The Washington Capitals and the NHL free agency period begins tomorrow. On tap for the Capitals is to address a second line Center and a Defensemen position to bolster the Caps roster. According to GM George McPhee, caps fans should not expect a free agent frenzy by Washington. "We'll be involved but I don't expect to do a whole lot," he told me late yesterday. "We're in a great position right now where we have a good team. So rather than getting seduced into signing three- or four-year deals, we believe we have young people who are ready to go."
This is an annual statement put out by the Caps both at free agency period and at trade deadline. Sometimes the caps sleep and stand pat, others the Caps surprisingly take an aggressive approach. I suspect this free agency period will be on the more quiet side given the capitals salary cap situation. One thing is clear though, the Capitals will not seek any free agents who wish to have long term deals. The Caps are still insistent on, and should be, pursuing the building of the franchise through the youth of the system.
My only concern regarding that is the issue of toughness on defense. The caps clearly are in need to a bruiser type defensemen willing to clear out the front of the net. It has been a need for the past few seasons and seemingly, year in and year out, goes unaddressed, and in turn, bites the caps every year. Caps obviously want to ensure roster space for the 2008 and 2009 first round defensemen, prized prospects Karl Alzner and John Carlson. That’s a god thing. However, I fail to see how that, or any in house solution, fixes the lack of toughness on defense.
So GMG --- a rugged defensemen please. We're beggin!