Capitals GM George McPhee faces a busy off-season, and an update on the Jordan Staal trade rumors.
WASHINGTON POST: In the wake of the Capitals playoff elimination, GM George McPhee has a busy summer ahead of him. He must decide if he’ll bring back Dale Hunter as head coach, if he’ll re-sign or replace pending UFAs Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble and Dennis Wideman, and re-sign RFAs Mike Green, John Carlson, Jay Beagle and Mathieu Perreault.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM:Chuck Gormley believes if 40-year-old Knuble returns for one more NHL season, it probably won’t be in Washington. Knuble struggled this season but regained his offensive touch in the playoffs. UFAs Jeff Halpern, Tomas Vokoun and Keith Aucoin aren’t expected to be re-signed, while management faces difficult decisions with Semin and Wideman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have just over $45 million invested in 17 players, and assuming next year’s cap comes in around the current $64.3 million, that’ll leave McPhee with about $20 million in available cap space. Semin’s offensive inconsistency has many observers believing this season was his last as a Capital, but they’ll have a difficult time finding a talented replacement via trade or free agency. It’ll be surprising if they don’t re-sign Green, though given his recent injury woes, it could be a one-year deal worth about the same ($5.25 million) as this year’s salary.Vokoun and Knuble won’t be back. Carlson will definitely be re-signed, while Beagle and Perreault are affordable re-signings. If he opts not to re-sign Wideman, he won’t find much for a replacement via free agency. As for Hunter, the talk before the playoffs was he wouldn’t be back, but after pushing the Caps to within one game of advancing to the Eastern Conference Final, his return is a possibility.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Jose Yohe recently looked at the four teams rumored to have interest in Penguins center Jordan Staal (Carolina, Toronto, Edmonton, and Minnesota) and what they could offer in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Penguins could trade Staal (a UFA next July) this summer, but remember, they’re under no pressure to do so this summer. Consensus is GM Ray Shero will wait and see what’s contained in the new CBA before considering any serious moves, like moving Staal.