While the Caps always maintained that they would wait and learn about the new CBA for a couple of years, it appears that the time has come for Ted Leonsis to open the wallet. And while he is still on board with "the plan" Leonsis and Caps' fans say that they have vacancies for a top-notch center and defenseman and another veteran forward. And with the Caps some $13 million below the salary cap last year and the cap rising around another $4 - $5 million, Uncle Ted and GM George McPhee have roughly $17 - $18 million to play with, more than enough to land some top free agents.
So why aren't the Capitals included in any of these trade rumors?
Isn't it enough to tell a free agent that they will be riding shotgun along side of the Caps' superstar Alex Ovechkin? After all, Nicklas Backstrom may very well be centering Alexander Semin next year.
Isn't enough to tell a free agent that the Caps' time is now, that they will possibly have two of the most talent lines in the NHL next year?
The answer is overwhelming no.
And with all of the other 29 teams in the NHL reaping the rewards of a rising Candian dollar and quick financial fixes, like shaving travel time off of the NHL schedule (much to the dismay of hockey fans), any financially responsible, yet willing spending, team is a contender for atleast one big time free agent.
So, again, how can Washington compete?
Hockey hotbeds like Detroit, Edmonton, and Toronto have tradition going for them. New York and Los Angeles offer the spotlight that every starry-eyed athlete craves.
Washington last made the playoffs in 02-03 and were ousted in the first round by the Lightning. Put that on your marketing DVD George.
So here's my question that I ask of Ted, George, and all of my fellow Washington fans... why not wait one more year and see what the cap does?
I mean, seriously, will NHL revenues climb like they did this past year? Will the Canadian dollar continue to rise? Will there be another quick fix ala the schedule cost cuts of 06-07? Will the new $300 (or however ridiculously expensive I've read they will be) NHL jersies really sell?
I wouldn't count on it. And when teams max out their cap, like the Ottawa Senators have said they will do, what will happen when revenues when don't go up that much or decrease?
You see folks, the NHL has to see increases in revenue each year or else the players will owe the owners a rebate. And when they aren't willing to give that rebate, turnover figures are sure to hit an all-time high.
And that is when teams like the Washington Capitals should land their big names. It's not as if they have a young, talented goalie that is going to lead them to the Cup in the next few years anyways...