Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's expected...


OK, so the Caps trade a pick, a prospect, and a Pettinger for a goalie, a great (from the past), and a grinder.

Folks will be spending the next few days chewing on the particulars of the deals and asking if they were worth it…if Huet really is a #1 or #1A goalie, or if he is heading into a spring swoon…if Fedorov has anything left in the tank…if Cooke merely had a relationship-gone-sour with his coach or is just not the annoyance-slash-pest he’s been in years past.

Forget all that for the moment…let’s turn our focus away from the players obtained and onto the players still in the room.

A message has been sent…playoffs? It’s expected…

George McPhee did what horse-traders do at this time of year. He went out and filled needs for a stretch run, and he did it without giving up a lot (we’ll probably have more to say later about why it wasn’t a lot). Whether in fact these moves were the right ones will have a proper airing another time (like after the season). But right now, the deals have – or perhaps should have – the effect of delivering a message to the rest of the team…the lollygagging around .500 over the last 15 games is not what is expected from this point forward.

The team for the stretch run has been assembled. It would be nice to get Chris Clark and/or Brian Pothier back, but we shouldn’t count on that happening at this point. But if the club, “liked what they had” in the days leading up to the trade deadline, they should be thrilled with what they have now. And with that you’d have to think that the message is…

Playoffs?...it’s expected.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just have this sneaky feeling that Clarke will only be back if the Caps make the playoffs. They are on the border now, and if he isn't rushing back to help -- well...

Victor said...

I confess I'm still disappointed the Caps didn't pick up a veteran blueliner. OK, I can't think of who they might've gotten, either...but if GMGM could pull off Huet and Fedorov, why couldn't he have pulled a defenseman out of his hat, too?

The Peerless said...

victor...I suspect the price would have been a roster prospect (Fehr, for example) and/or a higher draft pick than what the Caps ultimatly surrendered. The Caps were not going to part with that kind of asset.

Shaggy said...

Peerless:
What is your unvarnished take on the 3 amigos in goal? One must cast an eye to the future, for sure, but what of GMGM's statement on air this moring that Olie has roster spot next year if he wants it? Does that bespeak a fair competition for No. 1, or is he assuming that Huet's return next year is pretty unlikely?

The Peerless said...

Having a roster spot and getting an assurance that he will be the go-to, 55-60 games goalie are different things. And, both Kolzig and Huet are UFAs.

We're seeing the first part of an audition -- a much better one that training camp, frankly -- and how each performs over the next 19 games will paint a clear picture of who has the upper hand in terms of being the odds-on favorite to get the bulk of the starts.

Huet is, after a fashion, insurance. He and Kolzig have similar contract situations -- both are UFAs after this season. If either has a good stretch run, they will command a higher price than either likely would command right now -- Kolzig has had, what for him, is a weak season; Huet has stumbled heading into the home stretch, precipitating his trade.

I maintain that the Caps next #1 goalie (and I've said this before, a lot) was not in the Caps system. Well, now he might be. We'll get a better picture over the next five weeks. If I had to pick a pecking order of goalies right now, it's:

Kolzig
Huet
Johnson

Johnson is a known commodity and is uner contract for next year. He has played well -- as well as a backup for a contending team has to (unlike his first two years here). But I would think his playing time will be rare over the rest of the season.

As for who they keep, between Kolzig and Huet, I have no idea. That is entirely a function of how they perform and their respective asking prices on their next contract. I read the McPhee comment more broadly...he has a roster spot if he wants it...at the price we're offering (whatever that ends up being).

Victor said...

That sounds very plausible, Peerless, yet I'm still disappointed. There are times this season when I've felt the defense giving our goalies the most trouble was the Caps D.

At the same time, I realize the team shouldn't mortgage its future. I'm sure GMGM did what he felt was best.

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