Roman Hamrlik is the newest member of the Capitals’ blue line, and shortly after Coach Bruce Boudreau received confirmation about the signing, he said he began considering a possible defensive partner for the veteran of 18 NHL seasons.
The most appealing seems to be pairing Hamrlik, 37, with Mike Green. While Green is the club’s best offensive defenseman, Hamrlik is regarded more as a stay-at-home presence who also possesses a scoring touch.
“I’ve gone through a lot of [pairings] in my mind right now, but I think once you start putting them on paper and looking at the 25 different line combinations you have, you’ll find something,” Boudreau said. “You’ll have to see them play together to see how they mesh, too. I mean, right now it sounds like a really good combination, Green and Hamrlik, but only time will tell.”
Hamrlik, according to McPhee, turned down a three-year deal to sign with Washington for $7 million over two years. Additional incentive to sign Hamrlik came from the uncertainty surrounding veteran defenseman Tom Poti’s groin injury, which kept him out almost all of last season.
McPhee indicated he was unsure if Poti would be back next season, and thus acquiring a healthy, dependable blue liner became a top priority during free agency.
“He’s always been a good player,” McPhee said of Hamrlik, “and he might be a very good fit with Mike Green right now because Mike Green brings a lot of speed, and Hamrlik brings some real good sense, puck movement and good defensive play, so that was our thinking, but you just don’t know if they’re going to be available.”