The Verdict

Is finally in. Brooks Laich will be paid $725,000 for his services during the 2007-08 season. No definitive word yet on the one-way/two-way angle, but I’ll post that news as soon as I learn it.

Confirmed: It is a one-way deal.

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10 Comments on “The Verdict”

  1. strungout Says:

    Happy with the price…

    Not happy with the one way deal…

    Bah.

    The logjam continues. Make a trade Mafki.

  2. dumpnchase Says:

    Strung,
    After seeing the team’s lack of depth exposed last season, I’m happy with the degree of competition and the number of useful NHL bodies the Caps will have in camp this fall. One-way, two-way, it’s not that big of a deal. He would require waivers to go back to Hershey regardless of his contract.

  3. Jay Says:

    Could you explain your take on how the number of useful bodies the Caps have now does anything to offset the lack of depth exposed last year? I tend to disagree. For comparison, Kozlov takes the Zednik spot, Nylander takes the Zubrus spot. Certainly Backstrom is an upgrade over the second line center (whether you feel that was Beech or whomever) but his addition doesn’t add to the depth since Beech is gone. IMO the team doesn’t have more depth than last year, unless you consider the maturing of Fehr, Flash and maybe Klepis as materially affecting the depth (which I personally don’t). Yes, the Caps have upgraded their lineup, but I don’t see how they’ve created depth at the NHL level that is better than last year. They still have a load of 3rd and 4th line guys and that’s where the competition is, however they had that last year and I don’t think that’s where the lack of depth exposed the Caps last year. Just my opinion though.

  4. dumpnchase Says:

    Jay,
    Start with the forwards: Ovechkin, Nylander, Kozlov, Semin, Backstrom, Clark, Pettinger, B. Gordon, Bradley, Brashear, Sutherby, Laich, Clymer, Steckel, Fehr, Klepis, Fleischmann and some might include the likes of Motzko and Morgan who are more likely ticketed to Hershey but could play a few games up here if needed. So yeah, I guess I am including to some extent the development of the guys you mentioned. They have more NHL experience and more pro experience than they had at this time last year. I think the quality of Washington’s group of forwards is much better than it was at each of the last two training camps, and I think the depth is better from say 13-18. You’ve also got guys like Bouchard and Bourque who could make a run at a roster spot and a guy like Osala, who by most accounts is ready to turn pro in 2007-08. There are also newly minted pros such as Joudrey and Gordon who may be able to fill in at the NHL level if needed this season.

    On defense: Poti, Pothier, Morrisonn, Jurcina, Eminger, Green, Schultz, Boumedienne, Erskine, Pollock, Collins, Lepisto, Hunt, Dovgan, McNeill. That’s more than enough to stock both Washington and Hershey, and nine of them have some NHL experience (10 if you include Hunt and his one game). Last year at this time, Ben Clymer was a top four defenseman on this team. Jamie Heward was the most experienced defenseman in the organization, from a standpoint of games played.

    You’re right that most of the competition will come on the third and fourth lines, but that’s how it is with every NHL team. Those are the depth spots in the organization. You don’t often see guys get called up from the minors and plugged right into a first- or second-line slot. (And sometimes that disturbs me.) Usually, it’s a domino thing where a top six forward gets hurt and he’s replaced on his line by a bottom six guy and on the roster by a guy from the minors.

    Additions and subtractions have been made since Apr. 7, and more could be in the offing. But to me, this team on paper is a lot better and deeper than the ones we’ve been looking at the last two Septembers. Are they good enough and deep enough to get into the playoffs? I’m not ready to make that proclamation yet.

  5. Jay Says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe without doubt this club right now is a lot better on paper than the last two Septembers. No question in the world. I will also agree with your assessment of the defense and grant you the depth is better with guys like Jurcina, Poti and Boumer as new since last September (and only Heward now gone and Clymer reassigned to forward, if you will).

    But I still believe the depth up front is lacking as the same situation would exist if a top six forward goes down. The same guys, basically, are around to pick up the slack. Yes indeed, Flash, Fehr and Klepis have more NHL experience than they did at this time last year, but I don’t personally think any of the three really progressed in the NHL games they got. Pettinger can take shifts on a top line, but he was here last year too and in the same position so that’s not an improvement. The other guys you mention (B. Gordon, Bradley, Brashear, Sutherby, Laich, Clymer, Steckel) will never be guys that are capable of taking regular shifts on the top two lines. And again, all were around last year so I don’t see the upgrade. If a guy like Bouchard or Bourque could step up that would be great, but I just can’t look at the organization and say that the depth in the forward ranks is any better. The quality of the top 6 is most definitely better, the amount of young players with potential to develop into good players is better than a year ago, but IMO if the injuries that occurred last season crop up again in the forward ranks, I just don’t see the talent to make a marked improvement. Provide a relatively injury free year in the forward ranks, pray Olie doesn’t go down and cross your fingers that more of the play is in the opponents end of the rink this year and its a team that is going to be in the playoff hunt, if not in the playoffs. Otherwise, I’d be concerned.

  6. dumpnchase Says:

    Jay,
    Yes the players you mentioned got more NHL experience last year, and is debatable as to whether (or how much) they progressed in those NHL games. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t progress. Flash and Klepis were among Hershey’s best forwards in the playoffs and during the season, and were probably their best two forwards in the finals. Both just turned 23. I’m not ready to proclaim them as failures yet, though I know I’m in the minority on that.

    The quality of the top 6 is better, as you say, and guys like Beech and Fata and maybe a few others are out. That plus the improvement/development of those below the top 6 should make for better depth, IMO. I’m with you in thinking that health, puck possession and playing at the other end of the ice are keys for this season. I’d also say that the improved depth (up front and on D) puts the team in a better position to make a deal if a long-term injury strikes a key player and leaves a big hole.

  7. Mike Livingston Says:

    I’m actually glad it was a one-way deal for Brooks. He’s a hard worker and a good guy. Glad he’ll be back to be sure. I figure he’s a 4th line guy, but there are many teams dressing worse players on their 4th lines, to be sure. Last year at the end, he had to be a 2nd line guy, and that may have helped him with Mr. Arbitrator. I bet he goes out and plays 70+ games and scores 10 goals (and chips in a positive +/- )

  8. Shaggy Says:

    Mike:
    Nice call on the Laich/Jim Slater comparable: Slater signed for a $1.55-million, two-year contract yesterday.
    It’s nice to have someone applying logic and sound reasoning in their argument, but you’re taking all the fun out of our irrational arguments to dump Laich and sign Forsberg. šŸ˜‰

  9. dumpnchase Says:

    Mike,
    I like him too, and I don’t see your projection being out of line.

    Shaggy,
    Thanks. Eerie how similar their stats have been through two seasons. Good deal for Brooks, how got a nice raise and a one-way deal. And good deal for the Caps, who get him under contract for $25,000 less than the Thrash will pay Slater this year. Had Slater gone to arbitration himself as scheduled next week, Laich almost certainly would have been a comparable in that case.


  10. […] might remember that Laich took the team to arbitration last year, and won. Its amusing to think how concerned were many of us fans, at that time, that Laich’s last […]


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