Thursday, February 15, 2007

Caps Looking For A New Jacket?

Yesterday's Columbus Post Dispatch reported that "the Washington Capitals have sent two and three scouts to recent [Blue Jackets] games." As the Caps don't play the Jax again until the clubs face off in 2024 in Bahrain (I may be wrong about those specifics), the question is who have the Caps been scouting?

Guys like Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Gilbert Brule are presumably untouchable.

Columbus will likely trade unrestricted-free-agents-to-be Anson Carter and Bryan Berard before the February 27 trade deadline, but I doubt the Caps would have any interest in renting either (besides, if "fool me once" is shame on you and "fool me twice" is shame on me, what would it be if the Caps took Carter a third time - shame on the fans?).

Despite occasionally-strong play from Fredrik Norrena, I doubt the Jax are looking to move goaltender Pascal Leclaire (though if they were, I'd think it would be a great move for the Caps to go after him).

So that leaves the obvious. Nik Zherdev has been a problem child for Ken Hitchcock, but he has far too much talent for the team to give up on him at this point (and already signed at $2.5m next year and $3.25m in 08-09, Zherdev is a bargain for the offensive talent he brings to the table). And despite the "he's Russian, the Alexes are Russian, therefore he'd be a perfect fit in Washington" line of thinking, I'm not sure that taking on someone else's prima donna headache is really what the Caps are looking to do right now. Still, sniffing around Zherdev is just about the only thing that I can think of that would get two or three scouts out to Columbus, Ohio in the middle of February. Then again, I'm not in scouting so what do I know? What do you know?


Faux Rumors2 said...

1) Also doubt that the Jackets would give up on Zherdev so quickly. Especially all the trouble they went through to sign him for this past season
2) However, as long as the asking price isn't too steep, if Columbus wants to deal him, he'd be worth it. After all wasn't Semin supposed to be a 'problem child' as well?

rinkwraith said...

The real question might be who were the Jackets playing those nights.

JP said...

Semin certainly was supposed to be a problem child... and on occasion don't you still get the impression that he'd rather be doing things other than, say, backchecking?

As for who the Jax were playing, that's certainly worth noting (St. Louis, Chicago, Calgary and Phoenix on the current homestand), though the focus seems to be on the Jackets.

It's probably nothing more than routine scouting, but this time of year everyone is a little more suspicious.

Rage said...

Last year, weren't we all examining every potential deal when we were actively shopping Witt? And were any of us right?

I think your second suspicion that this may just be routine is more likely. They could have even been scouting, as you say, free agents-to-be for the off-season.

Then again, you never can tell with the Ghost of Crazy Ron still lingering (see, I can make lame/totally awesome commercial jokes too).

Also, my word verification for this comment was "uctrzzay" from which you can form crazy. Coincidence? Well, yes.

Rage said...

Sorry, that should read "jokes about lame/totally awesome commercials". I didn't mean to judge the quality of my reference.

Sonia said...

i'm sure columbus has some no name average defenseman that the caps would be interested in. or perhaps another checking line winger?

Cosmo said...

Rusty Klesla. Defenseman, age 24, only makes about a mil per. You heard it here first!

E said...

You forgot about Freddy Modin. Said to be on the block. Although, prob wouldn't be smart on the Caps part. Too crowded on LW already. And he doesn't fit "the plan". He's 32. too old

JP said...

I didn't forget Modin, but you're right - he has been mentioned in rumors, though the last I read the team is trying to re-sign him. You're also right that the Caps would want nothing to do with him.

Drew said...

As a Jackets fan, I am very curious to see how the next two weeks shake out. I would not be surprised to see one or both of Anson Carter and Bryan Berard gone.

Modin is a lesser possibility at this point based on what I'm hearing, though I think this could easily change.

Zherdev is probably being shopped in some form, but I find it hard to believe that he would be a bargain for anyone at this point.

Norrena and Leclaire are very likely both in C-bus for the next two, and if MacLean gives Rusty the boot I'd be extremely shocked. I think that Klesla has played his way to a nice contract soon based on his play this year. I believe he's the best overall defenseman in the system at this time.

In the end, as noted by rage, nobody really knows until it happens. It should be interesting in any event.

Keep up the good work, JP.