Mike may have to forgive me for piggybacking off of his idea from yesterday, but we've said it on this site before that New Jersey Devils General Manager Ray Shero will probably be looking to make another Kyle Palmieri-esque type of trade this summer. I like the idea of kicking the tires on Mike Hoffman, and I'm sure if the Ottawa Senators are looking to deal him, Shero will be on the phone. As I've written about previously, there are a number of teams who will be looking for salary cap relief in one form or another over the next couple of seasons, and I think one of the ones Shero should pounce on is the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals are currently on their way to being dubbed the "2016 Regular Season Champions" and may need to move a player from their roster for a few reasons. The first would be just to shake up the group they have a bit; Washington was the best team in the NHL during the regular season, and I'd have to imagine that a second round elimination would be a huge disappointment. They might look to exchange some personnel that underachieved in the postseason in hopes of not repeating the same fate next year.
Another reason that aligns more with the previous argument is Washington's cap space; going in to the 2016-17 season according to General Fanager, the Capitals have already committed over $58 million in salary. They also have 4 restricted free agents needing to be signed: Marcus Johansson, Tom Wilson, Michael Latta and Dmitry Orlov. Now they may not all receive significant raises, but I can guarantee they will not make less than they already do, which would add another $8 million+ to Washington's cap without even getting into their unrestricted free agents.
Compounding the Caps' cap is the matter of the 2017-18 season; they will have a number of other players needing a new contract, including TJ Oshie, Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Karl Alzner. With a number of their bigger names coming up for raises over the next two seasons and uncertainty in terms of how high the cap will climb, the Capitals may have to trade a player to ensure they maintain their core and their window of competitiveness.
If I were Ray Shero, I would be on the phone with Washington asking about a couple of their younger players; their depth on the right side isn't impressive, but they do have some depth on the left side, and while organizationally it isn't a true weakness for us, talent is talent and New Jersey needs some more talented forwards. There are two names I think could be available to New Jersey and they are the aforementioned Johansson and Burakovsky. Both player fit into the current acquisition age window (they're 25 and 21 respectively) and both could wind up costing a good amount to Washington on their next contracts.
Both Johansson and Burakovsky play more of a top-6 style of hockey, and Washington will not need both there due to having Alex Ovechkin as their top line left wing; the question seemingly boils down to which one of the two do they sign first. MoJo is due for a new contract this summer while Andre isn't until next; if the Caps decide to keep MoJo does Burakovsky become expendable due to a Palmieri situation arising after the 2016-17 season when he's due a raise? If they decide Burakovsky is the future, does that make Johansson's RFA rights a traceable asset?
One problem that may need to be discussed is the price that would need to be paid for these players; if Washington elects to trade Johansson, they may be looking for a team with a late first round draft pick. I wouldn't trade the 11th overall for Marcus, and I'm not sure that the 2nd and 3rd we paid for Palms gets it done. I could see the "Palmieri Price" being enough for Burakovsky, but is Washington willing to part with the younger asset who may still have some untapped potential?
We can't know exactly what's going on in Washington, however the possibility exists that two forwards who can put the puck into the net with some regularity might be available; they may not be as desirable as Hoffman as Mike discussed yesterday, but I feel that pilfering from Washington might be a more realistic situation, especially now as there is a new GM in Ottawa.
Now I'd like to hear from you, our readers, on this subject; do you think the Devils should try to swing a trade with Washington? Does the "Palmieri Price" get it done for either of these players? Is there a player or team you would rather try to target due to their cap situation? Leave any and all comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!