Tuesday, September 27, 2005

NHL News: Capitals acquire LW Jeff Friesen

In a surprising move (surprising because no one thought the Capitals were in the market for anyone), the Capitals have obtained speedy left wing Jeff Friesen from the cap-strapped New Jersey Devils for a 2006 conditional draft pick. This with just over a week before the beginning of regular season play.

Friesen, who has been in the league for 10 years but is only 29, is currently the team's second highest-paid player, making $2.28 million this year. Olie Kolzig is the only guy making more, and he's slated to bring in a shade under $5 million.

Check out the Washington Post article here.

See Friesen's stats from ESPN here.

The move comes while the Caps are having a hell of a time trying to extract another left wing, Alexander Semin, from Russia. Current predictions seem to be that he will be playing in Russia this season. Semin figured to be a big factor in the Capitals offense this season.

In the 2003-2004 season, Friesen scored 17 goals and totaled 37 points in 81 games for the Devils, but that was a down year. His best season was in '97-'98 with San Jose, when he scored 31 goals and accumulated 63 points. He is also widely considered one of the fastest skaters in the league, which means the new rules may suit his style very well.

The Caps are still hurting for defensemen, but this move does show that maybe owner Ted Leonsis will be willing to loosen the purse strings a little bit if he can nab someone for a good deal. Also, it was a heady move from general manager George McPhee to see a bargain from a team that has used up most of its cap room and take it.

Maybe this is a one-and-done thing, or maybe McPhee will seek out more steals prior to the season-opener against Columbus on October 5.

I certainly don't know, but you can read about 20 pages of speculation over at the Caps message board.

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