I'm a visitor from other boards, so I'll just be brief and come out in front with a straight question:
Osala and Lepistö - where would you see these two talented Finns in the next year's team, could both be reasonably playing for the big team as soon as next week? I'd love to see Osala to do the same magic in the NHL that he's done with his record-breaking linemate this year in the AHL, and would love Lepistö to get more experience up aswell, learn from Green and get even more adjusted. I have high hopes for both of them as future core players somewhere in the league..
Osala has been a healthy scratch in Hershey in the last week, there's a few people in front of him in line for that spot. Heck, we're scratching Clark and either steckel or gordon every night, one of them might take that spot.
I kinda thought Osala would be able to handle the long grind of an AHL season with his experience in the OHL...but he's certainly hit a wall of sorts. (Same with Perreault and Bouchard). 3 goals in 21 games for Osala. As for next year...he'll start in Hershey and get a call here and there. I think Bourque has the inside line at making the jump full time (if there is space).
Sami...I just don't know. I like him and want him to stay...but I'm not sure that is going to happen.
If Kozlov is not brought back, we could start next season with an open RW slot.
I think that fehr would be given every opportunity to take that spot before osala was called up. There's also bourque to think about too.
Sami really looks to have a size and strength issue in his own zone. I love what he can do with the puck (good passer and a cannon from the point), but he gets pushed around a lot by NHL forwards in his own end.
Osala - link to AHL stats link ; Osala just turned 21yo in December, something to keep in mind, IMO, as it relates to his development. He has played in all but 3 games with Hershey this season. The last game against WBS when he was a healthy scratch and 2 games due to the Caps call-up.
He has slowed down lately, as have his 2 rookie linemates, Bouchard and Perreault. Not that I thought his pace through November would continue, but there has been a significant drop-off. FWIW, of the three in the recent games I have seen, he has been the most consistent recently, but no question he has slowed and his offensive contributions (and the line's contributions) are less than they were. He is still tied for second on the Bears in goal scoring and leads the Bears in plus/minus at this time. He has never had a quick first stride, not a surprise given his size, but his skating hasn't looked as strong in in recent games. Season to date 46GP, 19G 12A 31Pts +21 24PIMs. Even with the 2 seasons of OHL hockey, I am not surprised he has hit a bit of a wall given his age/size and the schedule. Also, the Bears are healthier than they have been in awhile so they are back to scratching players and it made sense to let Osala watch a game.
I think he has a shot at a roster spot if he has a solid camp, but the waiver status and roster depth depending on trades/signings between now and then are unknowns as has been pointed out. I think how long a season he plays and his opportunity to train this summer will have an impact, too, as it will for many of the players.
Lepisto - A few points about Lepisto's contract situation this summer...He will be waiver exempt to start next season unless he plays a few more games this season. I have to look up whether he is considered 22 or 23yo for waiver purposes, but either way it is 3 seasons from signing (May 2007 for 2007-2008 season as season 1), the question is 70 vs 60 NHL (regular season and playoff) games played, respectively, as the threshhold. He will be RFA with arbitration rights this summer. He's considered 22yo (age as of Sept 15, 2007) for salary arbitration purposes. His QO will be a two-way, one year offer. The NHL portion of his QO should be for 105% of his 2008-09 salary or 105% of 675,000 (IIRC, this is his salary, but I have to look it up) = 708,750.
Question I have: If he doesn't get any more games played with the Capitals and he isn't traded before/at the deadline or before QOs are due, while I expect the Caps to extend him a QO, does Lepisto sign it?
I have thought since the last demotion that Lepisto is a prospect that could be traded for many of the reasons already noted, including his obvious drop in the organizational depth chart/from org's (and specifically, Boudreau's perspective.) I suspect that he is traded at the deadline or at the draft, but if he isn't, I wonder if he holds out and doesn't sign a 2 way offer knowing that he will be waiver exempt to start the season. No inside info., I just wonder if he would want to spend another season, at least start of the season, in the AHL/Hershey. He struggled after he was sent down, but recently in the games I have seen has been more effective again. I'm a fan of his puck movement and his low shot from the point that often gets through or can be deflected on its way to the net. No question he struggled at times in his own end in his games with the Caps and he needs to add some strength, as well as gain some confidence/consistency to play at the NHL level (some of the issues Fleischmann was facing a season ago and was noted at the time by some of us.) I wonder whether he will be given another chance in this organization to gain that confidence/consistency.
Last edited by sk84fun_dc: 02-02-2009 at 02:10 PM.
Reason: trying to shorten the post, LOL
As much as I think Lepisto can be a decent player in the league someday, I don't think that spot is here. Too many other talented prospects, and he hasn't done enough to distance himself from others yet. Carlson for what its worth makes him expendable.
I wouldn't be shocked to see him in a package for a player at the deadline (he is exactly what many teams would be looking for, young, cheap, puck moving defenseman ready to step into the NHL right away without a 2-3 year development time). If not, then for a pick or player at the draft. Pending on our needs and situation.
Osala is probably at least another year before he starts making a significant push. 10-11, I would expect him to spend most of the time here.
Sad to hear that line was dropped off lately, last time I checked the charts and information they seemed to be onto something. At times it looks like people are rooting for Osala to become the next Finnish phenom, come the Olympics so he would push people like Miettinen and Jarkko Ruutu off the team, so it seems they definitely are a bit disillusional with his development curve. And I hope for your sake and Sami's that a trade of sorts would happen, like you said, so he could start getting some more changes up, and you guys could get something for his value - or his potential.