Friday, February 02, 2007

The New Kid in Town

photo: Getty Images

There’s a new kid in town, and his name is Milan Jurcina.

Yesterday, the Caps acquired young (23 years old) Mr. Jurcina to join a nucleus of defensemen of that age or younger who are with, or who are otherwise playing substantial minutes with the Caps this year:

Steve Eminger
Shaone Morrisonn (ok, he just turned 24 in December)
Mike Green
Jeff Schultz

And that does not include other first round blueliners Joe Finley and Sasha Pokulok. Nor does it include the Caps’ last blue line signing, Brian Pothier (although The Peerless certainly agrees with JP over at Japers’ Rink that this deal signals what is likely to be a lengthy absence for Pothier).

This deal has no downside that The Peerless can divine:

1) The Caps gave up a fourth rounder. Well, gee . . . let’s look at the sort the Caps have picked in that round in recent years . . . Ryan Van Buskirk (2000), Jeff Lucky (2001), Jevon Desautels (2002), Petr Dvorak (2002), Andreas Valdix (2003), Andrew Thomas (2005), Patrick McNeill (2005), Oskar Osala (2006), Luke Lynes (2006). The Peerless will concede that the jury is out on the 2005 and 2006 picks, but are any Caps fans waiting in eager anticipation for the Capitals’ debut of anyone else on that list? If so, you’ll be disappointed. Getting Jurcina for a fourth is a “happy birthday to me” moment.

2) One can never have too many defensemen. The Caps lost Bryan Muir and John Erskine, then Brian Pothier, and their season went into the toilet faster than last night’s chili. This is not a “this year” move, but it could set up some spirited competition on the blue line next fall.

3) OK, so Jurcina fell out of favor in Boston. He was identified here as having 3-4 potential not so long ago. Sometimes, a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered to jump start a youngster’s career.

4) He’s certainly cap-friendly. $500K this year, and he’s a restricted free agent after this year. Based on his performance to date, we suspect he’ll remain and continue to be cap-friendly in his next deal.

5) History. He skated alongside Shaone Morrisonn once upon a time (in Providence). Perhaps that can have a beneficial effect on both players (well, then again, maybe they couldn’t stand each other up there…you never know about such things).

6) Jerseys. The Peerless is of a mind that there are a lot of ‘68’ jerseys around. It was Jurcina’s number in Boston. The Caps can save on uniforms.


Anonymous said...

According to Tarik, he'll wear No. 23.

What a shame, No. 68 is retired. :-)

Marc D. said...

He did wear #23, and was paired with Morrisonn.

Good post, Peerless. I also think it's a win-win.

First game with the Caps, and first good defensive game for the Caps since a very long time. Probably not a coincidence.