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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Brouwer Signs - Alzner Next - Then What?

As George McPhee continues his business process redesign of the Washington Capitals, another domino fell on Wednesday.  RFA Troy Brouwer signed a 2-year deal with the Caps at $2.35M per year.

But there is no rest for the weary George McPhee.  And there certainly is no end in sight for the over analyzing I am doing about the Caps' capology.

With Brouwer signed, Capgeek now has the Caps at a full 23-man roster.  The wonderful site also says that the Caps are roughly $1.8M above the salary cap.

But Tom Poti is on the roster.  And, again, he is all but LTIR'd.  He has to be.  So you take his $2.875M out of the equation and all of a sudden the Caps are about $1M under.

Of course, Karl Alzner still needs to be signed.  If you look back to my last post, I have him pegged at the $2M to $2.3M range.

Now, I was a little high with my $3M guess for Brouwer.  Hopefully, I am a little high on my Alzner assumption as well.

The point is this:  any money given to Karl Alzner that exceeds $1M will put the Washington Capitals above the salary cap.  And, in theory, once he is signed and Poti is LTIR'd, the Caps are at their "ideal roster".

So unless George McPhee signs Alzner for under $1M (highly doubtful) - someone needs to go.  And is there anyone who can "go" and shed enough salary without significantly altering the quality of the roster?

I go through some of this in my last post, but if you get rid of a guy like Semin who has a large contract, you are significantly reducing the offensive talent.

And if you get rid of a less expensive guy like Chimera or Fehr (who aren't as talented as Semin) - you still have to replace them on the roster.  So there is only a minor net cap savings in the end if you move one of these guys.

Further, it is one thing for George McPhee to get the Caps under the cap by the time the season rolls around.

But is it healthy to be right at the salary cap - or does there need to be a buffer (say, $5M) between the Caps' payroll and the salary cap in case they need to make a move during the season?

Only time will tell.  But, I fear that if the Caps are just at the salary cap and then someone like Semin (if still on team), Ward, or Laich is proven unworthy of their contract - the Caps are up a creek without a paddle.

These guys become virtually untradeable.  Only one of those three guys are on a short term contract.  Can you seriously see the Caps burying Joel Ward (fresh off signing a 4-year deal) or Brooks Laich (6-year deal) in Hershey?

And if you bury Semin in Hershey for the season - then you've got to use a high draft pick to get some talent back.  Because Semin may have issues, but you can't just drop his ass off the roster and have the Caps be the same team......

Anyway, we'll just wait and see what happens with Alzner and the subsequent fallout.  But I have a feeling things could get very, very dicey once we know what Alzner is making this season.

Either the Caps will have to say goodbye to someone who they'd prefer not to - or they'll be right at the salary cap with little-to-no margin for error.

Who says that the summer isn't interesting?

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