Caps Make Some Moves
It’s been a while since I last updated this blog and for that I apologise and offer up an excuse of a lack of time. But recent news has forced me to make time for this.
The Washington Capitals today announced a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets that sees the Caps acquire Jason Chimera in exchange for Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina. Now I think George McPhee is an excellent GM. He has made some excellent trades and negotiated very good contracts – I’ll soon come to the Semin contract – but this is a trade I am disappointed with. Now I’ll admit I haven’t seen too much of Jason Chimera this year, but from what I have seen this season and in previous years, he seems to be a decent checking line winger. His numbers over the past couple of seasons are solid, but I would say that the only ways in which he can really improve the team is that he will be much better suited to playing left wing on the third line with Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr, the position which Chris Clark has been filling recently, and better speed than Clark. Jurcina is an understandable loss, as the Caps have a lot of defenseman, with Karl Alzner coming up from Hershey and the likes of Tom Poti and Shaone Morrisonn back from injury. So it is not the loss of Jurcina that bothers me, it is that of Chris Clark, compared with the gain of Jason Chimera. If there was a draft pick in it for Washington then I would be more accepting, but this is a team that leads the Eastern Conference, so there is little need for a change in line up, least of all offense, with the team leading the NHL in goals scored. The Caps have been a very tightly-knit team this year and this trade could affect the family feel built up in the dressing room. So I for one don’t feel that the Capitals have done well from this trade.
A side note from this deal is who will be the Caps next captain? Many fans feel Brooks Laich is a suitable candidate, and of course Alex Ovechkin’s name has to be put forward. Personally I think Matt Bradley would be very suited for the job. This year he has reminded us of just what he can do, chipping in with some vital points, and in a number of games spurring the team on. He has been a catalyst and is respected by his teammates for the effort he puts in for the team.
The other big recent story in Washington has been the contract extension signed by Alex Semin. There has been plenty of speculation recently that Semin would be traded near the trade deadline, as he is too similar to Ovechkin and the Caps would look to bring in more experience and ability in defense. But any rumours were settled by the Russian signing a one year contract extension worth six million dollars. The organisation had opened up some cap space by offloading Michael Nylander, another good move by McPhee, and this is, in my opinion, a very good bit of business. McPhee’s policy of not handing out lots of long term contracts is something most Caps fans appreciate as it is a practice which is reportedly bringing other teams into trouble. But speculation is that only one of Semin and Backstrom will be offered a longer, six or seven year deal. Most fans, including myself, sided with Backstrom in this argument. However, like I said earlier, this team is going strong and I don’t think it needs much, if any, change. So another year with the talented Semin on the roster is definitely a bonus, and I feel this is good work by the management.
We’ll see how Jason Chimera does in a Caps jersey, and the question of captaincy may continue for a while with the coaching staff relying on team-wide leadership, but these moves should not deeply affect the Capital’s Stanley Cup bid.