The Washington Capitals in a very unexpected turn of events, have signed three Free Agents on Friday. Roman Hamrlik, Joel Ward, and Jeff Halpern. This move is very aggressive. They also traded Semyon Varlamov for a first round draft pick and a second round pick in next years draft to the Colorado Avalanche. The second rounder could happen in 2013 if certain legalities take place.
For all you Caps fans who wanted Varly back, sorry. The good news is that’s what an elite management situation does. Most teams would never give up a very talented, young net minder. The Caps can afford to. With Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth they are set in net for another 5 years at least. Not that those guys won’t be around longer, I’m just not gonna say they are ten years of greatness for sure. Back to the trade, basically, they capitalized on superior player development. Colorado finished second worst in the West last year. The Caps may get another high draft pick next year and still have their own.
Roman Hamrlik most recently played in Montreal. where he recorded 34 points in 79 games. The 6’2”, 207-pound defenseman logged the third-most minutes (22:16) per-game. Washington gave him a two year contract. He has been a part of a gritty Montreal team. Playing under Canadian hockey spotlight. He has a gold medal and and was voted an All Star three times. Most likely, Coach Bruce Boudreau will play all the D lines equally with such depth. A huge luxury over an 82 game season if it works out. Dmitri Orlov will also get at least one game to show management what he can do. Financial terms of all three deals were not disclosed today. With the Caps roster filled out, a Karl Alzner re-signing is all that remains.
Jeff Halpern is a leader. I’m sure some Caps fans remember him. He played seven years in Washington. His last year (Alexander Ovechkin’s rookie year)he captained the squad. He is Boyd Gordon’s replacement and most certainly the soon to be spiritual leader of the team. The Caps hope it is now as Halpern only signed a one year contract.
Joel Ward from the Nashville Predators has been given a four year contract. This defensive minded winger was second in blocked shots and third in takeaways on a team that takes pride in it’s defense. He also chipped in 29 points. Ward is not tall but at 218 pounds he can skate and play physical. He also has some very sneaky hands and a wicked slapper. With much more offensive talent on the Washington roster, General Manager George McPhee must see something that tells him this guy is worth a four year deal.
The Washington Capitals greatly improved their team today. Their fans should be proud and celebrate this Fourth of July.