GMGM (Genral Manager George McPhee) of the Washington Capitals has been handing out pink slips faster than meter maids with tickets in Seaside. Yesterday 39 year old veteran and alternate captain Mike Knuble was told he will not be returning to the organization next year and was asked to kindly pack his bags. Mike, ever the gentleman, did not leave without some kind words.
NOW word is spreading like wildfire that D.C. native and former captain of the Caps Jeff Halpern will not be returning either.
Rumors have also been floating around that Alexander Semin does not wish to return to the Capitals (leaving teams like the Detroit Red Wings licking their chops at the thought).
On a more positive note, the above exits could mean keeping key players from this past year such as:
- Mike Green- In an effort to be less of an offensive defenseman and more attractive to the Canadian Olympic Committee for the 2014 games, Green has struggled a bit to find his place and being plagued by injury all season didn’t help him. With a, hopefully, fixed produce section, Green appeared to be finding his mojo (pun intended) in the post season.
- John Carlson – He is finally blossoming into a key defenseman and had a big role in the Capitals’ post season success. As the younger/goofier half of the “Carlzner” defensive pairing with Karl Alzner, he would be a tough piece of the puzzle to replace (especially with a cap hit at under $846,000 he was WELL WORTH his money). Expect to see him asking for more cheddar.
- Mathieu Perreault – Or as his adoring fans refer to him “Flow Perreault”, the guy got a goal with his tongue (those mouthy French Canadians…) and contributed with 30 points in 64 appearances. With lightning fast speed that Xfinity would be jealous of, Matty P needs to be a keeper. Which leads us finally to…
- Jay Beagle – He is one of the hardest working players in the game, doggonit! He is a mainstay on the 4th line for his PK abilities and work ethic. In game 5 of the conference semifinals, he took a puck to the foot. He suited up for game 6 and was denied, then suited up for game 7 and was STILL denied. It came out that he had broken his foot and needed surgery as a result. He and linemates Matt Hendricks and Keith Aucoin were gritty adversaries of the most reliable kind. This was the line that started games for the team towards the waning days of the season and watching them play, you understood why. Beags, as he is affectionately referred to, blocked shots much like the NY Rangers, was speedy to pucks, and costs less in cap space than any other guy in the league willing to work that hard. This was his first full season with the big club and at 26, his level of conditioning is superb and speaks well for his longevity in the league. Plus, his hunger is unmatched by any of his teammates. No seriously, when I met the guy he was scarfing down a banana.
All of the above are RFAs come July 1st (leaving Semin, Wideman, Aucoin, King, and Sabourin as the UFAs). If McPhee’s goal is to give the Caps a more youthful core, he needs to look no further than last year’s top guys and pull in a few key acquisitions. Knuble and Halpern will be missed and I only wish them the best as they continue (hopefully!) with their careers. What they brought to the Capitals organization will always be appreciated and not forgotten.