Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Troops in Town

So the deadline has passed, the dust is slowly settling, and it's time to take stock of what we've got, what we lost, and where we're going.

Let's start with the first deal of the day for the Caps. GMGM snatches up Cristobal Huet from Montreal for a second round pick in 2009, the pick received in exchange for Brian Sutherby. Talk about maximizing your assets - in Huet the Caps get a 32-year-old goalie who is a proven starter, a goalie capable of stealing games for his team despite his recent slump, a goalie familiar with our coach and his systems, and someone who down the road could carry the work between the pipes while we wait for our baby goalies to develop.

Drawbacks? He doesn't bring a lot of playoff experience, with just six games under his belt (although his 2.33 GAA and .929 save % are pretty numbers for that stretch). He has the tendency to be a bit inconsistent and even admitted himself that he didn't work hard enough to keep his spot in the Habs lineup. Still, it's hard to be too upset with a guy who comes to us for little more than a pick. Now the question becomes, with the deadline come and gone, what happens in net? We have three goaltenders...only two can stay. You do the math.

Moving on to the second "holy hell, where did that come from" trade - Sergei Fedorov, acquired from the Blue Jackets in exchange for prospect and 2007 draftee Ted Ruth. This is another one of those potentially low risk, high reward moves for the Caps, and Fedorov brings a few things to the table that could be key.

He provides another veteran Russian presence for our two young Russians, which is going to be key down the stretch. He's also got experience (as we all remember) with winning a Stanley Cup, and he fills Nylander's center spot - something that the Caps have needed since losing Michael for the season. As for downsides, again, low risk, potentially high reward here; if he doesn't work out we have him for about a month and then set him free, and if he does, we might see ourselves doing more in April than we have in many years.

And the final piece in the puzzle, Matt Cooke coming to DC from Vancouver in return for Matt Pettinger. We've talked about Pettinger around here already and it really looked like his days were numbered; he just wasn't getting it done for the Caps anymore and you have to like that he'll get a second chance to prove himself on a team he grew up rooting for. In Cooke the Caps add some grit to the third or fourth line, a similar player to Pettinger but more of an agitator. It's something that has been lacking a bit in the lineup and all in all it looks like another good deal.

Oh, and welcome back to Alexandre Giroux, who returns to the Caps in exchange for Joe Motzko. I think I speak for all of us when I say...woo.

So the dust slowly settles and it looks like we can throw that whole "standing pat" thing out the window for sure. But this was a good day for GMGM and the Caps. Some key moves shoring up some key positions while not giving away the farm, and a definite message that this team is serious about making the playoffs.

A few things of note - the Caps, as I mentioned, did not move Olie or Johnson, so there is a bit of an issue in net and we'll have to see how that plays out. Also, Steve Eminger remains a Cap even after saying he hoped something would happen...and the mystery of Eminger's lost season continues. More on that later. And no solid defensemen were added, although it didn't really look like the pool was that great to begin with so you can't really blame McPhee for that.

Twenty games left (including one tonight, don't forget) and the Caps sit five points out of the playoffs with a couple of fresh faces in for the stretch run. Hard not to get excited, isn't it?


Hockey Amor said...

I'm excited, yet sad for Olie.

CapsChick said...

I guess I just don't know what to think there - is it really the nail in the coffin for Olie or is it the end of Johnny's time as a Cap? I'd be sad either way, but my devotion lies with Olie for sure. I have a feeling the Caps could use Huet as a backup/50% guy for the rest of the year...then either flip him to the starter with Olie as the backup next season or see Olie retire this summer and bring in someone else to back up Huet (if they can sign him of course).

...interesting stuff going on.

elise said...

On behalf of every Minnesotan, thank you for taking Matt Cooke off of our hands. Now we don't have to deal with him 8 times a year.

Shelby said...

I know Huet is a good thing, but I agree with hockey amor. This is depressing me more than its exciting me. The problem is that, if it isn't the proverbial nail in the coffin for Olie (as you said), we lose Johnny who is not only a strong backup but a great guy and a part of the community. I try not to get personally involved, but these boys are like family. I miss Petty already.

On the other hand, YAY FEDEROV!

Biff said...

I remember a game earlier this season where I lucked into passes for the Coaches Club downstairs at VC, and there were several players there. One of them was Matt Pettinger, who was there with his father. I had a long, drunken conversation with Mr. Pettinger, and the only part of it I remember is that Mr. Pettinger is a Canucks fan. So, you know, good for the Pettingers.

Bethany said...

Take care of Feds...please.

Victor said...

First Fedorov jersey was with about 7 minutes to go in the second--section 112, row N, seat 22--the guy there had one delivered. He's gonna be hatin' life if Sergei decides to change his number.

Shelby said...

A jersey already? That's just...sad.

GO CAPS! (Especially go Brooksie!)

usually frustrated caps fan said...

While sad and sentimental for Olie Kolzig, I believe he'll be treated with dignity. Huet could easily be a great pick up. Federov is a no brainer given Nylander's injury. Pettinger, who I liked, gets a chance to revitalize his season/career playing for the team he rooted for growing up - Caps get a solid "nudge in Cooke. and finally Giroux - Motzko the Caps get a younger solid guy for Motzko who might get a chance to play at the NHL level in Atlanta more given their other dealings. Good luck to both as well as Matt Pettinger. LETS GO CAPS!!!