WASHINGTON (AP) - Left wing Jeff Friesen was traded to the Washington Capitals by the New Jersey Devils on Monday for a conditional 2006 draft pick.Okay: so a big, fast, perennial 20-goal scorer with a Cup ring who's a lock for 50-60 points on any team not as horny for defence as the Devils is signed, sealed and delivered at $2.28 million for next season, and all New Jersey could get for him was a conditional draft pick? Did Lamoriello seriously have to wait this long in the off-season for this? Was there really not one other team interested enough in Friesen's abilities to cough up a return even slightly more concrete?
The deal gives the Capitals a proven forward and allows the Devils to trim salary so they can get under the NHL's new $39 million US cap. Friesen is set to make $2.28 million this season.
Forgive my incredulity—I realize the Devils couldn't afford to take on another warm body and were destined to get screwed on any move they made, and also that the Caps have a boatload of cap space to work with. But the time it took to make this move would suggest to me there was some level of competiton for his services, and a conditional deal strikes me as a little baffling. (And, of course, it goes without saying that I would have happily tossed away a third- or fourth-round pick to land Friesen in Edmonton.) If anyone's got a theory, I'm all ears.