Whenever a trade rumor involving the Washington Capitals formulates, one name almost always comes to the forefront: Alexander Semin. With the Caps very close to the salary cap ceiling after several offseason moves, Semin's $6.7 million salary became a hot topic of discussion. Yet, via NHL.com's E.J. Hradek, general manager George McPhee put the latest round of rumors to rest.
"We like Semin because he can score goals," McPhee said Monday, squashing the latest round of Semin trade tales. "Those guys aren't easy to find. We've made our moves," he continued. "I don't anticipate us making any other changes. If I go into the season with this group, I'm fine with that."
The second half of the quote above is something that McPhee has echoed within the last several weeks after the Caps acquired Troy Brouwer, Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Vokoun. Washington was over the salary cap ceiling (even though they carry up to 10% more than allowed until opening night), but after Karl Alzner re-signed last week, the Caps were still over the limit.
If speculation that Tom Poti's career is over with a groin injury is true, then he can be placed on long-term injured reserve and therefore his cap hit would be erased, which would put the Caps under the ceiling.
Yet, McPhee has been known to say one thing and then do another. For example, he told the media after the Caps traded Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche July 1 that the team was going forward with goalies Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby. One day later, the Caps signed Vokoun.
The offseason has really begun now that free agency and development camp is over, but Semin's status has been and will continue to be a hot topic of discussion.