Now that the last echoes of the free agency starting gun have faded, NHL signings have settled down to a more sedate pace. Most hockey transactions of late involved AHLers or depth players.
Yet a significant stable of hockey talent remains available. And as we all know, leftovers can still be pretty darned tasty.
“[Mike] Johnson is among a group of unrestricted free-agent forwards that also still includes Michael Peca, Eric Lindros, Alexei Yashin, Jason Allison, Anson Carter, Tony Amonte, Jeff Friesen, Josef Vasicek, Denis Arkhipov, Peter Bondra, Patrik Stefan, Petr Nedved, Martin Gelinas, Arron Asham, Chris Simon, Nils Ekman, Ronald Petrovicky, Ville Nieminen, Travis Green, Jeff O’Neill, Jan Bulis, Adam Hall and Dimitri Afanasenkov, among others.
‘Danny Markov, meanwhile, is arguably the top defenceman left on the unrestricted market. Others available include Andy Sutton, Brent Sopel, David Tanabe, Patrice Brisebois, Bryan Berard, Janne Niinimaa and Nolan Pratt.
“Markov, who turns 31 at the end of the month, was plus-25 in 66 regular-season games with Detroit last season, while also putting up 16 points (4-12). His camp is in talks with three or four teams.” 
I hope the Capitals are among those pursuing Markov. He’s that hard-nosed stay-at-home defender everyone hates to play against — and he’d fill the fourth and final hole in the Caps’ roster, nicely rounding out a superb summer of acquisitions.
Many talented Capitals youngsters are close to filling that role . . . but none are ready to go like Markov is right now. Of course we have no idea at this point what Markov wants in contract dollars/duration, so he may not be a realistic option; but from a talent perspective he seems an excellent fit.
Who else would look good in red, white, and blue next season? If the price is right, Sopel or Tanabe could be relatively safe depth signings. Though really, only Markov has me excited from that list of blueliners.
While the Caps’ crop of forwards is bounteous — some might say verging on overcrowded — RW Anson Carter could be a solid addition to the team for a reasonable 1- or 2-year deal. Peter Forsberg is missing from the above list, though he may retire; even if not, his price would likely be far too steep to justify after signing Michael Nylander.
If the Capitals choose to stand pat, the Nylander-Kozlov-Poti trifecta has this writer/fan quite satisfied. Acquiring a bruising defenseman would be icing on the cake — whether with one more UFA signing or, perhaps even better, via trade.
OFB readers: Who, if anyone, among the UFAs do you think would be a good fit for the Caps? Or should they eschew the remaining free agents and stand pat (or go the trade route)?