Are the Caps too far behind to catch up…..again?

The Washington Capitals have a problem. In fact, they seem to have had this problem since their improbable (shall we say fluke?) run to the Cup finals in 1998. They can’t play hockey until after Christmas, and that is why they won’t be dancing in the post-season again unless major changes are made. Starting with overpaid whiner Jaromir Jagr.When owner Ted Leonsis decided to open up the wallet and sign Jagr to an outlandish seven year deal worth $77 million, he sent shockwaves throughout the NHL. Leonsis acquired Jagr for barely anything I’ll grant you. But, was it worth it for an oft-injured prima donna who actually thinks the Caps are close to another Cup run? Not in my opinion, but my opinion doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

The only way La Capital have a chance at Lord Stanley’s precious mug is if they improve an underachieving roster. The best way to do it is to deal Jagr, and his league-leading salary, to any team not as dumb as the Pens were when they dealt him along with Frantisek Kucera for unknows then and now Kris Beech, Michal Sivek, and Ross Lupaschuk. The Caps could get more out of a deal for Jags then the team receiving him, thereby improving their team vastly in the process.

Of course, not too many teams could viably acquire Jagr and his laughable contract. Only a handful of clubs could, theoretically, afford Jagr. The teams that come to my mind would be Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, the Rangers, Philadelphia, maybe St. louis, and of course, Toronto. Just think; could any of those teams use Jagr? And what could the Caps get for him? Would it help Washington this year, as well as down the road? Let’s take a look.

Could any of the aforementioned teams use Jagr?

Colorado — Record: 9-8-8-3, 10th in the West.

The Avs seem to have really struggled out of the gate the past two or three years. This year though, the stuggles have lasted into mid-December. They probably could have the cash available to obtain Jagr, but it’s more likely Colorado will go after Patrik Elias, a cheaper yet efficient scorer who has struggled at times this year.

Dallas — Record: 16-7-6-1, T-1st in the West

Similar to the Avs, the Stars theoretically could have the money, but why mess with success? The Stars have exploded out of the gate, winning 10 of 14 games at home and are currently tied with Minnesota (WOW!) atop the Western Conference. There is no need for a shake-up in Big D, so don’t look at Dallas as a potential suitor for a Jagr-type player any time soon.

Detroit — Record: 16-8-4-1, 3rd in the West

After a so-so start, the Red Wings are back to form and looking like the bunch that won the West, and the Cup, last year. Though the thought of Jagr and Fedorov together would be appealing the Wings would probably pass on the chance. Washington should be looking towards more youthful superstars anyway, and shopping at “The Old Folks Home” probably isn’t the way to go.

Los Angeles — Record: 12-9-4-3, T-8th in the West

The Kings seem like they are always mentioned when a superstar is rumoured to be on the block. Although playing decent hockey at three games above .500, we all know that playing decent in the West doesn’t count for much. The Caps would almost certainly demand that Alexander Frolov or Mike Cammalleri be part of any swap, plus an established pivot like Adam Deadmarsh and/or Ziggy Palffy. Would the Kings part with so much for Jagr? Interesting question.

New York Rangers — Record: 12-15-4-1, 9th in the East

If Jagr was to be made available, of course the first team most people would think of is the Rangers. It would just make sense that a team with Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, and Bobby Holik should have Jagr, right? The big question is: Do the Rangers have enough quality depth to make such a big deal? Probably not, but the rumours flying out of D.C. and New York would at least be entertaining.

Philadelphia — Record: 14-7-6-1, 5th in the East

Flyers GM Bobby Clarke hasn’t made a splash since summer’s deal involving Brian Boucher. So he’s due, right? The Flyers could possibly have the depth needed to make the deal, and trade winds have been swirling as of late due to the fact they have only scored 25 goals in their last 18 games. reports “The Philadelphia Inquirer hinted Dec. 9 that another deal is coming and it could be a major one to rejuvenate team chemistry.” Is Jagr a major enough deal, and is it a good fit for the Caps? Stay tuned on this one.

St. Louis — Record: 15-8-4-2, 5th in the West.

The Blues have been better in 2002-03 at being consistent. Would Jagr mesh well with that consistency? The Blues could afford Jagr, but it’s unlikely the owners would loosen the strings on GM Larry Pleau enough so he could make a barnburner like this. Makes for interesting days at the rumour mill though.

Toronto — Record: 14-13-2-0, T-7th in the East

Last but not least is the hockey hotbed known as Toronto. The Leafs have struggled mightly at staying above .500. Lucky for them, though, they play in the East. Toronto has depth, but do they have enough immediate help to acquire Jagr? Of course, the usual suspects would be mentioned, a la Tomas Kaberle, Nik Antropov (these two haven’t been dealt yet?), and maybe Shayne Corson. Wahington needs players that can contribute offensively now, and while Antropov may one day be a threat, and Kaberle is a good player, the Leafs aren’t really in a position to land Jagr.

The Washington Capitals have been the posterboys of underachieving hockey for the last four years now. Can it be changed? I think the more important question is, will it be changed, and will Leonsis approve of dumping his investment only a year removed from making it? Interesting thoughts leading up to the roster freeze on Decemebr 19, eh?

17 Responses to Are the Caps too far behind to catch up…..again?

  1. mikster says:

    Interesting article.

    Colorado: Most likely would not want to pay Blake, Roy, Sakic, Forsber, plus Jagr big time salaries. Also, i don’t see Jagr as Colorado’s type of player. Elias iwll not go to Colorado either. I can see Miro Satan fit in with Colorado.

    Dallas: They could afford him but they are doing too well to even think about acquiring him.

    Detroit: They have to worry about re-signing Sergei Fedorov. Also, they would be more interested in Alexei Kovalev than Jagr.

    Los Angeles: They might go for it, but only if they face long-term significant injuries. Right now they are doing well enough.

    NYR: They would be more interested in a player like Bondra to replace Bure’s injury. Unless Bure’s career is done, Jagr is not coming.

    Philadelphia: Only if Clarke wants to lose his job and get a make Hitch get a head ache with a coach killer in Jagr. They are still supposed to get rid of one of their coach killers.

    St. Louis: Sort of like the Kings. Only if long-term significant injuries occur, they might make a few calls. However, they are not in need of Jagr.

    Toronto: Might really make a pitch for Jagr, but ownership has to pull out the wallets. Jagr with Sundin could be a dyamic duo. To be seen? Unlikely.

  2. stevemcconnell2003 says:

    I can’t see him in Colorado either. It would be tough for any team to attempt a deal to land this guy, and me personally, think that any team foolish to spend the money, plus dole out the players, would be an unimaginable mistake to acquire him. I think that the most intriguing scenario would be a trade to the Leafs, but I couldn’t picture Quinn trying to tame Jagr’s coach killing antics. Same with Hitchcock in Phily. Interesting thing to talk about though.

  3. mikster says:

    Well, i think a lot of teams and GM’ers saw a lot of what happened ever since Jagr arrived in Washington. Coach got fired, no playoffs, and he needs Czech buddies.

    He is ruining his rep.

  4. tsaler says:

    Not to ignore any of the other possibly valid comments in this post, I just thought I’d focus on one topic: Jagr on the Flyers.

    I don’t think most people understand how much the city of Philadelphia and its hockey fans despise Jaromir Jagr. The guy’s left skate touches the ice and the crowd erupts into booing. It’s fantastic, because they have every reason to dislike Jagr. He plays like he’s scared. All he does is play off of everyone else. That’s why he was good in Pittsburgh with Lang centering him. Lang did all the hard work and the rough stuff to pass the puck to Jagr who was sitting over filing his nails on the blue line. All Jagr’s centers have always been made to do that, and I guess Lang isn’t going to do it for Jagr anymore on Washington, and as such Jagr (and therefore the whole team) is suffering.

    On a positive note though, Michael Nylander has been a GREAT acquisition for the Caps. He’s produced far more than Nikolishin or Simon would have combined on that team. Great deal for Washington.


  5. stevemcconnell2003 says:

    Oh I agree 100% that Jagr is nothing short of a pussy. But, I was just talking about the validity of him maybe being on the move. So I didn’t want to put too much of my personal opinion of him in the article.

  6. aafiv says:

    Jaromir Jagr has skill, there’s no doubt about it but he’ll never be a Flyer. Not with his whiny ways. He’s not Clarke’s kind of player so this won’t happen.

  7. Stocker says:

    I think jagr is one of the biggest babies…he cant take a hit. Now with this rumor i could see him going to a western coference team i dont see him anywhere in the east. And for the philly rumor hey im a bruins fan and i know the flyer fans hate jagr

  8. Johnny_Canuck says:

    what a crazy era of hockey!!! and elite player like Jagr up for grabs, I’m I wrong or would tonnes of teams want to take a high-caliber player like him in a heartbeat were it a different era of hockey? I mean obviously, this has alot to do with the huge salary a guy like him makes and the influence that comes with it… thus we have the ridiculously expensive coach-killer. What kind of team would be nuts enough to go for him? It would be exciting, though to see him regain his status as an elite player and even rival Lemiux for the scoring lead… it’d be interesting to see him in Toronto, but what do they do with mogilnby, put him on the second line? Interesting topic anyways…

  9. jammer21 says:

    hey, i thought the caps were supposd to dominate b/c jagr’s butt buddy lang was signed in the offseason? i told you guys that this team has No heart (save stephen peat and, to a lesser degree, brendan witt) and thus will go nowhere, playoffs or regular season. they’re that pathetic.

    i am just glad i got this one right, cause i am getting killed predicting the stars to be average. shhhhheeeezzzzzz…….

  10. Kingsfan1 says:

    There’s noway L.A. would do a deal for Jagr and here’s why

    1 I don’t think Dave Taylor would trade Frolov or Cammelari, they have never been know for having a good farm system and finally they are loaded.

    2 There is noway they would trade Deadmarsh who IMO is the heart and soal of the team, nobody except maybe Lappy plays harder, or Palffy when lined up with Jason Allison form one of the best lines in hockey so why break it up?

    3 because the owners are just plain cheap. After posting a 7 million dollar prophit last year, only 1 of 3 teams to do so, managment said they couldn’t affors to go after the high priced UFA’s such as Amonte, Geurin, etc etc so they wouldn’t even think about taking on Jagr’s contract unless Washington picked up alot of it.

    thats my 2 cents worth

  11. keon says:

    Jagr would be a great additon to any team, especially Toronto. He won’t go there though. What would they trade…Hoglund/Corson/Tucker for Jagr? I know that the Caps got Jagr for nothing, but the Caps have 6 more years to wait for the blockbuster that could build their team back up again. They will not settle for garbage players, and the Leafs aren’t open to trading their young prospects.

    Here’s a thought, the league is switching back to the dark home jerseys. The last time they did this was in 1967…who won the cup that year? who hasn’t won the cup since that year? Just a thought, that’s all.

  12. big_booty says:

    “Jagr….sitting over filing his nails on the blue line.”

    Now THAT’s comedy.

    Thanks for the best laugh of the day, TS.

  13. saiklo says:

    we will see in a few years whether or not the Caps got Jagr for “nothing.”

  14. TrojanMan says:

    Lang centered Jagr maybe 5 games in his career as a PENS

    Fuk Da Flyers!!!!

  15. TrojanMan says:

    Clarkes type of player is the kind that doesnt know how to win the big game, so theres no way he would want someone skilled like jagr

  16. Tradedude says:

    who’d they get for him? BEECH, ORPIK?

    Future players indeed. Only if they get a chance.

  17. guinsfan4life says:

    The pens received Beech, SIvek, and Lupaschuk for Jagr.

    Orpik was drafted first round in I think 1999.

    ALl of the players received in the Jagr trade are currently with the penguins.

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