If Caps want to shop for free agents, who's left?

If Caps want to shop for free agents, who's left?
July 6, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Today is kind of like Dec. 26 in the NHL.

Most of the best merchandise has been sold and you’re likely to pay a lot less for what remains on the discount rack.

With that in mind, here’s the best of what remains after Friday’s free-agent spending binge, that is, if the Capitals are in the market for a second-line center or No. 4 defenseman.

Centers

Mikhail Grabovski

Grabovski and Toronto coach Randy Carlyle didn’t see eye-to-eye last season and the 29-year-old center managed just 9 goals and 7 assists in 48 games, mostly in a checking and fourth-line role. As a result the Leafs bought out the final four years of his five-year contract, The Caps would like a short-term deal  [one or two years] than can serve as a bridge to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is expected to join them late next season or for the start of the 2014-15 season. If Grabovski is willing to do two years at about $5 million the Caps might bite.

Derek Roy

At 30, Roy should still have some tread left on his tires. He split last season between Dalas and Vancouver and recorded 7 goals and 21 assists. His best offensive seasons came in Buffalo three or four years ago, but he might be a good second-line center option for the Caps if he’s willing to take one or two years. Roy is also strong on faceoffs and can kill penalties, something the Caps may need with the departure of Matt Hendricks.

Nik Antropov

He’s big [6-foot-6, 240 pounds] and is capable of scoring 15 to 20 goals in a second-line role. Antopov managed 6 goals and 12 assists in Winnipeg last season and could be a short-term solution down the middle.

Kyle Wellwood

Wellwood, another 30-year-old center, set career highs with 18 goals and 29 assists two seasons ago with the Winnipeg Jets, but injuries limited him to 39 games last season and he managed just 6 goals and 9 assists.

Peter Mueller

Mueller is just 25 years old and became unrestricted when the Colorado Avalanche did not make him a qualifying offer. Mueller is a solid 6-foot-2, 209 pounds and has a creative streak in him, but his NHL career has been on a downward spiral since recording a career-high 22 goals and 54 points as a rookie with Phoenix in 2007-08.

Defensemen

Ron Hainsey

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds Hainsey is a sturdy, reliable defenseman who can log big minutes. He averaged almost 23 minutes a game for the Jets last season. Hainsey will not give you much in the offensive zone – he has not scored a goal in two seasons – but at 32 years old he can give you solid, no-frills minutes on the second pairing.

Douglas Murray

Another veteran presence on the blue line, Murray, 33, was picked up by the Penguins from the San Jose Sharks and was a physical force during the Pens’ playoff run. Murray stands 6-foot-3, 245 pounds and would be useful against big centermen like Philadelphia’s Vincent Lecavalier and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin.