After such a disappointing end to last season (I'm sorry for bringing it up, but I gotta set up some context here, stay with me), there has been some outcry for the Capitals to improve drastically over the the offseason. However, up until this point, they have not made any earth-shattering moves, and the team looks largely the same as the one we saw on the ice last year.
SB Nation's Capitals' blog Japers' Rink, thinks that right now for this team, no moves is good moves (sorry).
It's understandable for frustration to set in when teams all around us appear to be improving their rosters while the Capitals are content to merely watch from the sidelines. Some are even ready to send George McPhee packing if he doesn't do something soon; his "inaction" signaling to these fans that he has no clue what's wrong with this team or how to fix it. We don't see action so we assume McPhee is blind to the needs of the team and therefore useless.
But McPhee might end up being one of the smarter GMs this year for ultimately doing nothing.
There are a couple reasons why the Capitals are making the right decision by staying relatively still.
First, there aren't any players available that are capable of making a tremendous difference in next year's squad. Sure, there are guys getting paid like stars, but those are bad contracts stemming from a weak market. It's smart for the team to avoid those types of deals, mostly because of the impending free agency of big names like Brooks Laich, Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble and Matt Bradley next summer. We're going to have to spend a lot of money to keep those guys next year, and every dollar counts.
Secondly, the Caps would be bidding against teams with more resources and motivation to get a player. The teams overpaying for free agent talent have cap room to spend that the Caps simply don't have. They can't extend the type of contract offers that it would take to sign these guys, and frankly, they don't really have to. They were the top point getters last season, and while there are definite holes in the roster, there are young players (like Marcus Johansson, John Carlson and Karl Alzner) waiting in the wings to help plug some of those leaks. The teams that have made free agent moves don't have that luxury, and therefore more desperation to sign someone.
It's not the most exciting approach in the world, but it just may be the best one. While money is being thrown around to players who may not deserve it, the Capitals will likely field a team that is very similar to last year, a squad that most felt was good enough to compete for a Stanley Cup only a few months ago. In doing so, they'll maintain their flexibility and keep the door open for young talent that is already in the organization. Sounds good to me.