Alex Ovechkin. He is going to create space, and large walls in front of opposing goalies. Think Ovechkin was dangerous last year? Wait until you see him with Mike Knuble bulldozing his way to the front of the net.


~ by manovrboard on July 29, 2009.

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