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: Keith Aucoin
Position: Center, Right Wing, Left Wing
HtWt: 5-9, 187
Penalty minutes: 0
Average Ice Time: 11:03
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent 512,500 cap hit in 2011-12
Strengths: Despite being the smallest player on the Capitals roster Aucoin played in 22 of the Capitals final 23 games of the regular season and all 14 playoff games. He did not commit a single penalty for the Caps in the regular season and took just one in the playoffs. Aucoin is a creative playmaker who is defensively responsible.
Weaknesses: Aucoin has put up big numbers in his AHL career 777 points in 672 games but has been far less productive in the NHL 37 points in 102 games. He tries to make up for his lack of size by using an unusually long stick, which measures about 5-foot, 4 inches.
Memorable Moment on the ice: On March 13 in Uniondale, N.Y., Aucoin recorded a career-high three assists to help erase a three-goal deficit and lead the Caps to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Islanders.
Memorable Moment off the ice: On Feb. 29 Aucoin and his wife, Maureen, welcomed their first child into the world. Aucoin, who was renting an apartment in Arlington, received a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call from his wife, whose was in labor 10 days before her due date and was living in their home in Hershey, Pa. I broke a lot of speed limits on the way there, Aucoin said. I think I made a lot of people mad cutting them off. I hit a bunch of traffic and I was just trying to get there because I didnt know when it was going to come. Aucoin arrived at Hershey Medical Center in plenty of time to see the arrival of Brayden Michael at around 8 p.m.
2012-13 Expectations: Aucoin becomes a free agent on July 1 but without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement he may not receive any offers until closer to training camp. The Capitals could do worse than to sign the veteran to a two-way contract at the NHL minimum salary and use him as a depth forward in the organization, but they are more likely to move in a younger direction for their fourth line.
Friday's trade with the Colorado Avalanche seemed to mark the end of Brooks Orpik's time with the Washington Capitals. But that may not actually be the case.
Trading away Orpik also meant trading away his $5.5 million cap hit. That is not an insignificant amount of money especially for a team trying to re-sign defenseman John Carlson to a big-money contract.
But Orpik will not be playing out the final year of his contract in Colorado. The Avalanche placed Orpik on unconditional waivers Saturday for the purpose of a buyout, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
For a 37-year-old defenseman who does not boast great mobility or speed, a $5.5 million cap hit was a bit too steep for the Caps who were very close to the cap ceiling last season and who need that extra money to re-sign their free agents. But the team did value Orpik's leadership and that could be especially important as young defensemen Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos continue developing plus prospects Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs all try to work themselves into contention for a spot on the NHL roster.
If Orpik does return, it will be a masterstroke for general manager Brian MacLellan. MacLellan freed up a lot of cap space to re-sign Carlson without having to buy out Orpik's contract, but could still possibly keep him on the roster at a much-reduced cost.
After a strong playoff performance, there may be other teams vying for Orpik's services next season. Getting traded to get bought out likely isn't a good feeling, but considering he just won a Stanley Cup in Washington, the defensive guru Todd Reirden is expected to be promoted to head coach and that re-signing with the Caps would mean not moving his family for what could very possibly and will very likely be the last contract of his NHL career, there are a lot of reasons why it would make sense for both the team and the player if Orpik stayed with the Caps.
The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.
Meet the newest prospects:
1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds
The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.
Alexander Alexeyev’s teammates in Russia nicknamed him “poker face” because of his poise with the puck. And, yeah, he asked Alex Ovechkin about the fountain celebration during their FaceTime conversation yesterday. Haha. #ALLCAPSpic.twitter.com/iVguNmidFq
Wendel Clark was mowing the lawn at his Muskoka cottage when son Kody came running outside to tell dad he'd been picked No. 47 by Stanley Cup-champion #caps. "It's more exciting than when I was picked (1st overall, #leafs, '85)," Wendel said. "It's part of being a dad." #tmltalk
“Watching both of those young men play, they do a lot of the little things properly.” — #ALLCAPS Assistant GM Ross Mahoney on Kody Clark and Riley Sutter, both the sons of longtime NHLers (Wendel Clark and Ron Sutter). pic.twitter.com/aK9d1FnJvB
A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.
Gibson is a Harvard commit from the Philly suburbs. He joked that he'll know his way around KCI at Dev Camp next week, having played for Valley Forge, Team Comcast, etc. in the @AYHL. So he faced the @LittleCapitals a lot.