This is something I've been wanting to bring up for a while now, but never had the chance to. Why a placeholder? I'll answer that now.
A lot of people here say "damn everything, sign Gomez, and who cares how much it costs or how it affects the Caps salary cap!" OK, so let's say we sign Gomez at $6-7 mill/yr. And IT WILL cost that, the Flyers and Rangers are already rumored to be interested, and those teams have a history of overpaying FAs. So let's say Backis blossoms as the second line guy, putting up 80 points or better, maybe even 100. So now you've got two #1 centers, and you'll be paying #1 salaries to both. Plus Ovie and Semin ain't gonna come cheap either. Now you've got a Tampa Bay situation where you're paying most of your team payroll to only a few guys and you can't spend money to fix glaring holes. Basically you're screwed. You'll hurt your team by dealing one of your high priced stars, but can't improve any unless you do. If you sign Yashin cheaply and he finds chemistry with Ovie or Semin, and Backis becomes what we think he'll become, then we're fine, no need for further tuning. Or we cut him loose after his contract and look for another affordable alternative. This year's crop of UFAs is almost certainly going to be overpriced, but it might not be that way a few years down the line. We might find a cheaper alternative to Gomez two or three years from now, who can put up almost the same numbers. And still have cap room to address other holes that may exist.
End of story
You may have mis-interpreted what I said - in this case you are preaching to the choir.
While the fan-boy in me wants Gomez - we have to temper ourselves into knowing that it won't happen. Besides, the smart decision is to get some gifted centers into the system through the draft, not piss away cap space. Leonsis has made it clear that the rewards will go to the good soldiers brought up through the system.
I'd like to see Ovechkin with two big and skilled forwards, e.g:
It would probably cost the Caps around 6M to put a line like this together, same as it would cost to bring in a Briere/Gomez/Drury, had they actually considered playing in DC. And I think the result would be significantly greater than the sum of the parts, in this case. Until the Caps' D becomes better, they could really use a top line that can keep the puck in the offensive zone.
You can argue about whether or not a top line like that can make the Caps a contender, but, IMO, it would definitely be good enough to help get the Caps to the playoffs. And once the Caps establish themselves as a playoff team, becoming attractive to top free agents and giving Leonsis the incentive to open up the pockets a bit more, then they can go after the very best players and try to become a better puck-moving team.
The thing that worries me about Yashin is his agent. Yashin will come in and do his job pretty well, probably better than the alternatives, as long as you you don't count on him to energize and lead the team. But Gandler is a guy who will probably sell his mother for an extra .5M. I'd hate to see him get extra leverage on the Caps with Semin AND Yashin.