Jun 20, 2018
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<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Eli</b></div><div>I mean, it sounds expensive. After expansion, if Seattle doesn't play nice, the team is going to want to have some prospects in the tank. Oshie for Connolly is pretty even, on the ice, but Connolly's contract is cheaper and he's younger, so I'm sure Fla only does that for futures. And like you said, with expansion coming up, every team has some uncertainty to prepare for. If Oshie's gone, the Caps don't have any idea whom Seattle goes for. Unless they protect Samsonov and Seattle takes Holtby, but would they take him? Depends on cap hit, next year's stats, and whether they take Price/Bob. If there's a straight up Oshie for Connolly on the table, yeah, the Caps probably take that. But when they start having to add a 2nd and a prospect, it gets questionable. Better to keep Oshie in position to break 30 goals this year, and get a pair of 2nds for him in August, or a little more if there's a short term contract coming back. Did you see the Isles post going for Zuccarello today? Don't want any part of it, but Oshie's better than Zuccarello...</div></div>
All good stuff. I think I'm having a hard time reconciling the idea of the Caps staying competitive for a Cup through 2025(ish) and also setting the team up for a short rebuild cycle afterward, maybe a down year or two. I do think there's a longer window to build the prospect pipeline than most others think, because while the farm system may not have great depth today, it has enough to keep the NHL side in playoff contention after No. 8 & 19 have hung up the skates. It's going to be the wave after that where we really see a drop off, in my opinion - where the likes of Wilson and Vrana are starting to get into the tail-end of their primes and guys like Carlson, Orlov, maybe Kuzy (he's older than I thought) are considering retirement after their contracts expire, if they are even still here.
TLDR: I'm wondering how the Caps maintain their current trajectory while dropping the average age of their top 6 F / top 4 D by about 2-3 years to extend the window. Probably not possible, all things considered.
Just looked at that Zuc post...yikes.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>Eli</b></div><div>If the price is the same? Of course. Connolly obviously can score 20 goals in Washington, but it looks like he can score 30 in Florida, where there's a steady top-six spot for him, so he'd probably be more valuable to Florida, and pretty expensive to get back. At the same time, it took injuries in the top six and significant time at 2L for Connolly to break 20G in WSH. I wouldn't expect him to fix line 3. It was Burakovksy's and Oshie's puck movement that got Eller close to 20G. Moving Vrana back should get Eller and Panik going. If Hagelin can move up to 2L, and work well with Backstrom, it might not hurt Oshie much? Coleman and Labanc are certainly just luxury ideas, but Coleman is showing improvement, year to year, and Labanc is having a down year so he might be cheap to re-sign, as a guy young enough to still improve on the offense he put up last year.
The trick is to find the next Connolly.</div></div>
Definitely fair points, and I probably didn't explain my idea in totality or very clearly aside from the immediate "how to get Connolly" - I was thinking that this is a long-term move as well, with Oshie likely to move on in the next year or two due to trade or expansion. What about something centered around an Oshie for Connolly swap where Connolly plays the middle six this year and moves into a permanent 2nd line role when Oshie departs? This assumes, of course, they are retaining Backstrom (which they will), and extending Vrana at a workable cap hit. I'm sure there is something I'm not thinking of, though.
EDIT: I guess he'd move into that permanent 2nd line role immediately, eh?
Slightly different take - I don't think the Caps would do this, but not out of a lack of desire, more for a lack of cap flexibility. Bertuzzi scored the same number of points as Vrana last year, within a year of the same age, and has a little more toughness in his game; while that's hard to account for in salary, it does matter. Bertuzzi is also on pace to have a better season than last year by a considerable margin, especially if he plays the full year (I think he missed a decent number of games last year). With all that said, I'm not sure the Caps would be willing to let Alexeyev go for a guy that would likely turn into a pure rental, considering what he'll likely fetch on the open market and with the Caps due contracts to Backstrom, Ovechkin, and Vrana again in the next two years.