Can we agree the Capitals should not look for anything other than a hard-edged defenseman who can log big minutes alongside Mike Green?

TSN reported a few days ago that the Vancouver Cauncks are interested in Erat. The Canucks’ top four defensemen have no-move clauses, but if there is any way the Caps can pry left-handed Dan Hamhuis away, it would fill a gaping hole.

Including this season Hamhuis has three years remaining on his contract with a $4.5 million cap hit, one more than Erat, who is also at $4.5 million. Would the Canucks take Erat, Dmitry Orlov and Michal Neuvirth for Hamhuis? If not, here is a list of defensemen who may be available, a few of whom fit the above description: the Panthers’ Dmitri Kulikov, the  Rangers’ Michael Del Zotto, the Flyers’ Anrej Meszaros and Luke Schenn, the Blue Jackets’ Niikita Nikitin, the Kings’ Alex Martinez, the Canadiens’ Francois Bouillon and the Maple Leafs’ Paul Ranger. The Caps would prefer a left-handed shooter, so that limits the field to Kulikov, Del Zotto, Meszaros, Nikitin, Martinez, Bouillon and Ranger. At 23, Kulikov is the best of the bunch and has tremendous upside. He would require a lot more than Erat in a deal.

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