First, we will bid adieu to Tomas Vokoun, who signed an astoundingly cheap contract knowing full well he would only be here a year. He has in fact complained before at how homesick he was. There’s nothing wrong with missing your family, but perhaps he could’ve considered the before he chose the career of “professional athlete in a country that is not your homeland.” Personally, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him. Maybe I would have more if he had ended up being that Cup-contending goalie he was meant to be, instead of putting up average to good reg season numbers then getting injured immediately before the postseason began.
Secondly, we will almost definitely bid adieu to Sasha Semin, who, while never the lynchpin of anything, was always a welcome addition to our offense. To me, his gorgeous sniper-like wrist shots made up for the lazy offensive zone stick penalties. Even when they made the coach do this. I understand why he would want out, but I’m going to miss him.
Also on the list of players I would miss: Mike Knuble. He’s 40 and coming off an unimpressive season thanks to Dale Hunter Hockey (TM), but I think we can squeeze a couple mil under the cap to retain his services, eh GMGM? He says he both feels fine and wants to keep playing, and even if he didn’t get the 20 goals he wanted, he still has grit and adds the presence of a grizzled veteran. And may I remind of you of when he outraced a man half his age to wash out an icing in the Rangers series? The man still has the internal fire.
On the blue line, I think I found out where to get some extra money to keep Knuble: by not re-signing Dennis “NHL All-Star?” Wideman. I’m not sure his 46 points (11-35) are enough to make up for his defensive oopsies, especially come playoff time, and especially if Mike Green plays more than 32 games next season (fingers crossed!). Speaking of, Greener becomes an RFA, so that’ll be a fun and not at all terrifying contract negotiation.
I’m wondering if Keith Aucoin got enough time in the show to have other teams come calling. He’s a tweener or a quad-A kinda guy — too good for the AHL, not good enough for the NHL (or at least the Capitals). But a team like the Oilers might be able to use him, and he certainly deserves every opportunity. And Halpern? Yeah, no. Dany Sabourin’s contract also ends, but he was never meant to be anything but a Hershey guy anyway.
Next time: a look at the RFAs!
(Contract info taken from CapGeek.)