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: John Erskine
HtWt: 6-4, 220
Penalty Minutes: 51
Average Ice Time: 12:05
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 2-year, 3million contract 1.5 million cap hit in 2012-13
Strengths: A tough-as-nails veteran, Erskine is willing to defend teammates at the drop of a hat and although he is a part-time player he has no problem holding teammates accountable. A hard hitter, Erskines biggest asset is his ability to keep opponents away from the front of the net.
Weaknesses: After playing 73 games in 2010-11, Erskine was a part-time player under both Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter. His lack of mobility makes him a defensive liability, especially in todays game.
Memorable Moment on the ice: On Dec. 1, in Arron Ashams first game against the Capitals since knocking out Jay Beagle in a lopsided Oct. 13 fight, Erskine sought retribution just 5: 27 into the game. Erskine, who was not in the lineup on the night of Oct. 13, took a hard punch to the face before finishing off Asham, who had set up a Penguins goal 6 seconds earlier, with a flurry of punches. I saw it happen, Erskine said of Ashams knockdown of Beagle, but that didnt really have much to do with it. We went down 1-0 and I wanted to get the crowd back into it.
Memorable Moment off the ice: After Jan. 18, when Erskine was hit with six minutes in penalties on one play a double-minor for high sticking and two for elbowing Montreals Matthieu Darche the burly defenseman dressed for just four more games the remainder of the regular season. During his time in Dale Hunters doghouse, Erskine was asked if the coach told him what he needed to do to get back in the lineup. Who? Dale? He hasnt talked to me one little bit, Erskine replied. I talk to (assistant coaches) Deano (Evason) and Jimmy Johnson here and there, but thats about it.
2012-13 Expectations: Its hard to imagine Erskine fitting into the Capitals plans for next season. If another team is looking to add some gritty depth to their blue line, the Caps likely would take a low-round draft pick for Erskine. If not, theyll keep him around as a defensive insurance policy.