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Who Are The Washington Capitals Untouchables?

Many say no one can’t be traded. Agents tell their clients to always be prepared, relating to the time in history when Wayne Gretzky was dealt. The Capitals roster features some big names including Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, players you think won’t be traded but you never know. Below are a few names that should never be considered being moved from the Washington Capitals roster in the years to come.

Nicklas Backstrom

Backstrom, 24, is signed through the 2019-2020 season and is going to be Washington’s first line center for quite a long time. He has been playing in Washington since the 2007-2008 season when he immediately made an impact. Backstrom totaled 14 goals and 15 assists in his rookie season with the Capitals, including four goals and two assists in seven playoff games.

He followed up his rookie year with two outstanding offensive seasons, posting 88 and 101 points respectively. Following his first three seasons in Washington, Backstrom’s offensive performance has declined. He registered 65 points in the 2010-2011 campaign, still a good year, but not close to his previous production.

This past season, Backstrom battled through injuries posting a solid 44 points in only 42 games. He looks to regain his scoring touch and stay healthy in the upcoming season and will be a key figure for the Capitals in the many years to come.

He is locked in with Washington for a long time and should never be moved. He still has room to improve and is one of the best two way forwards in the entire NHL. He should enter the season as the number one season alongside Alex Ovechkin and another winger, possibly Troy Brouwer.

He’s a core player for the Capitals moving forward and is just getting started.

Brooks Laich

Laich, 29, enters 2012-2013 campaign in his second season since signing a long term deal to stay in Washington. The Capitals’ fan favorite signed a six year, 27 million contract before the 2011-2012 season keeping him in Washington through the 2016-2017 season. He holds a limited no trade clause through the 2014-2015 season, meaning Laich can list five teams before the beginning of the season he would deny a trade to.

A trade is almost out of the question however, the Capitals lack scoring and wouldn’t want to move a player in their long term plans and most importantly one of their team leaders. Laich has achieved four straight forty point seasons while bringing solid defensive play down the middle.

This season should will be one where Laich must provide guidance to the younger players while looking to provide offense following the departure of Alexander Semin.

Laich provides solid fore-check play at the third line center position, also contributing to the Capitals penalty kill. He’s a core player and his contributions on and off the ice have been very valuable to the Washington Capitals and should continue for the future.

Mike Green

Mike Green has fought through injury the past two seasons and looks to rebound in the 2012-2013 campaign. He resigned with the Capitals this offseason, inking for three years earning him around six million per season.

His health is a key concern heading into the regular season and he looks to be ready to go. Green has the ability to return as the top offensive defense-man in the NHL, but his numbers will be determined by Adam Oates strategy going into this season. He will likely be paired with Roman Hamrlik on the first defensive pairing and will also spend time at the point on Washington’s first power play unit.

He should continue to develop as a defensively reliable player on Washington’s blue line and could eventually be used in late game situations when Washington is protecting a one goal lead. He can be a mentor for other young Capitals defense-men such as John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov and could potentially become an alternate captain in the future.

John Carlson

Carlson, 22, plays a very similar game to Green and could eventually put up numbers like Green did in his best years. Carlson was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2008 NHL entry draft and will be entering his third full season in Washington this fall. He will play alongside his long time defense partner, Karl Alzner on the second pairing.

Carlson will also spend time on the second power play unit, looking to add to his offensive production. Like the offensive minded Green, Carlson needs to polish his defensive game. He posted great numbers in the 2011-2012 season, registering 7 goals and 30 assists along with an outstanding plus 21 under Bruce Boudreau.

Last season, Carlon’s numbers clearly regressed. The right handed defense-man posted 9 goals and 23 assists, but struggled defensively posting a minus 15. Dale Hunter’s system had a big impact on Carlon’s numbers, but Carlson needs to become better defensively like his partner, Karl Alzner. He is currently a restricted free agent and still is not close to a deal.

Washington should aim to lock up Carlson for at least four years and Carlson could potentially earn anywhere from 3.5-5 million annually. The young defense-man could receive an offer sheet, but Washington would match with no question about it.

Braden Holtby

Holtby, 22, stepped into the spotlight in Washington’s playoff run last year and posted phenomenal numbers. The confident Capitals net-minder registered seven wins in fourteen playoff games including a 1.95 goals against average along with a .935 save percentage.

He looks to take over the starting role in goal moving forward in the nation’s capital, battling Michal Neuvirth to become the franchise goalie. The young tandem will share the starts in goal, but Holtby will likely receive the majority of the playing time between the pipes. Holtby will become a restricted free agent next off season and Washington should look to lock him up long term.

If he gets on a roll at the beginning of the season, Washington should extend their fourth round pick from the 2008 NHL entry draft for at least three years, earning Holtby in the range of 3-4 million per season. He’s a player he could easily receive an offer sheet from a team looking to add young talent and Washington needs to avoid this at all costs.

Filip Forsberg

Fosberg, 18, was selected by Washington with the eleventh pick of this year’s NHL entry draft and could become a big piece in making the Capitals a cup favorite once again. He’ s a young forward with high offensive skill and could potentially put up 30 goals per year consistently when he makes an impact in Washington. He’s a future first line forward and a potential power play specialist and will be an important member of the Capitals core moving forward.

Forsberg will spend the upcomingg season in Sweden before playing in North America in the 2013-2014 season. He could spend time in Hershey or Washington during the 2013-2014 campaign, but it will all depend on Capitals management and if there’s room for him in a top six forward role.

I believe it would be better for the Capitals to ease him into the North American game, but Washington is in dire need of offensive scoring threats. Although a few years away, Washington is surely keeping tabs on their future star.

Where’s Ovechkin?

You might be asking yourself, isn’t Alex Ovechkin untouchable? In my opinion, he’s not. He holds a cap hit close to ten million per season through the 2020-2021 season and isn’t getting any younger. Capitals fans have seen a decrease in Ovechkin’s scoring numbers since the 2007-2008 regular season and Ovechkin posted only 65 points last season, largely due to a slow start.

His no-trade clause kicks in at the start of the 2014-2015 season and he could potentially draw interest from a smaller market team in need of reaching the cap floor and attempting to sell tickets. One team could possibly be the New York Islanders. A team like the Islanders could trade multiple first round picks and young players such as Michael Grabner and Ryan Strome.

While the NHL season may be in doubt, one thing is certain, none of these players should be moved by the Washington Capitals anytime soon.

You can follow Matthew on twitter @m_speck and email him at mspeck21@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.