Dynasty Hockey League

Fowler Returns to Washington

Washington, D.C.

Throughout the summer whisper could be heard around the DHL that there was growing concern in the nations capital over the percentage of cap space that the Capitals had tied up in their top three defenseman. Typically the $4 million, close to $5 million and $3.1 million dollar cap hits allocated to Mark Giordano, Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh would be consider fair market value for players of their calibre and in some cases maybe a little under market value. When you consider that goaltender Brayden Holtby also owns an almost $5.3 million dollar cap hit and Ryan McDonagh would be due for a raise next offseason then it becomes clear that this was a team about to run into a cap problem in the near future and that changes needed to be made.

“You just simply can’t sustain long term success in a capped system when you have 45 percent of your salary cap tied up in three defenseman and a goalie. It leaves very little options in terms of acquiring high end offensive players to complement your backend. Where are the goals going to come from? You can’t just expect that we are going to shutout every team and hope for a luck bounce night in and night out.” said GM Todd Westacott

With the whispers came rumours that the Capitals were willing to listen on moving McDonagh, Giordano or possibly even Hedman for an equivalent top line forward. After fielding numerous offers on all three early in the summer and being underwhelmed by the potential return, GM Todd Westacott chose to go a different route and acquired sniper Wayne Simmonds from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for prospects Jonas Donskoi and Ville Pokka ending the need for a top six scoring winger.

“We just felt that the type of returns being offered on all three fronts of McDonagh, Giordano, and Hedman weren’t enough to give our lineup the offensive help it needed so we decided to explore other options and maybe come back to moving a high end defenseman after UFA. We had always been a big fan of Wayne Simmonds and when we found out he might be available we jumped at the opportunity. We were lucky enough to have the future pieces that Winnipeg was looking for to get a deal done. We just really like what we think he can bring to the pieces we already had in place in our top 6 forwards.”

Even with the deal for Simmonds complete, and there no longer being a glaring need for offense at the top of the lineup, the Capitals where still facing a cap issue and still had what they felt was far too much cap space tied up on their back end. Once again rumours began to grow that one of their top three defenseman might be moved but this time the required return would consist of either a cheaper replacement with more years of control, or a lesser replacement and a 3rd line forward. Again GM Westacott fielded multiple offers and was again underwhelmed by the options available.

“We just didn’t feel that the kind of offers we were getting were reflective of the value of those three players. Either we would think we had a deal we liked and the other side would get cold feet and back out or we just didn’t like the offer on the table enough to pull the trigger. Eventually it came to the point where we just came back to the boardroom, sat down and said lets just be patient and wait for UFA and see whats available then. We thought that maybe once the top couple tiers of players in UFA were off the board that maybe we could target some of those teams that missed out and see if we could get an offer we liked better.”

As it turns out the Capitals were rewarded for their patience. Friday morning an official trade block was sent out to the league with the primary target being to move Ryan McDonagh for a middle pairing defenseman and a third line forward. Within a few hours the Capitals were discussing three seperate offers they felt better represented the market value of  player like McDonagh.

We went from a month or two ago looking at the offers for McDonagh and honestly considering keeping all three for this season, to having three fair offers that we really liked. We knew then that we were probably going to make a move and we just need to decide which offer we liked more. It honestly came down to two of the three offers that we really felt met our needs and what we were trying to do in this trade.”

Just after 6:30 PM the Washington Capitals announced that they had come to an agreement with the LA Kings and that Ryan McDonagh had been traded along with $5 million dollars for Cam Fowler and Jakob Silfverberg.

“We already knew Cam Fowler really well and what he could bring to our lineup from the years he spent in Washington a few seasons back. We were always a little unsure about trading him away in the first place so we were excited when L.A. contacted us and his name came up as part of a potential package for McDonagh. Jakob Silfverberg was another guy we have had our eye on for a bit and had always really liked even though he hasn’t quite lived up to his draft expectations in the DHL so far. We felt that he was a good fit for the third line role we were looking to fill and had the offensive skills to jump up into the top 6 if need. It was that kind of skillset and his ability to be able to play either wing that really sold us on him being a part of this package. We just really liked the flexibility that he can offer our lineup on top of feeling like a good fit for the role we needed to fill. We looked at a potential 3rd line of Neiderreiter, Craig Smith and Jakob Silfverberg and we just really liked what we saw. Three guys that can play with a bit of an edge, lots of speed and the offensive skillset to be a real threat everytime they go out there.”

So with UFA coming to the late stages and the summer almost over the Washington Capitals look like they have their lineup set and are ready to compete for another season with a re-energized offense, a very solid backend and the reigning Vezina winner and Hart trophy runner-up in goal. Should be an exciting season in the nation’s capital.

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