I'd be shocked if he's on an NHL roster next season. He has never played a game at the highest level of Swedish hockey or a game in the North American minors. MarJo was already in the Elite League and then he stopped off at Hershey for half a season. At this stage of their development, MarJo was the better prospect (he also seems to have finally claimed his spot on the top line with Ovie and Backstrom).
He chose to stay in the SEL 2 to play with his hometown team and they completely outclassed every team in their league. They're moving up to the SEL next season. Nashville has even said they are trying to get him over THIS season. I would take him over MaJo every day of the week. And he is a much higher rated prospect at age 18 than MaJo was at 18.
Ovie is in the late stages of his prime. Backs is in the middle of his. You have your core players' contracts all seemingly expiring in 2015. If you don't go all in now, for this three year window, there is never a time to do so. And they aren't signing Erat as a rental, this is essentially a free agent deal for 2.5 years. He will be here for the entire window.
This is where I'm ok with the deal. The time to win has been now for quite a few years.
As for hoarding prospects... hasn't that kind of paid off? He rebuilt the defense almost entirely from the farm. Since the 2010 flameout, he's added Alzner and Carlson to the top four, both from the prospect pool. He's also added Orlov and Kundratek as potential future stars and minor league free agents Hillen and Olseky.
Has it? You have Alzner and Carlson as staples on the defense. MaJo is being forced into first and second line duties because the Caps don't really have any other better options. It's like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. Perreault is awesome, but he is nothing more than a 3rd liner.
You have Ovechkin/Backstrom, but it didn't take rocket science to draft those guys. You then have MaJo, Fehr, and Perreault. Fehr has been a bust for the most part considering he was a first round pick. MaJo is still young, but I just don't see him becoming a staple on the first 2 lines. Color me unimpressed.
We can look at the rest of the offense...who on offense is worthy of the first and second lines? He has surrounded Ovie and Backstrom with weak wingers.
Brouwer would be a second line winger at best on most teams.
Ribeiro is a stud and is a fantastic second line center.
Laich? Eh, overrated. Second line player at best. Fills roll at third line center the best, but since we have an abundance of third liners, he is placed on the second line.
Now he has added Erat. A replacement for the Semin departure. Guess who McPhee tried to replace Semin with over the offseason? That's right. Wojtek Wolski. 4 goals and 4 assists. Woo. McPhee has done a great job of bringing on a plethora of 3rd and 4th liners though. I will give him credit for that.
So, we have two awesome centers in Backstrom and Ribeiro with no one really dynamic to pass to except for Ovechkin. Semin on this team with Ribeiro would've been perfect. We have no true winger to go opposite of Ovechkin on the first line.
As for defense, beyond Carlson, Alzner, and Green there isn't much left. You have a bunch of 6/7 dmen. Orlov might be a star one day. Kundratek was acquired via trade and has been a pleasant surprise, but I don't expect him to ever be a top pairing dman. The team's veteran leader on defense is a 6th dman, Erskine.
I don't think he's fearful for his job at all, but what he has done is build a team for this three-year window. From that 2010 team, only 8 players who appeared in 40 games are still on the roster (Chimera appeared in 39, so ok, nine). He has flipped the roster, adding a lot of youth on the blueline and rebuilt the forward lines. 5 of their top 9 forwards are 27 or under. 5 of their 6 blueliners are as well (and that's counting Erskine as a top 6 guy). And both goalies. The team is in their prime, and it's time to go for it.
Ted Leonsis said this team had a 5 year window after they drafted Ovechkin. Here we are in 2013 and we're still under a plan? This isn't event he most talented Caps squad in the past 5 years. We have 3 top 4 pairing defensemen in Green, Carlson, and Alzner, and then a bunch of 6th-7th dmen to pair them with. Orlov and Kundratek are still a year or two away from really being staples in the lineup. Orlov can't even seem to get back in the lineup now that he is healthy. McPhee had the chance to bring in a Pronger, but he never pulled the trigger. He could've traded Carlson for him, but he pulled back.
do think he overpaid, but the biggest hole forever was a 2C. He got Ribs. This year, everyone has said it's a top 6 forward. Voila. He has arrived. Which also allows Laich to play on the third line with Perrault and Ward. If this team can re-sign Ribs, there will be a two year window with the entire core under contract.
Yes, he finally got a second line center. McPhee gets his second line center and what does he do? He let's his second line sniper walk. For nothing. And here we are trading Forsberg for a Semin replacement. McPhee wanted finesse with this team. They get bounced by Montreal and he decided the team needed more grit. This team went more grit and then didn't have the guns to outscore teams in a series and had to rely on Hunter Hockey. This team hasn't had a true direction in the past 2 seasons. Oates seems to be turning it around, but it's a work in progress. Oh, and we've had a goalie carousel ever since 2008 in the playoffs. Huet, Theodore, Varlamov, Neuvirth, and Holtby. We're just now getting stability at that position.
This post was edited on 4/3 at 9:40 pm