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Is Mike Green Done For The Year?
Yesterday, the Capitals announced that they have recalled defenseman Tomas Kundratek from Hershey. So far, Kundratek has amassed two goals and six assists with 14 penalty minutes in 21 games for the Bears. He was acquired this season in a trade with the New York Rangers for Francois Bouchard on November 8th, 2011. For those who are not familiar with the play of Tomas Kundratek, he is a stay-at-home defenseman who has power, but is not really known for his offensive prowess. Since the news of this most recent call-up, rumors have swirled around as to what roster move General Manager George McPhee will make to accommodate Kundratek. I will break down four of them so you can have some insight on what lies ahead for the Capitals after the jump.
- Nicklas Backstrom goes on IR.
This scenario is the least likely reason as for the call-up of Kundratek. The main reason why that Backstrom sat out on the West Coast road trip was for precautionary reasons. There is too much money invested to him over the long term, and the Capitals can’t afford to have him be injured again and risk his career over a head injury. However, there is a chance the Capitals do place Backstrom on IR. If they do, they can make it retroactive to last week, meaning that Backstrom sits another game or two at most. The latest he will come back into the lineup will be Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes. But it is the least likely influential reason as for the Kundratek promotion.
- Jeff Schultz heads down to Hershey.
Don’t put this one too far past McPhee and company. He has only played in 27 games this season, and has not really contributed while on the ice. In the last five games he has dressed, he has zero points, a zero +/-, and has taken only one shot. The Capitals really have no use for him up on the big team. The bad thing with sending him down to Hershey is that Schultz has a one-way contract. This means that the team is still on the hook for the remainder of his contract, so regardless of whether he is scratched or gets playing time in Hershey, it still has the same effect on the salary cap.
- Green goes on Long Term Injury Reserve.
Unfortunately for Caps fans, this scenario is the one that makes the most sense. Please let me explain. A few days ago, I wrote that the Capitals should not resign Mike Green. The article was written to highlight the reasoning as nothing more than to free up salary cap space. Well, this scenario falls right in line with what I said a few days ago. If the Capitals place Green on the LTIR list, his cap hit comes right off of the salary cap. This “free money” can be used for more leverage as the trade deadline draws closer. It’s purely business. Also, Green has not looked good in his return from his groin injury. The team doctors might have told him to shut it down for the year, and this could actually be the cap relief and flexibility that George McPhee has been looking for as the team is currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and will be major players come February 27th.
- George McPhee shocks the world.
Would this be a surprise to anyone? It shouldn’t, and that’s why this makes the list. George McPhee could get in front of the media tomorrow at some point and announce that he stole traded for Evgeni Malkin for a bag of peanuts and everyone probably wouldn’t bat an eye to it. It’s both exciting and scary, so stay tuned to find out tomorrow what transpires over at Kettler Iceplex.