Capitals Offseason Thread

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Lanky Livingston

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In a move that surprised nobody, the Caps have re-signed Nicklas Backstrom to a long-term extension, keeping him and the dynamic Alex Ovechkin together in DC for the foreseeable future. Backstrom's deal is for 10 years, worth $6.7M per.

The Caps also signed their 2009 first-round pick and (hopefully) future 2nd-line center Marcus Johansson.

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Lanky Livingston

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PuckDaddy: Capitals lock up Backstrom with 10-year, $67 million deal

By Sean Leahy

When the Washington Capitals' media relations department sent out a press release yesterday announcing a "significant player-related announcement on Monday", it could have only meant one thing. No, not that Alex Semin has been found, but that Nicklas Backstrom(notes) was set to sign a new contract.

This morning, the Capitals announced a 10-year, $67 million deal for the 22-year old centerman, with his deal expiring one year before Alex Ovechkin's.(notes)

The Washington Post's Tarik el-Bashir reports the breakdown is $6 million for the first four years, then $6.5 million for the next two, $7 million for one, $7.5 for years eight and nine, and then the final year will see the deal escalate to $8 million.

It was also announced that 2009 first-round draft pick Marcus Johansson signed an entry-level deal as well.

Backstrom was set to become a restricted free agent this summer and is cashing in off a career season that saw him finish fourth overall in the NHL in points (101), third in assists (68) and fourth in plus-minus (+37). Since his rookie campaign in 2007-08, Backstrom has seen increases in every one of his offensive categories and has yet to miss a game, regular season or playoffs, in his NHL career.

Giving Backstrom $6.7 million a season puts the Capitals at around $43 million for next season according to CapGeek.com, with nine other restricted and 11 unrestricted free agents for GM George McPhee to deal with this off season. Earlier this month, Commissioner Gary Bettman said at a press conference in Chicago that the 2010-11 salary cap wasn't expected to differ much from the $56.8 million limit for this season.

Washington had about $20 million in cap space heading into the off season and McPhee started his spending on a good note. Keeping the 101-point pivot alongside Ovechkin for the next 10 years will ensure a high level of productivity from the Capitals' top line.

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Hog Fever

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Locking Backstrom up long term is a solid move.

I’m still in a bit of a haze from the playoff loss. Some have decided to blame everything on Ovie but that’s a horrible oversimplification IMO. He didn’t play out of his mind but his numbers weren’t bad either. Five goals and five assists in seven games is not too shabby. the difference in the series to me was how bad we were on the power play, something that we had working all season long.

I narrow it down to three things we need for next season: We have to decide what we’re going to do in goal and stick with it. We need a little more toughness night in and night out. Finally we need more consistency from our defense.

The good part about our situation is we have answers all over the place already in the organization. The minors are chock full of young hungry guys who are ready to play now. We have depth virtually everywhere. I’m glad they are taking a cautious approach here and not saying they want to blow everything up. The team played poorly in the playoffs but if they can use this as a learning experience and build on this they can still come out of this stronger.

I’m already looking forward to next season.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Tell me about it. Still stings, especially seeing the Flyers in the ECF...what a joke of a team they are. But at least the Penguins lost to the Canadiens also, that helps a little.

Blaming Ovechkin is downright ridiculous. He takes the blame because he's the team leader and superstar, however he had 10 points in that series. Alex Semin, Tomas Fleischmann and Mike Green, three major regular season players, all but disappeared for the playoffs. Players like Carlson and Fehr stepped up, but it was just not enough. Not to mention that Ovie had the game-tying goal in the third period that was wrongly waved off...even if it was the correct call (it wasn't), Ovie still found the back of the net.

I think they will bid adieu to Theodore, and call up Neuvirth. Our starting and backup goalies will then be Varlamov and Neuvirth. To address defense, I think they will sign Volchenkov from Ottowa, who is a shot-blocking machine, and a stay-at-home defenseman. He doesn't produce much offense, but with the Caps, offense is not what is missing.
 

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Also, just read that when Backstrom's new deal is complete, he'll be the same age that Jarome Iginla and Danny Briere are now.
 

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I think they will bid adieu to Theodore, and call up Neuvirth. Our starting and backup goalies will then be Varlamov and Neuvirth. To address defense, I think they will sign Volchenkov from Ottowa, who is a shot-blocking machine, and a stay-at-home defenseman. He doesn't produce much offense, but with the Caps, offense is not what is missing.

That sounds like a plan to me.
 

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