Making Room for Alzner

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, July 06, 2011 | , , , | 3 comments »

The Washington Capitals today announced they signed winger Troy Brouwer to a two-year deal, reported to be worth $2.35 million per year.  That's certainly a reasonable contract for a guy that's scored 39 goals the last two years combined, not to mention the physical aspect he brings to the game.

That leaves the Caps with one priority: Signing Karl Alzner.

With the Brouwer signing the Caps are over the salary cap, but the team can carry 10 percent over the cap throughout the summer.  It gives them some time to sign Alzner, then deal to make room.. But where are those deals going to come from?

According to Capgeek.com (and if you don't have it bookmarked, why not?), the Caps are $1.8 million over with 23 players signed for next season.  They currently have the highest payroll in the NHL.  Where do the Caps get relief?

Let's take a look at some of the more obvious candidates:

Tom Poti ($2.875 million):  The veteran defenseman played in just 21 games last season due to a variety of injuries, worst of all his brittle groin.  If the Caps put Poti on the Long Term Injury List, they could save his cap number this season.

Eric Fehr ($2.2 million):  Like Poti, Fehr spent a lot of last season injured, and he's had multiple surgeries on his shoulder.  Reports say he probably will not be ready to play by the start of camp.  But he's still young, and a 20-goal scorer for this team with the limited minutes he gets.  Healthy, and on a team that could give him extensive power play time, he could be a real asset for someone.

Jeff Schultz ($2.75 million): The Caps currently have seven defensemen under contract before Alzner signs.  At the best, it now looks like Schultz will only be the sixth or seventh (or eighth) best defenseman on the team.  Not sure if that warrants the cap hit he carries. But he's big and durable, someone would play him 20 minutes a night.

Jason Chimera ($1.875 million):  Chimera brings a lot of speed and energy, and a fourth line of Chimera-Halpern-Hendricks is awfully enticing.  But his hands of stone really limits him offensive effectiveness for a player making almost $2 million per.

D.J. King ($637,500):  Not a big hit, but still... He was a forgotten player down the stretch, and only managed to dress 16 times the whole season.  This good soldier just doesn't fit into the coach's system or philosophy.  With Hendricks and Brouwer, the Caps have all the pugilists they would need on any given night.  The era of heavyweights is just about finished.

Alexander Semin ($6.7 million): Saved the best and biggest cap hit for last.  What more need be written about The Enigma?  If you could bring back Good Sasha at half the price and let Bad Sasha go, it would be one thing.  The problem with trading him? Where to, and would he report?  A player of his obvious talent would be a real boost to a team's scoring, but he would have to go to a team looking at the cap floor, and those teams generally aren't very attractive to play for, especially for a player that at times has had problems with motivation.  The other problem trading Semin?  None of these problems are a well-kept secret.  For a non-All-Star, he carries more baggage than anyone else in the league.
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(ed. 12:32 pm: I was called out for not including Mike Green on the list, which was fair.)

Mike Green ($5.25 million): I don't think the Caps will entertain offers for Mike Green, but it would be understandable if they did.  He's the most gifted offensive defenseman in the game, and a work in progress on the back end.  He now also carries the stigma of a concussion victim, on top of various other elements that have dramatically affected his performance in the playoffs the last two years, including a bum shoulder. 

3 comments

  1. Jones // July 7, 2011 at 8:23 AM  

    I don't think you can dismiss a Mike Green trade, in my opinion it looks almost inevitable. I really hope he doesn't get traded, but basically if the Caps re-sign Alzner for the sort of amounts being thrown around, then they have 8 NHL defencemen under contract and need to shed the sort of salary that only Green or Semin would clear space for. Maybe trading Wideman would clear enough.

    The way I see it a d-man will have to go. They won't trade Carlson, Hamrlik, Schultz or Erskine I don't think (need the shut-down D and Hamrlik is a new signing) - I don't think Wideman will go (they're big Wideman fans) - that leaves Poti (even if he goes on long-term IR probably won't clear enough space) or Green.

    It's a shame but I think it's almost inevitable that we've seen the end of Mike Green at Washington.

  2. Anonymous // July 7, 2011 at 9:05 AM  

    Why won't they trade Schultz? He brings nothing to the table and for the lack of production he brings, it makes his contract really bad. Schultz is definitley on the trading block.

  3. FAUX RUMORS // July 7, 2011 at 10:01 AM  

    1) Anonymous: I think trading Schulz would be great, but I don't expect it. The team is in love with him
    2) Trading Semin makes the most sense for multiple reasons, but I agree the rest of the NHL probably knows about the issues you correctly wrote about here.
    3) The biggest question I have for GMGM is WHY did u overpay for him? His production doesn't warrent elite type money. 3-4 mil tops!
    4) Perhaps a dopey GM can be found(GMGM have Dale Tallon's phone number on speed dial?)who will accept the guy. Getting ANYTHING back would be a plus, but its addition by subtraction!