Why Paul Gaustad makes sense for the Caps

I recently wrote that I thought Jeff Carter was the guy the Caps needed to go after instead of the safer options like Saku Koivu (although, with the Ducks’ recent run, he may be off the market) Derek Roy or any other center from Columbus.

Adam over at Kings of Leonsis recently brought up the name of Steve Ott, which is a suggestion as unique as it is interesting.  I hadn’t thought off Ott as an option but as I read Adam’s post, the name made more and more sense to me.

While I still want the Caps to pursue Carter first and foremost, Ott has been a distant second on my wish list but his remaining years on his contract make me a little hesitant.  Enter pending UFA, Paul Gaustad.

Why he fits

  • He is over 56% in the faceoff circle.  Between him and Jeff Halpern, the Caps would be set on draws.
  • If the Caps can’t bring in a legit 2C (in my opinion, the only one worth pursuing is Jeff Carter) then I think the next best option is to put Brooks Laich there (I’m not saying Laich is better than the other options, it is more of a Cost-Benefit analysis thing).  Bringing Gaustad in to play 3C would allow the Caps to put Laich with Semin and Johansson or Knuble on the 2nd line and give them a gritty shutdown line of Gaustad, Chimera and Ward.
  • I’ve mentioned on the site before that I think team toughness is an issue the Caps need to address.  I think adding a player who is listed at 6′ 5″ 220lbs with 580 PIM’s in 474 career games would go a long way in addressing that issue.
  • He is a UFA at the end of the season so we won’t be handcuffed with any type of long-term deal and his cap hit of $2.3 million for this season could fit on this team without GMGM having to get too creative.
  • He should come relatively cheap compared to other options that have been mentioned as trade deadline targets for the Caps.  I think a 2nd round  pick, if that, could get the deal done.  If not, I certainly don’t think any prospect/player added to the deal would be one that would make Caps fans cringe.

I spoke above about cost-benefit analysis, something that I think GMGM is generally very good at come deadline day (contract extensions are a different story).  He generally does a very good job at finding a player who is a nice fix for the Caps without mortgaging the future to bring that guy in.

In my post about Jeff Carter I said it was time to abandon that philosophy and I still largely stand by that.  However, if GMGM sticks to his general deadline day philosophy, I think a name that makes a lot of sense for the Caps is Paul Gaustad.

About Pat Holden

Pat writes regularly about hockey on Brooks Laichyear and Russian Machine Never Breaks. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com and The Washington Post. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pfholden

Posted on February 17, 2012, in Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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