CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Jeff Halpern
HtWt: 6-0, 200
Penalty Minutes: 24
Average Ice Time: 12:36
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent 825,000 cap hit in 2011-12
Strengths: Halpern was the Capitals best faceoff man, leading the club with a 58.4 winning percentage, fifth-best in the NHL. As a former Caps captain he was also a strong and steady voice in the locker room, but that voice was silenced when Halpern was a healthy scratch in 12 of the teams final 15 games and 12 of their 14 playoff games.
Weaknesses: The effects of 861 NHL games have taken a toll on Halpern, whose lack of speed kept him out of the lineup down the stretch and in the playoffs. Halpern could still fill a specialty role as a penalty killer and faceoff specialist, but it likely wont be in Washington.
Memorable Moment on the ice: On Nov. 4, Halpern responded to being a healthy scratch in the previous game by scoring his first goal as a Capital since 2006 when he converted a pass from Mike Knuble in a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Halpern also helped kill off three straight penalties that helped the Caps improve their record to 9-2-0.
Memorable Moment off the ice: It was hard to find a player with more class than Halpern after he replaced Jay Beagle broken foot in the sixth game of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Rangers. Its not easy, Halpern said after logging 10:23 of ice time in the Caps 2-1 win, which forced a Game 7 in New York. The most difficult part is not being in the game. No matter what anyone says you dont feel part of the team. Mentally, youre trying to keep that game intensity somehow, whether its 3-on-3 games with the coaches or something.
2012-13 Expectations: Halpern says he has every intention of playing next season but after becoming a forgotten man down the stretch under Dale Hunter its hard to imagine it will be in Washington. It obviously wasnt the finish of a season that I personally would have liked, Halpern said. The team was doing well, but as far as for my own personal career and future, you hope that theres a lot of other options out there. A young team looking for veteran leadership might have an interest in Halpern, who has played 12 seasons in the NHL but has never been on a team that made it past the second round of the playoffs.