George McPhee doesn't sound eager for free agency

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On the day Adam Oates was introduced as the Washington Capitals’ new coach, general manager George McPhee offered the same assessment about his team going into free agency as he did coming out of the NHL draft when he acquired center Mike Ribeiro.

“I think we’re in pretty good shape. We’ve got good young goalies, the D is complete, we added a skill guy,” McPhee said. “We’ll get into it like everybody else does, but if we don’t do anything, I wouldn’t be disappointed. And if there’s something there that makes sense at the right price.”

McPhee ended his thought there, but it’s hard to imagine great bargains coming when the unrestricted free agent market opens at noon Sunday.

The Caps should have something in the area of $14 million to spend, even taking into account new deals for restricted free agents Mike Green (roughly $5 million), John Carlson (estimated $2.5 million), Mathieu Perreault (estimated $825,000) and Jay Beagle (estimated $825,000).

“But it doesn’t mean you have to use it all now,” McPhee said. “You can use it during the season or at the deadline. It’s expensive to use it now. If you do something, it’s alwas more than the guy’s worth. The question is how much more. The question is, are you trying to trade him by November because he cost so much?”

Last year the Caps signed Joel Ward to a four-year deal worth $12 million, Roman Hamrlik to a two-year deal worth $7 million, Jeff Halpern to a one-year deal worth $825,000 and Tomas Vokoun to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.

With Alexander Semin more than likely out the door, there’s a need for a top-six forward with a scoring touch. Dennis Wideman’s departure (rights traded to the Calgary Flames last week), it’s also believed that Washington could use a mobile defenseman. McPhee said he was comfortable with Dmitry Orlov seeing more minutes.

Will the Caps be quiet in line with McPhee’s observations or make a splash on July 1? Click here for a free agency preview and here for my On Hockey column arguing in favor of making a serious run at Zach Parise.

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