Washington Capitals… Unrestricted Defense

As everyone knows, Washington was eliminated in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It still hurts most Caps fans. Without a coach, the Caps have been content to approach the off-season cautiously. Of notice lately is the trade of Tomas Vokoun to Pittsburgh for a 7th round draft pick. Without Vokoun Washington can keep the competition between Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.

Washington has a significant number of Free Agents in the upcoming year. Big decisions will be made and there is a good chance the team will not resemble the current one. Here is a quick rundown of the Unrestricted Free Agents on Defense.

Most of my predictions are based around the notion that the Caps will decline extending an offer to to Dennis Wideman and his 3.93 million. Wideman was an all star and will want a higher salary. The Caps would be foolish to keep him over their homegrown talent that is younger.

Mike Green will be an important re-signing. Last year the former All-Star had a cap hit of $5.25 million. To put that in perspective, Drew Doughty earns $7 million while ┬áDuncan Keith gets $5.5. Mike Green is right up there in pay with the best defenseman in the league. Tough situation for a guy who hasn’t played much and didn’t get a lot of playoff points to become a free agent. I’m guessing the Caps will keep Green if he accepts a deal just over $4.5 million. I’m ok with keeping him as long as the price is right. Green is a great skater who played a lot of good defense down the stretch. His offense was definitely lacking but he could always break out if healthy for an extended period of time.

John Carlson made $845k last year. He will be expecting a big raise. John Carlson is worth a long term contract but not at top D money. If he wants to get huge dollars he will likely have to sign a three-year deal and mature a bit more as a player. While Carlson is scouted as an OFD, he is lacking offensive production.┬áHe has strong chemistry with the organization and is a good teammate and usually defends the opposing team’s top skater.Washington will be smart to keep Carlson but, hopefully for no more than three million dollars.

The Capitals have Dmitry Orlov on the rise and Karl Alzner still signed. With Green and Carlson healthy, the Caps will be formidable on defense next year.

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