Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday Afternoon Roundup

By now, we all know that G Cristobal Huet spurned the Caps' offer of 3 years at $5 mil per year for the Blackhawks' 4 years at $5.6 mil per year. The Caps then turned to Jose Theodore, most recently of the Colorado Avalanche. While I'm not buying the Caps' whole "he was the 2002 Hart/Vezina winner!!1!one!" campaign, he's a solid goalie signed to a short-term deal. Japers' Rink and The Red Skate both, as always, have good analysis up:
Bottom line: if you were of the belief that Cristobal Huet was the kind of goalie that could take a team all the way, you're probably inconsolable today. But for the rest of us, the reality is that provided that everything else comes together over the next few days/weeks/months, there's no reason to believe the Caps won't be perfectly fine in both the short- and long-term. And hey, at least they didn't sign Ray Emery, right?
-Japers' Rink

Théodore provides equivalent value at a more cap-friendly price.
For those upset that Huet isn’t between the pipes for the home team at Verizon this fall, justify your belief that it is more likely that Huet will carry his dominant play from March of last season into this coming season than it is likely that Théodore (12-4-1 with two shutouts, a 2.27 GAA, and a .917 SV% in his final 18 starts) will do, essentially, the same. They seem exceedingly comparable netminders, and are of similar age as well.
Career stats give a slight nod to Huet in the ratio numbers, but clearly Theodore has more NHL, and specifically playoff, experience.
-The Red Skate

So there are your key quotes from both blogs, and I find both absolutely agreeable. If Theodore is great, we him signed relatively cheap for that. If he's terrible, it's only 2 years. If he's decent (as expected), then we're fine. Cristobal Huet, contrary to popular belief, is NOT as good as he was for the Caps last year. He's a solid goaltender but at the same time he is no Martin Brodeur. I would have supported the 3 year $15 mil deal, but 4 years is simply too much to give a goalie with really only 1 year of great performance, especially when the Caps have to lock up Semin and Backstrom during the contract.

Also, where does this leave the Caps in cap-room? As you may or may not know, I posted some predictions of what the 6 guys the Caps were looking to re-sign would get:
Fedorov: range of $2 mil/1 year to $3 mil/1 year. We'll settle in the middle for $2.5 mil.
Fehr: range of $900k/1 year to $1.95 mil/2 years ($975k average). I'd bet on $925k.
Gordon: I'll just make one spot guess: $925k/1 year.
Green: range of $20 mil/5 years ($4 mil average) to $33 mil/6 years ($5.5 mil average). Because he's most likely to get a big offer, I'll go with the max at $5.5 mil. He could get offered $6 mil/year or more in FA, but I doubt the Caps match that, mainly because it would base more than 1/4 of their yearly salary in just 2 guys. Plus they would get draft pick compensation.
Huet: range of $10.5 mil/2 years ($5.25 mil average) to $24 mil/4 years ($6 mil average). I'll say he'll make $5.75 mil next year.
Laich: range of $1.75 mil/1 year to $5.5 mil/3 years ($1.83 mil average). $1.75 mil sounds like a nice round number for our figures.
Morrisonn: range of $3 mil/2 years ($1.5 mil average) to $5.25 mil/3 years ($1.75 mil average). We'll call it $1.6 mil next year.

The Caps have roughly $19 mil of cap room for these 6 guys, so when you take away Theodore's $4.5 mil and Green's $5.25 mil, they'll have $9.25 mil spread between the other 4. I'm optimistic that they'll be able to make it all fit, assuming Laich and Morrisonn stay under $2 mil per and Fedorov stays under $3 mil. Gordon and Fehr won't make more than $1 mil. If all of those assumptions come true, that's $9 mil or less, and the Caps will be fine.

Most of Nationals news right now revolves around Colin Balester and trade rumors. I'll talk about Balester in a second, but first about trade rumors. According to Chico Harlan's chat today, Lo Duca and Lopez are "at the top of the list" of guys to be dealt. names the Marlins as a possible suitor for Lo Duca and we all know about the Orioles' recent "interest" in Fail-ipe. In the end, I bet Lo Duca gets DFA'ed after the trade deadline, maybe moved in a waiver deal to a team whose catcher unexpectedly goes down. Lopez I have a feeling will end the year in a different jersey, because the Nats aren't going to resign him and he's not going to net a draft pick. Might as well move him for SOMETHING, since his value is still somewhat-existant (since he's young-ish and has some "potential" left).

Now back to Balester-good performance last night (I missed a good Nats game, as usual). I'm impressed. We finally have a real prospect pitching (no offense to Clippard/Mock/O'Connor) and it feels good. I have to run now, so I'll spare you more of the same thing and say: let's re-evaluate him at the end of the year. Go Balester!

EDIT-4:23 pm
Virginia Tech WR Brandon Dillard is out for the year with a torn ACL. Dillard was going to compete for a starting job this year. His loss severely depletes an already depleted WR core that lost its top 4 recievers last year to graduation (Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan, Justin Harper and Josh Hyman). Hopefully the Hokies will be able to rebound from this. Here's a decent season preview on the Hokies I came across yesterday on Losing Dillard really just means that the Hokies will have to find a consistent reciever or two out of probably 5 or 6 candidates now rather than 6 or 7.

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