Waiting for the Leftovers - Washington Capitals

While we've been advised as fans not to expect more in the way of moves this offseason by the Oilers, any goal in sport is to improve in talent or contracts through trade if a viable trade option exists. In our continued look at teams in cap trouble, we examine the Washington Capitals if for no other reason than the recent public comments made by Michael Nylander.

If I had to guess, I would estimate that close to 90% of Edmonton fans would not want to see Nylander come to a city he once snubbed and feel the his cap space questions can not be answered by his on ice performance.

So if not Nylander, (who the Capitals don't want back and would likely dump for peanuts) - then who?

The Untouchables

Alexander Ovechkin for obvious reasons. Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green. These are the cornerstone pieces of a powerful and offensive Capitals team. An argument may be made for Semin, but when he's on, there's very few better.

The Unwanted

In Washington at least? Michael Nylander. This for all of the reasons stated above and more. Check out an earlier article if you want the scoop on what's going on with him.

Chris Clark, while I don't have it on any good authority, may be trade bait in Washington. He makes a healthy salary at $2.63 mill per season and has been injured the past two seasons. With Washington's known interest in Afinogenov and Zherdev, someone is the odd person out, and that could be Clark if Nylander can't be moved.

The Unlikely

Mike Knuble, in what I consider the steal of the off-season signed with Washington for an extremely friendly $2.8 million for two years and has consistently netted 20+ goals and 40+ points since 2002. He brings leadership and grit as a true power forward. The Oilers only wish they could have landed a player like him when he came available July 1st. He's 35, but that's not a concern for the Caps.

Brooks Laich at the age of 26 has really stepped into his game, becoming a 20 goal guy and complimentary forward for Ovechkin or Semin.

Tom Poti won't be moved, at least not to Edmonton after the hate-on he's developed for the team and his departure and Edmonton. Plus, the Oilers have a good core at their defense that I don't see remaining players on the Caps adding much in the way of real value to.

The Target

Robin Brownlee over at Oilersnation, has a real love on for David Steckel. Brownlee writes: "Steckel, for the vast majority of you who don’t have his name on the tip of your tongue, is a six-foot-five, 222-pound pivot who just finished his fourth season with the Washington Capitals. Steckel, 27, is a demon on the dot. He finished the 2008-09 regular season among NHL leaders at 57.9 per cent. In 14 playoff games, he upped that to 58.4 per cent...Steckel kills penalties and his face-off record shorthanded this past season was 153-130....He’s cheap. Steckel has one year remaining on a contract that will pay him $725,000 in 2009-10.

I have to agree that he makes some good sense to fill an Oiler need.

So too as much as I'd hate to say it, but I did earlier; if Nylander can be brought in at the expense for a few lousy Oiler contracts, namely a Staois, Nilsson, Pisani I might painfully consider this deal for a couple reasons.

You have a bonafide #1 center (assuming he doesn't play as crappy as he did last year) to take some pressure off of Horcoff. Nylander might click with Hemsky, and if Jagr is at all on the radar, he'll be even more interested in Nylander is in the mix.

There may not be a lot in Washington that the Oilers want, that of course the Caps would also be willing to part with; but I can see the Capitals as somewhat of a dumping ground. They have players they don't want, and we have contracts we need to shed. Maybe somewhere we can meet in the middle.


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