Friday, July 4, 2008

Washington's Tail of the Cap

At this point in time the Caps have about 80% of their team signed up for next season. They have 4 restricted free agents to sign and have made it clear they would also like to bring Sergei Fedorov back for next season. So let us take a look at the current salary cap situation and see what the team is looking at.

Current Salary Commitment:

Name

Position

Cap Salary

OVECHKIN, ALEXANDER

L

$ 9,538,461.54

GREEN, MIKE

D

$ 5,250,000.00

NYLANDER, MICHAEL

C

$ 4,875,000.00

SEMIN, ALEXANDER

L

$ 4,600,000.00

THEODORE, JOSE

G

$ 4,500,000.00

POTI, TOM

D

$ 3,500,000.00

CLARK, CHRIS

R

$ 2,633,333.33

KOZLOV, VIKTOR

C

$ 2,500,000.00

POTHIER, BRIAN

D

$ 2,500,000.00

BACKSTROM, NICKLAS

C

$ 2,400,000.00

ALZNER, KARL

D

$ 1,675,000.00

BRASHEAR, DONALD

L

$ 1,200,000.00

BRADLEY, MATT

R

$ 1,000,000.00

JURCINA, MILAN

D

$ 881,250.00

JOHNSON, BRENT

G

$ 812,500.00

SCHULTZ, JEFF

D

$ 763,888.89

FLEISCHMANN, TOMAS

C

$ 725,000.00

ERSKINE, JOHN

D

$ 537,500.00

STECKEL, DAVID

L

$ 512,500.00

Contract Buy Out


$ 250,000.00

As it stands now the Caps have $50,654,433.76 in committed salary. With the cap ceiling set at $56,700,000 the Caps have $6,045,566.24 left. In an unfortunate circumstance Brian Pothier will most likely be given long term injury status. This will allow the Caps to exceed the cap by the amount of his salary. That would give the Caps $8,545,566.24 in remaining salary that they would be allowed to spend.

The first area to address is the restricted free agents. The Cap’s restricted free agents are centers Boyd Gordon and Brooks Laich, right wing Eric Fehr, and defensemen Shaone Morrisonn. Gordon, Laich, and Morrisonn are eligible for salary arbitration. I believe they have until July 5th to file for an arbitration hearing. From the reports I have seen (and cannot remember where to give you a link) Fehr is expected to accept his qualifying offer of $735,000. This number comes from NHLSCap.com. Brooks Laich is the most talked about contract of the four. Apparently, the team and Laich’s camp are not close in their negotiations. Last year Laich went to arbitration and won his case and a $725,000 contract for the 2007-08 season. Reports vary but his agent is looking for more than two times that amount. Boyd Gordon made $650,000 last season and his qualifying offer was $715,000. Shaone Morrisonn made $900,000 in 2007-08 and is looking for a bit of a raise after being the defensive end of the Cap’s #1 defense pairing. I have not seen anything on how much he’s looking for but defensemen have been getting a lot money this free agent season.

So let’s make some predictions. These are purely hypothetical and I have no real basis for them but why not. We’ll assume the reports on Fehr are correct and he will make $735,000. I would think Gordon will be in the $800,000 range. Morrisonn signs at $1,200,000 and Brooks Laich signs a $2,000,000 contract. That gives a total for the four of $4,735,000. This would leave the Caps with $3,810,566.24 of salary cap room.

Well, you can sign Fedorov that amount can’t you? Of course you can and your entire cap is spent. The team would have 24 players with 1 on injured reserve. The maximum roster allowance is 23 players so that is fine. However, say two of our right wings go down, the Caps would have no ability to recall a player from Hershey to replace them. Players on injured reserve don’t count against the roster limit but they do count against the salary cap. This would severely limit the team’s ability to deal with injuries. They would also be unable to promote any of their prospects who are doing well in the minors and give them some experience playing in the NHL. That is why you see the $2,000,000 amount associated with Fedorov. This is about as much the Caps can afford and not put themselves in a serious bind with personnel.With $1.8 million of cap room they can promote 2 of there top prospects without going over the cap.

So it becomes a question of risk. How much can you afford to pay Fedorov and not expose the team to undo risk. Sure we all want Sergei to comeback to the Caps but for how much. We'll have to wait and see how things pan out but it makes for great conversation. What do you think?


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