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The Capitals will have to spend more to get past the $34.3 million salary-cap floor by the start of the season. Interesting veteran forwards such as Anson Carter, Mike Johnson, Ville Nieminen, Jeff O'Neill, Jan Bulis or Jason Allison could all give depth to the Caps' top-12 forward group.

The best option would be Mike Johnson, who's a good 2-way player who can score and play on a 3rd line. Johnson played on Montreal's 1st penalty kill unit with Radek Bonk for most of last year. He managed to get 31 pts with a +6 ratio. Johnson, a right winger, had scored 54 points with Phoenix the previous year, so a 40-point season would be possible in Washington. A right-winger, Johnson could round up Washington's third line with Boyd Gordon and Matt Pettinger. He earned $1.9 M last year, so he should ask around $1.5 M-$2.0 M a year.

Anson Carter, who also plays right wing, scored only 11 goals last year with 28 pts in during a difficult year with Columbus and Carolina. But Carter can score goals, like he did in 2005 with the Canucks, scoring 33 goals and 55 pts, playing on a line with the Sedins. He earned $2.5 M last year, so he should also ask around $1.5 M-$2.0 M a year.

Jan Bulis, who played for the Capitals from 1997 to 2000, recorded 23 points for the Canucks last year while seeing limited ice time. He recorded 40 points twice, which is his career best. Bulis, who can play center and left wing, is a smooth skater and responsible defensively. He earned $1.3 M last year, so he should ask around $1.0 M-$1.5 M a year.

Jeff O'Neill, who can play center and right wing, had a good season last year with the Leafs, recording 20 goals and 42 pts despite an up and down season. O'Neill showed inconsistency throughout his career which often drove his coaches mad. His great shot and face-offs skills are his bets assets. He earned $1.5 M last year, so he should ask around $1.5 M-$1.8 M a year.

Ville Nieminen is a very different style of player. The Finnish is more of a bruiser and grinder than a talented player. He played only 44 games last year with St-Louis and San Jose due to a few injuries. He's sound defensively and very patient with the puck. The left winger earned $700,000 last year, so he should ask around $500,000-$750,000 a year. He's more of a bargain than the above players.

Finally, Jason Allison could also be a good option at forward despite a one-year hiatus away from the NHL last year. Allison, a right-handed center, recorded 66 points in 2005-06 with Toronto. A slow skater with a great hockey sense, Allison has almost been a 1 point per game player during his career. Allison was a first round choice of the Capitals back in 1993.

Who would be your choice?
Filed Under:   johnson   carter   bulis   allison   o'neill   nieminen   capitals  
August 31, 2007 12:26 AM ET | Delete
a great blog anson carter and johnston and peter bondra would be another good one slasher good job
August 31, 2007 12:35 AM ET | Delete
good blog slasher. I vote for Villie. Got to see him in Colorado for a number of years and he brings an unmatched energy to 3rd and 4th lines. That can turn a game. Go for the grinder!!
August 31, 2007 7:10 AM ET | Delete
I find it odd that a team with arguably the 2nd best player in hockey isn't spending to anywhere near the cap ceiling to build around him. I look at what the Pens are doing around Sid and it seems like a disservice to Ovie to not give him some more star running mates. If they need to get to the cap floor, please take Hatcher and Gauthier off our hands just like you did with Brashear! =)
August 31, 2007 10:06 AM ET | Delete
Instead of signing a UFA trade Alex Ovechkin for Patrick Thoreson and Matt Greene and Fernando Pisani from the Edmonton Oilers. That would bring them up to league min.
August 31, 2007 10:21 AM ET | Delete
Bondra, so he can retire in Washington like he wants to
August 31, 2007 10:30 AM ET | Delete
Make a trade for Pavel Kubina instead.
August 31, 2007 10:40 AM ET | Delete
Caps are at 33.5M with 18 players on their team. With a full roster they are over the minimum. They can pull people up from the minors; what a waste of Ovechkin thou.
August 31, 2007 1:19 PM ET | Delete
Poor Ovechkin...he will have to do it with only Nylander's help - though that is more than last year.
August 31, 2007 7:27 PM ET | Delete
Sorry to discredit your effort here, but the Caps will start the seson with a Cap hit of at least 38 million. If you are using the NHLPA site as a reference, you aren't counting Backstrom's 2.4 million cap-hit, or the contracts given to Brook Laich or Milan Jurcina and other possibile youngsters.The fact is the Caps have been over the league mininum for about 2 months now, yet the "who will they sign to get over the cap mininum" idea comes up all the time. They are well over the Cap Mininum, I don't know if you are leaving out the 4-5 million in bonus money that goes into the calculations, Backstrom, or recent signings (by that, I mean a month ago) but they are undeniably, 100%, over the floor and have been for ages now.
August 31, 2007 9:08 PM ET | Delete
I received a confirmation from Ted Leonsis himself today, that agrees with your comment Front Office, the Caps will not sign any UFA this off-season. However, they might make a trade or two.
September 2, 2007 12:56 AM ET | Delete
Sign Ville. Your going to need a defensive forward with all that offense fire power.
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