Capitals breakdown: Tom Poti

Capitals breakdown: Tom Poti
June 17, 2013, 8:15 am

Three Harts for the Great 8

CSNwashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Tom Poti

Tom Poti

Position: Left Defense

Shoots: Left

Age: 36

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 194

Games: 16

Goals: 0

Assists: 2

Points: 2

Penalty Minutes: 2

Plus-Minus: Minus-2

Average Ice Time: 15:13

Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent [$2.875 million cap hit in 2012-13]

Strengths: When he was healthy and paired with a hard-edged defense partner, Poti was an effective puck mover and an experienced, even-keeled presence in the dressing room. The fact he was able to play in 16 games two years after a career-threatening hip injury was remarkable, but as the Caps’ third highest-paid defenseman behind Mike Green and John Carlson, his presence on the roster ate up $2.875 million in cap space.

Weaknesses: Poti played in just five of the Caps’ first 14 games, then suited up for 11 of the next 14 games before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Poti told reporters he was healthy enough to play down the stretch and in the playoffs, but by then he has been surpassed by left defensemen John Erskine and Jack Hillen.

Memorable Moment: It had to be the Jan. 19 season opener in Tampa when, two years and seven days after cracking his pelvis in a crash along the boards -- Poti picked up an assist in his first game back in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. “It feels good,” Poti said. “It’s nice to know that all the hard work I did over the last few years paid off.”

2013-14 Expectations: Poti thinks he can play in the NHL next season but with his age and his injury history it might be hard to convince a team to give him a contract. It’s not out of the question Poti is offered a two-way, NHL-AHL contract, but it likely won’t be in Washington.