With the signing of Karl Alzner, the Washington Capitals are just one Johansson-shaped puzzle piece away from finalizing its roster for 2013-14. Maybe. There’s still a lot of time to make moves between now and October, but what we see now might resemble the opening-night lineup. Most of the other teams in Division D (aka the Patrick++ Division, aka the “Jagr” Division) have already set their teams, so we’ve got an interesting– if a bit premature– idea of how those general managers have allocated their salary for next season.
In short: George McPhee has pinched his pennies on defense and opened up his wallet George Jetson-style for forwards.
I raided capgeek.com again. All my data come from that site, which is amazing.
This chart shows how each time in Division D is shaping up to spend its cash in 2013-14.
Here’s that same information in table format, again– adapted from capgeek.com. All numbers are millions of US dollars.
Two quick caveats: Other includes non-compliance buyouts and retained salary, in the case of Carolina footing the bill for Jussi Jokinen on the Penguins. Also, as of Wednesday the New York Islanders still do not have a backup for Evgeni Nabokov in net, and they’ve barely got a full defense.
- The Washington Capitals have a lot of money left to spend and no buyouts weighing them down.
- New Jersey spends the most on its goaltending, Philly the least. Once the Islanders secure a #2 goalie, the Caps might have the second cheapest goalie tandem in the division, a pretty decent one at that.
- As Neil Greenberg also notes on Twitter, George McPhee has been darn thrifty when it comes to defense and goaltending.
Ding #Caps GMGM all you want, but spending a little more than $11mil on two top pair dmen and two goalies is good cap management.
— Neil Greenberg (@ngreenberg) July 10, 2013
- As Fedor Fedin mentioned two week ago, the Kundratek contract (the Kundratract?) is a shining example of financial decisions McPhee has made that appear to be giving the team space to work with should they need it. (And I think they will.)
- The Philadelphia Flyers, on the other hand, are spending oodles on defense– even if Chris Pronger’s $4.9M ends up a full write-off. Lucky for them, buying out Ilya Bryzgalov’s Haynesworth-ian contract has given them a reprieve, but they’re still in trouble– particularly once Claude Giroux’s new $8.2M contract hits next year.
- The New York Islanders are not now, nor have they ever been, a salary cap team. They’re like the frugal dude who asks for double beans and extra cheese on his burrito bowl at 3 in the afternoon with the hope that one meal will cover him all day. They’re the me of hockey.
- The two biggest spenders on offense are the Penguins and the Capitals: just under $38M each. Washington, however, still has cap room to make improvements and become the biggest spender in the division. Meanwhile, the Pens are bumping up against the salary cap already. Letang’s new deal next year should make for fun armchair GMing in Allegheny County next summer.
Again: it’s a loooong way til opening night. These numbers will change. But the Capitals have a lot of room to make moves if they deem moves need be made. The deal that Karl Alzner signed is a big bargain for the team, and it frees them up to sign Marcus Johansson and possibly make another acquisition. And if the Caps are willing to deal anyone away, anything is possible.