Examining the Washington Capitals roster needs, Jeff Petry isn’t ruling out re-signing with the Canadiens, and how the Oilers could address their blueline needs.
Changes coming for the Capitals?
THE WASHINGTON POST: Alex Prewitt reports Capitals forwards Jay Beagle, Eric Fehr and Joel Ward will take their two-way versatility to free agency this summer. So will disappointing trade-deadline acquisitions Curtis Glencross and Tim Gleason. Long-time Capitals defenseman Mike Green could also depart if he chooses a higher payday via free agency. After re-signing RFAs Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov, Prewitt feels the Caps will still have spare cash to tweak their roster and add some spare parts.
Neil Greenberg believes the Capitals must stabilize their top line’s right wing, which saw a carousel of several players in that role this season playing alongside Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Greenberg also believes the Caps must do a better job acquiring rental players at the trade deadline and believes Mike Green will depart via free agency.
Ben Raby also believes the Capitals need a first-line right wing and that their roster will have a different look next season. He believes they need to end the revolving-door at their second-line center position.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the lack of quality talent in this summer’s UFA market, the Caps will have to make trades to bring in a reliable first-line right wing. Problem is, it could cost them a high draft pick and/or a top prospect or two to address those needs. They could try moving promising Andre Burakovsky up on left wing on the first line and shift Ovechkin to right wing, or move Burakovsky over to the right side on the top line. As for the second-line center spot, Kuznetsov should fill that role, but they could use a skilled second-line winger.
Oilers could pursue a defenseman via the trade market.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the limited depth of blueline talent in this summer’s UFA market could force Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli into the trade market, drawing upon his forward depth to land a quality defenseman. Matheson claims “it’s no secret the Oilers are eyeing the Chicago Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook”, who has a year left on his contract and the ‘Hawks are pressed for cap space. He speculates maybe there’s some “soft interest” in Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf, but cites his hefty contract as a concern plus he’s not in the same class as Seabrook as a top-two defenseman. Matheson also suggests Chiarelli might not be as enamored of right wing Nail Yakupov as his predecessor was. Noting the Minnesota Wild have depth on defense but lack scoring, he wonders if a Yakupov for Jared Spurgeon and ” a sweetener” deal could be made.
Matheson also wonders if Chiarelli might make a play for Calgary Flames goalie Karri Ramo if the netminder tests the UFA market, or if he’ll instead try to pry Cam Talbot away from the New York Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seabrook would be a great addition to the Oilers. Problem is, he’s got a limited no-trade clause. If the Oilers are on his “do not trade” list, that dream goes up in smoke. Seabrook will be eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency, mean Chiarelli will need assurances the blueliner is willing to re-sign with the Oilers or he’s wasting assets acquiring a guy who won’t be a long-term solution to their defensive needs. I concur with Matheson’s assessment of Phaneuf. He’s not a top-two blueliner. If Chiarelli is willing to part with one of his young forwards for a defenseman, Yakupov seems the most likely to go. A deal with Minnesota might not be a bad idea. So will dealing with any club that has depth in defensemen seeking scoring depth. As for a goalie, if there’s a chance of acquiring Talbot from the Rangers I think that’s a better option than pursuing Ramo.
Petry won’t rule out re-signing with the Canadiens.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports pending UFA defenseman Jeff Petry isn’t ruling out re-signing with the Canadiens. Hickey suggests Petry could seek long-term offers worth up to $6 million per season. He could also have an opportunity to play with his hometown Detroit Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry was a terrific fit with the Canadiens and he would help take pressure off P.K. Subban. However, the Canadiens biggest needs are scoring depth at forward and re-signing Alex Galchenyuk. We’ve probably seen the last of Petry in a Habs jersey.