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.
Photo credit: Christopher Pasatieri
There is more than one team that needs a second-line center at the deadline. With a thin pool to draw from it may be easier for the Capitals to secure the services of a unicorn than a pivot to provide auxiliary scoring. With $7,357,085 in cap space available for Washington, RMNB takes a look at who may be attractive candidates.
Photo credit: Greg Fiume
Signing Alexander Semin to a one-year extension was a good move. It limits the Capitals exposure to the potential downside if he doesn’t preform to expectations and lets them remain flexible enough to trade Semin if they choose. And while we are on the subject of Alex contracts, do you think there will come a time where Washington will feel constrained by Ovechkin’s monster deal?
When the Twitterverse found out that the Caps would make a “significant player announcement”, speculation ran wild:
The answer was revealed today: Nicklas Backstrom has signed a 10-year/$67 million contract extension with the Washington Capitals. I know what you are thinking: “That’s a lot of IKEA furniture!” However, Backstrom was due to become a restricted free agent July 1st, but now my unborn children may have an opportunity to see a Backstrom-to-Ovechkin goal.
A new question presents itself: Is Backstrom one of the biggest bargains in the NHL, or will he be a cap buster for years to come?
Before I jump into the fray, there are a few things I wanted to note upfront:
(1) I don’t have any experience writing about hockey.
(2) And I’m coming at this from the perspective of a baseball analyst, so that’s where my base is. I know baseball and hockey are very different sports – especially since in hockey there is much more interaction between players and a team can be more (or less) than the sum of its parts.
(3) There will be cold, heartless calculations done. I don’t care a lick about the players (in this context). To me they’re just assets, like houses. You can have a really nice house – worth $10 M – but if the mortgage on it is for $15 M then it’s not actually very good for you. Hockey is a business, so there are revenues and costs (like players). If a player is worth $5 M but is paid $6 M, then that’s a bad deal for the team. If he’s paid $4 M, then the team has found $1 M in excess value.
(4) There will be numbers, many of which I make assumptions about and do hand-wavy things with. Precision would be great, but I don’t quite have the tools or the available data at my disposal to do things completely accurately.
Alrighty then. So, what should the Capitals do about Alexander Semin? I’m going to go through each option to the best of my ability, to see which branch bears the best fruit.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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