Good Friday morning and welcome to our weekly six-pack of questions, where we answer your most pressing questions on the Capitals. We’ve had a lot of Tom Wilson reaction the last few days, so we’ll start there. Thanks for all the questions. Let’s get started:
@mikebailey97: Doesn't rule 21.1 say it's an automatic suspension though...? Can they just make exceptions like that? Confused.
Yes, Mike. Rule 21.1 states that a player who receives a match penalty shall be ejected and suspended. The length of that suspension is to be determined by the Commissioner. However, when I asked game supervisor Don Koharski about that rule after Wednesday night’s game he said the suspension was not automatic. Really, the wording should be changed to say that a match penalty results in an ejection (game misconduct) and an automatic review by the Director of officiating (Stephen Walkom) and the Director of Player Safety (Stephane Quintal). A ruling by the NHL will take place today and I anticipate the league will rescind Wilson’s match penalty. It will not rescind the fact Braden Holtby lost a shutout because of Wilson’s penalty, but that’s another matter.
@MNMDkid: is there anything the Caps can do to bring attention to the zebras targeting Willy?
General managers are in the ears of the league all the time. If one of their players is injured on what they believe to be a dirty hit, they are on the phone with someone from the Department of Player Safety saying they want a long suspension for the perpetrator. The same can be said on the other side. I saw Caps GM Brian MacLellan talking with Koharski after Wednesday night’s game and I guarantee you they weren’t discussing Christmas plans. MacLellan wants to see Wilson, who is reportedly on a “Watch List” treated fairly by referees.
@shawndonaghue: how does tom Wilson fix his reputation But continue to play with the same intensity that we've grown to love.
From the time he arrived in Washington a little more than two years ago I’ve loved watching Tom Wilson play the game of hockey. He plays hard, plays to the whistle, defends his teammates, draws penalties and inflicts his 6-foot-4, 220-pound body on his opponents. Most importantly, he plays the game within the rules. Like any physical player, he gets penalized for some of his hits and deservedly so. But he is not malicious and he’s certainly not a head hunter. In fact, I was told by a source within the league that there is no such thing as a “Watch List” being distributed to league officials. That said, referees look at players’ penalty minutes before every game and I believe (as do many of Wilson’s teammates) that Wilson’s reputation is putting him in the penalty box more often. I’m actually hoping this latest incident will make referees think twice about raising their arms because of the number on the back of a player’s jersey.
@GianluT67: how much could be JoJo's trade value at next draft?
That’s an interesting question. The Caps can begin negotiating with their potential free agents in January and if Brian MacLellan follows the pattern he established last season, they won’t. MacLellan let RFAs Braden Holtby and Johansson go all the way to arbitration, signing Holtby to a five-year, $30.5 million contract, while accepting a $3.75 million award for Johansson. Johansson, 25, is on pace for 14 goals, 28 assists and 42 points, slightly off the pace he set last season when he netted a career-high 20 goals and 27 assists for 47 points. (Johansson has a career average of .54 points per game in the regular season and .34 in the playoffs). Given those numbers, it’s safe to assume Johansson probably would get between $3.5 million and $3.75 million from an arbitrator. The Caps will also need to sign RFAs Tom Wilson and Dmitry Orlov, along with Connor Carrick and maybe Michael Latta. The Caps’ interest in trading Johansson will depend on two things – how he performs through the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs, and the development of Andre Burakovsky as a top-six forward. As far as value, NHL trades are usually dollar-for-dollar transactions and a $3.75 million salary could get you a quality second pair defenseman or perhaps a solid second- or third-line forward.
@joeolsen23: do you see the caps making a move to pick up another d-man with the absence of Orpik?
@jonlester1981: I know Orpik's injury is "long term"...but do you have any idea if it could be season ending?
We’ll answer both at once. With each passing day that he is not on the ice, the concern for Brooks Orpik’s lower body injury deepens. The team has been vague in its description and treatment of Orpik’s injury but it’s pretty clear that by shutting him down, at least in terms of on-ice workouts, the Caps are hopeful that Orpik will be able to salvage the second half of the season. So I don’t see it as season ending. It would be my guess that Orpik will not try skating again until after the Caps’ Christmas break but when that would be would be strictly a guess. If February rolls around and Orpik is not seeing significant progress, yes, I think the Caps will make acquiring a defenseman a priority leading up to the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
@The_Big_Nic: If the Flyers offered Lecavalier (50% retained) for Brooks Laich would you take it? It could help 3C
Hmm. Vinny Lecavalier is 35 and scheduled to make $4.5 million for two more seasons after this. Would I carry him on my roster until 2017-18 at $2.25 million per season? No. Like many others, I wonder how Lecavalier’s game could have dropped so much so soon. But he’s now on his second coach in Philadelphia and he’s been a healthy scratch for all but seven games this season. I’d rather go another route to address a need at third-line center, which could become secondary depending on Orpik’s health.
@Joe68159455: Bonus question: Will Trotz retire after he wins the Cup this year.
No. But I’m sure if you told him he could have one or the other he’d choose the Cup over retirement.