Washington Capitals NHL 2013-2014 Season Preview: Tomorrow’s the first game!
Two short thoughts prior to gameday tomorrow. First, the Washington Capitals traded Mathieu Perrault yesterday, reuniting him with Bruce Boudreau for John Mitchell (who?) and a draft pick.
Was this a good trade?
On the bright side(and the impetus for the deal), this would signal that Tom Wilson will be in the starting lineup for the Capitals on opening day. The downside is that the Capitals are losing a feisty and talented player in Perrault.
Playing devil’s advocate, would it have been better to trade Perrault and a draft choice for a top four defenseman? I think yes. Additionally, if we were looking to cut costs, there are a few better candidates who would have freed more space—cough, Jason Chimera (1.7 mil), cough, Joel Ward (3.0 mil), cough.
But let the Martin Erat/ Eric Fehr/ Brooks Laich center experiment continue! My money is on Erat personally taking hold of the center position and centering a “destroyer line” of Fehr, Erat, and Wilson
That line is very exciting, in my opinion. Why? For the simple reason that we now have two legitimate shut-down lines and a defensively responsible second line with Brouwer, Laich/ Erat, and Grabovski.
Additionally, Michael Latta will should have an opportunity to make an impact on this team. If only they can convince someone to take on Chimera or Ward’s salary…
Second thought is around Brooks Laich. Laich is currently nursing an injured hip but says he will play in the opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.
This is a terrible idea.
Laich needs to be healthy and durable for the entire season. The Caps would rather lose the battle but win the war with Laich’s health.
First, because Laich’s contract takes up a substantial hit on the cap. While some would prefer that that hit be non-existent the factor of the matter is that it’s done and the Capitals will be unable to trade him without getting requisite value.
But more importantly, Laich can play an important role on the second line as a grinding winger and with Grabovski and Brouwer can pose a decent threat. The Capitals need to be as healthy as possible and cannot afford to lose a top six forward just to play in the opening game.
It will be interesting to see how the defensive minded Capitals fare against the Blackhawks tomorrow night. A solid performance could set the tone for a more responsible season and lead to greater success in the playoffs.
Let’s let the puck drop!