Yeah, Boston isn't in the division, but the gag is funnier this way.

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.

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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.

salary

Here’s that same information in table format, again– adapted from capgeek.com. All numbers are millions of US dollars.

Team Forwards Defense Goalies Space Buyout/Other
NYI 27.5 12.0 3.3 20.2 2.2
Carolina 36.4 14.4 7.1 5.4 1.2
Pittsburgh 37.8 19.3 7.0 0.1 0.0
Philadelphia 31.5 34.2 3.2 -2.1 0.1
Columbus 37.0 22.4 6.2 2.0 1.1
New Jersey 34.6 13.4 8.5 7.2 0.9
NY Rangers 34.8 18.8 8.2 3.3 0.0
Washington 37.7 16.6 4.4 5.7 0.0

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.

Observations

  • 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.

     

  • 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.

Grabovski, anyone?

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  • ChimmyChimmyBangBang

    Seems like they’re setting up for next next year (2014-2015) more. With the cap going up and literally everyone signed except Chimera (sorry bud) and Perry we get even more room than you showed here. Especially relative to other Jagr division (It is now officially called that) teams as you alluded to with Giroux, Letang, Rask etc. signings.

    Not saying 2013-14 is lost, but there will be even more room to work the following year. And with Lebron James able to opt out and become a free agent who knows?

  • Benjamin Scarbro

    A little disappointed you didn’t use this beauty.

  • yv

    Good, funny name for division.

    On salary paper, Caps look not bad, but on ice still a lot of room for improvement.
    I would be very much to see the forward lines like this:
    MaJo-Backstrom-Ovi, Erat-Grabovsky-Bouwer, Laich-MP85-Fehr and Latta-Beagle-Ward-Volpatti-Chimmy in any combination. This would be something to expect big, especially if you will have first line, like Kuzya-Backs-Ovi.

    It should be noted that if Islanders also will start spending as others, then players should watch up for their escrow. Players share is estimated from the midpoint, somewhere 54M+_10M? And if all teams will spend up to the cap, as it seems happening, then players will pay for this a lot, unless fans will throw money like crazy for NHL stuff.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’m on your wavelength.

    This is gonna be a very competitive division, and the Caps could have a rough time. I’d love to see planning for 14-15, but I bet GMGM isn’t willing to let the 6-year playoff streak go.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I’m not in love with that 4th line– using Chimera for grinding, Volpatti getting that much ice, or Latta up in the NHL level at all.

    I don’t know how escrow works, but maybe Fedor will have an idea.

  • Michael Blaesing

    What are estimations on Mojo’s new contract? (Should GMGM see fit to give him one, which I believe he will)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • Ryan

    I think Wilson-Latta-Volpatti would be a badass 4th line

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Bad ass? I believe it would be a bad line, perhaps even an ass line, but not bad-ass.

    Latta is a poor skater known for fighting, not backchecking. Wilson may turn out great, but he’s unproven so far (and large prospects tend to elicit non-rational responses), and Volpatti is a replacement-level player.

    Even on a 4th line, the Caps can do better.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Okay, so let me drop some knowledge. Garrett Mitchell, while smaller, is more NHL ready than Latta is currently. Let’s not sleep on him. I’d also love to see Latta tear it up this season in Hershey and earn a promotion as an injury recall. If the Caps aren’t going to give Tom Wilson somewhat decent minutes as well, they’d be better served to let him dominate in Plymouth and take a huge role with Canada’s WJC team.

    Imagine the end of the year though, you get a finely-tuned, hungry Wilson and Kuznetsov. Let’s just hope the Caps can handle this new division and make the playoffs first.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Yeah, last year I was scared about Wilson as a prospect too, just because he’s so large, those types of guys are so hard to predict. Sometimes they have a really difficult time making or adjusting to the NHL level. See former first round pick Joe Finley.

    But Wilson’s a great skater, which eases a lot of my fears, and he can forecheck and hit super well. He just needs to continue working on his stick-handling, hand-eye, offensive instincts but I feel very comfortable (unlike last year) saying he’s going to be a contributor in the NHL and soon. It’s just how good will he be. Will he be a top 6 guy like Lucic? A Chimera 3rd liner? Worse case scenario, a guy who lives on the fourth line and does the rough stuff. He’s already good enough to do that. It’s up to him how far he’s going to progress though.

    And again, I think he’d be well served to go back to Plymouth unless the Caps are planning on giving him the right minutes for his development next year.

  • bskillet

    I unfortunately believe he has already let that streak go, going to be a tough year.

  • Rhino40

    Please God, not the “Jagr” Division–anything but that, I beg you.
    Kundratract“….hahahaha)))))…comedy gold, Peter.

    BTW, for NJD’s cap numbers did you take into consideration that Ilya “$” Kovalkaching Kovalchuk has just announced his retirement at age 30 BAILED ON HIS 12-YEAR $100M+ DEAL TO GO BACK TO RUSSIA?

    Should be interesting to see what the Devs do next…Miroslav Šatan, maybe? The alliterative possibilities for sportswriters are limitless…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Hahaha

    Big change.

  • Rhino40

    I’m gonna take a stab and say it’ll be 1 yr, 1 “milllllllllion” dollars.

  • yv

    Will Jagr change his mind now and go to NJ to complete division name!? Devils now officially screwed and becoming worst than Caps inside the division.

    Kovalchuk’s announcement is absolutely shocking!?! His salary for the next 5 years according to capgeek was in the region of 11-12M$ per year. He leaving behind total 77M$. It also means that he should probably getting within 15M-20M$ per year or, at-least, 10M$ tax-free, from SKA St. Pete. Really head scratcher. Kuznetsov’s alleged salary should be nothing compare to Kovys.
    You start thinking about Caps players, especially if chances to improve the team will remain bleak?

  • Whudafuqdidyousay

    The pictures of Jagr look like a weather map tracking the progress of a …..Hurricane

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    WAY TO SCREW UP MY CHART KOVY

  • johnnymorte

    I’ll take some Grabovski in my cup please. I think this guy could round out well with Erat. Grabovski had disagreements with Carlyle, which shows that he still has some fire under him. It would be a smart move to lock him up on a short-term no risk deal.