Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Make that TWO moves we did NOT see coming

The Caps traded a second round pick in 2009 for Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cristobel Huet today. Even though it's technically a rental, you can bet George McPhee made this trade to evaluate how Huet would fit with this young team long-term. Huet has a solid 21-12-6 record with a 2.56 GAA this season.

Huet could be the bridge the team is looking for between veteran (soon to be UFA) goaltender Olie Kolzig and the prospects currently too green for regular NHL service (Varlamov and Neuverth). Of course, all that depends on how he performs in spot duty this year and whether the team secures his rights this offseason.

It also shows that while the Caps have said all the right things about him, they don't have the confidence in Brent Johnson to hand over the reigns to him without another capable puckstopper waiting in the wings.

It's surprising that the Caps could secure Huet as a rental for such a low asking price. A proven NHL starter is only worth a second round pick? This is where the Caps hoarding of picks comes in handy. If they lose one second rounder if Huet walks, they have plenty more picks (which other teams don't, making the pick much more difficult to part with). Good organizational planning.

The Habs had to make the move for the opposite reason : poor organizational planning. They are up against the Cap and probably wouldn't have been able to sign Huet this offseason, so they had to unload him even though they probably would have liked to have kept him in case Price flops like the rookie he is this postseason.

According to Tarik, the Caps have just acquired Sergei Fedorov for draft pick Theo Ruth.

This certainly addresses their need for a second line center. Even Fedorov in the twilight of his career is an upgrade from Kozlov at center.

All the comments above on renting Huet apply to Fedorov, except the salary cap issues for the other team. It's safe to say Columbus will be well below the cap next year.


Roger Padre said...

These are two decent type rental acquisitions in an attempt to make the playoffs. Make that 3 acquisitions. The bottom line is that the Caps have to overtake Carolina and win the Division to make the playoffs and that is a remote shot at this stage. At least the cost was low.

The Huet deal is interesting as a possible bridge until the younger goalies are ready to play, if they feel that he is worth signing.

3 Grumpy Caps fans said...

The Caps are actually closer to Philly in the 8th spot than they are to Carolina right now. I'll take the playoffs either way. And with most of the Southeast teams selling at the deadline and a string of games against the weakened teams, don't count that 8 seed out just yet.