Without including Alzner, Carlson, Aucoin, or Bourque and the Caps already have 22 players. Although that does include Eric Fehr who is reportedly rehabbing shoulder surgery and could spend a substantial amount of time in Hershey this season.
So assuming the rumors about Fehr are true then there are 21 spots filled with players who played regularly in the NHL last season. Looking at the numbers provided by HockeyBuzz.com it shows the Caps over the salary cap currently. That doesn't include Varly or Schultz but does include Alzner, Collins, Sloan, Fehr, and Aucoin.
Taking the above players out of the equation and adding Varly and Schultz the Caps are still right at the Cap.
Basically what I am getting at is there might be trades coming this year.
Obviously it is going to depend on who plays really well and who struggles but I think these players should be watching their backs:
- D Shaone Morrisonn - still young at 26 and still good but he could bring some valuable picks or prospects and is expendable with Carlson and Alzner ready to play. With a salary of almost 2 million moving him would clear up significant space.
- D Milan Jurcina - also only 26 he isn't quite as valuable as Morrisonn but does make almost 1.5 million and is not the best defensemen on the roster. Also like Morrisonn he is a free agent next season so trading him will at least give the Caps something in return.
- D Jeff Schultz - I would be surprised to see him go but after getting burned multiple times in the playoffs last season I think lots of fans are ready to say goodbye. He is younger than the other 2 at 23 and is much cheaper as he is scheduled to make around 750k this season.
- C Michael Nylander - obviously he is available but no one wants him. He didn't play well even when he got into games last season which obviously doesn't help his value. Also making way too much (almost 4.9 million) and has a no movement clause.....meaning the Caps can't trade him or send him to the AHL without his permission. Taking up valuable roster and cap space though so expect McPhee to try and move him.
- LW Tomas Fleischmann - a fan favorite in Hershey he finally began to show his value and talent last season in Washington but then disappeared in the playoffs. Fans are beginning to lose patience and the organization isn't far behind. Boudreau has lots of faith in Flash but even he seems to be tired of waiting. He doesn't bring a ton of cap relief if moved though as he only makes 725k this season.
- LW Chris Bourque - this name probably surprises some but hear me out. IF the Caps decide to keep Flash then where does Bourque play in Washington? He doesn't as he isn't a 4th line winger in my opinion. And if they send him to Hershey he is likely to be claimed on waivers meaning the Caps get nothing in return for him. So they might trade him for prospects or picks or could package him with another player to make a trade more appealing.
Honestly I think any of those players could be moved. For anyone who wonders why I didn't include Theodore on that list it is because there is NO WAY the Caps would go into the season with 2 rookie goaltenders as their only options. Theodore WILL be in Washington this season and WILL play.
I think you will see at least one of the above players move and you could see 2 or 3 of them in my opinion. Without the moves you would likely see Alzner, Carlson, Aucoin, Giroux, and possibly even Bourque headed back up to Hershey. Which I am obviously fine with.
It will be an interesting upcoming month.