Rookie Fan vs. Veteran Fan: Round 1

Posted February 17, 2012

Rookie fan: Trade Tomas Vokoun. Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

By Nicole Weissman and David Israel

My friend David is a baseball fan to the core, but over a period of years I’ve guilted him into a casual interest in hockey. You might call him my protégé. My project. My groupie. Whatever.

Sometimes the things David says about the Caps drive me nuts – then I realize that my there are inherent differences between the way a new Caps fan sees the team and the way I see them, having been a fan my whole life. So I decided David and I would answer some of the same questions, and we’d see whether fans are more likely to side with the Rookie Fan or the Veteran Fan.

Question: Which Caps players, if any, are untouchable as the trade deadline approaches?

Assuming the Caps plan to sell players at the deadline, no one is untouchable, at least in theory. Ovi and Backstrom, with their no-trade clauses, can’t be moved. As far as guys who should be safe, Chimera and his team-friendly deal for two more seasons should be kept. My personal affinity for Troy Brouwer aside, he’s well worth the $2.3M per season he’s contracted for over the next 1.5 years. It would also be tough to see Neuvirth go; he’s done well, and at age 23, will presumably continue to grow between the pipes.

On the flip side, it’s time for Vokoun to go, both to give Holtby some ice time and to bring back a pick or two for the future.  The Caps should essentially take the best they can get for Semin; he’s out after this year anyways, and a team on the brink in need of scoring help (hello, Los Angeles!) might take gamble on Semin rediscovering his scoring touch with some new surroundings.  While I would hate to see him go, a Knuble trade could bring back some useful pieces, and the Caps could bring him back in the fold through free agency next offseason. Halpern could also go help out a team in need of some penalty killing (San Jose, Chicago, St. Louis).

With the team performing the way they are right now, no one is untouchable. Nothing is sacred.

So David wants to burn the team to the ground and rebuild it using Chimera, Brouwer and Neuvirth alone. I’m telling you, this guy is priceless.

Veteran fans remember Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green as the “Young Guns.” They’re still pretty young, though what felt like endless promise has shifted into underperformance and injury. But it’s more than nostalgia that makes me want to keep this core in place – they anchor a rebuild that I would argue might have been complete this year if not for injury. Major complaints are that we’re weak down the middle and on defense, but Nick Backstrom and Mike Green filled those niches perfectly.

Consequently the young guns – including much-talked-about Semin, whose value elsewhere is limited by his streakiness – should stay intact. Honorary Young Gun Brooks Laich and Junior Young Guns John Carlson and Karl Alzner also make my list. In other words, question of where Semin will go aside, I’m not inclined to lose anyone of value for next year in the interest of making a run this post-season. Notably not safe? Neuvirth, D-men Dmitri Orlov, Jeff Schultz and Dennis Wideman, Elder Gun Mike Knuble and personal favorites Jason Chimera and Troy Brouwer, though David is right that the deal would have be sweet on either of those two, as they provide good value.

Oh and David? Jeff Halpern didn’t get traded in ’04, so he isn’t going anywhere this season. Look it up, grasshopper.

So who do you agree with? Vote for me.

Which Caps players, if any, are untouchable as the trade deadline approaches?

  • I'm with David the Rookie Fan - no one is safe! (56%, 36 Votes)
  • I'm with Nicole the Veteran Fan - keep the young guns! (And Jeff Halpern isn't going anywhere.) (44%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 64

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