Monday, June 25, 2007

No Qualifying Offer For Novotny

In a move that's a bit surprising to me, the Caps have decided not to extend a qualifying offer to Jiri Novotny, meaning that the Czech pivot will become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday. The decision is surprising in part because it would have been relatively cheap to qualify Novoflop ("only" $495,000), and in part because the former first-rounder is still only 23-years-old (24 in August). Novotny certainly did nothing to impress in his brief stint in D.C., but hopefully letting him go means that the team will be adding some depth at the center position (especially on the top two lines) in the near future. And for those keeping score at home, the Caps end up trading Dainius Zubrus for San Jose's second round pick in 2007 (which they flipped to Philly, I believe) and the Sharks' (likely very late) second round pick in 2008 - not exactly a king's ransom. But kudos to GMGM and the team for not just signing Novotny for the sake of trying to save some face on the Zubrus trade.

Another surprise (to me at least) was that the team didn't qualify goaltender Maxime Daigneault. "Max II" was 23-6 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.64 goals against average in his first season in the AHL. If it was purely a talent-based decision, I can live with it (though as a 23-year-old and a former second-round pick, I'm not sure how that decision can be made at this point). But when Tim Leone (via Tarik) pointed out that Frederic Cassivi was going to be back in Chocolatetown next year and questioned whether there was room in the organization for Daigneault, I asked the following:
Shouldn't the question be whether there's room in the organization for Cassivi? I know they're trying to win games down there, but if the Caps are forced to let go of a goalie with potential upside (there's only one way to find out how much) so that Hershey can keep playing a guy that offers no such long-term benefit to the big club, I'm not sure I see the point of the affiliation.
That question - and the implication that goes along with it - is gnawing at me again today. At the very least, the release of Max II shows the team's confidence in youngsters Simeon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.

Also not receiving QOs were defenseman Trevor Byrne, and forwards Kris Beech, Jonas Johansson, Louis Robitaille, Matt Stefanishion and Joey Tenute. No huge losses there.

So who was qualified? Blueliners Steve Eminger, John Erskine, Jamie Hunt and Milan Jurcina and forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Jakub Klepis, Brooks Laich, Dave Steckel and Brian Sutherby.

Per the Caps' site:
Players who receive qualifying offers have until July 15 to notify the club as to whether or not they accept the offer. Players with arbitration rights (that list includes Eminger, Erskine, Jurcina, Laich and Sutherby) have until July 5 to notify the club of their desire to exercise those rights.

Players who are tendered qualifying offers can still get offers from other NHL teams, too. Any restricted free agent who is given an offer sheet at $773,442 or below for 2007-08 can sign without his original club receiving any compensation in return. The player’s original club does retain the right to match that offer, however.


Negotiations are already ongoing with Washington’s restricted free agents, a process that will play itself out over the next six weeks or so. Players who choose arbitration may never get to arbitration, and just because all nine players were given two-way qualifying offers does not preclude them from signing one-way deals when it’s all said and done.


Unknown said...

I think that exonerates me from last week's faux pas: Forgetting he was on the team.


1) Have to agree with your question as per the Hershey goaltending situation. Yes, they need to ice a competitive team. BUT they are a DEVELOPMENTAL squad. There to develop talent for the NHL level
2) Cassivi for all his heroics in the AHL playoffs the last 2 years is NOT an NHL prospect. Goalies like any other player, need to play to improve.
3) So is Hershey there to help improve Cap's prospects, or is the Cap's affiliation with the Bears to stock Hershey with players to win Calder Cups?

Anonymous said...

I'm kinda glad Beech wasn't qualified. He's been given too many opportunities, already. Will he become that "Mark Recchi-type player", as was once touted. Ha.

Anonymous said...

I have fearful visions of Beech finding an environment where something key is just a little different and we see him find success down the road. The guy has a lot of talent. Of course, he's 26 and that's starting to get a little late to still be hoping to hit your stride these days.

Novotny wasn't impressive, but did he have a fair chance? I honestly can't remember how much ice time he got. Maybe that answers my question.

Unknown said...

Yes, I can picture Beech finding success in a different environment: The AHL.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see the Caps clearing some of the deadwood out of the ranks. It frees up space for the drafted talent to start working together in Hershey. I think getting rid of Max II was a good thing. I think he was topped out at the AHL level - he never could take over the number one spot from Cassivi. Also, keeping Cassivi around can only help Nuevirth who is projected to be an NHL #1 but is still only 19 years old.

Anonymous said...

You know, based on the deals that the Hartnells of the world are commanding, Zubie's demands seem cheap. Personally, I think GMGM blew it by letting him go. Hartnell hasnt cracked 50 points once in his NHL career; Zubie has done so twice.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame about Novotny, as I don't think we ever really got the chance to see what he could do for the Caps. My sense is that he completely shut down after being traded from a Stanley Cup contender.

The silence in the VC (from fans and media) compared to HSBC must have been deafening.

Anonymous said...

i think giving him multiple opportunities to center the #1 line with the best LW in the world qualifies as a 'fair chance'. he stinks.

Anonymous said...

I thought we could at least trade Beech for sixer of PBR and a pack of smokes.