Friday, July 15, 2011

Sittin' at the end of the bar...Camp Iwannabeacapital Edition

Day 5 at Camp Iwannabeacapital, and the biggest news wasn’t on the ice. Caps Nation can breathe a sigh of relief, for Karl Alzner has been re-signed to a two-year, $2.57 million contract.

That’s $2.57 million over two years, not for each of two years.

The Alzner signing caps (no pun intended) three months of obtaining signatures on contracts, and among the things that are noteworthy about them, it is that as a group, the signees are a bargain. Here is how the signings break down with their new salary cap hits compared to their previous cap hits:

Individually, perhaps, the bargains are not universal – the contracts of Brooks Laich and Joel Ward might be considered a bit high for the roles they would be expected to play – but here we have eight free agents (six unrestricted free agents – or about to achieve that status -- two restricted free agents) who collectively were signed for a cap hit that was a little over $1.9 million less than the aggregate value of their previous cap hits.

Cutting the issue from a different direction, the Caps managed to resign three of their own free agents (or free agents to be) to a combined $1.24 million higher price tag, which would appear to be manageable given that the total salary cap is increasing by $4.9 million in 2011-2012.

But the key has been in what is on the “replacement” side of the equation. This isn’t entirely a “free agent” effect, but it plays a front and center role. There are reasonably clear swaps that were undertaken in this off-season. For example, Boyd Gordon out, Jeff Halpern in. Matt Bradley out, Jay Beagle in. Eric Fehr out, Troy Brower in, and so on. In all, seven players departed that had a combined cap hit of $17.3 million last season. Six of them have contracts for next season (Scott Hannan is, as of this date, unsigned) with a combined cap hit of $12.4 million. The six players replacing them on the Caps’ roster have a combined cap hit of only $11.7 million.

While the Caps stand at the top of the salary cap pile at the moment and are about $890,000 over the caps at the moment, they have positioned themselves rather well given the talent that was obtained to replace those players who departed. And looking at what those players secured in terms of their own deals, resigning them in Washington might have put the Caps in a tighter bind than that in which they find themselves at the moment. It was a pretty good job overall in managing the cap number overall, and Alzner’s signing is the cherry on top of the sundae.

Meanwhile, over at Camp Iwannabeacapital, Day 5 was interesting to watch, given that on Thursday the prospects had the motivation of a scrimmage. Friday was back to drills and “systems.” After four days and the fact that the objects of the exercise are largely teenagers, attention might wander. And it helps to have another voice in the room, so to speak, such as the guest coach for the week – Steve Spott of the Kitchener Rangers. His leading some of the drills gives the guys a different look and a different voice that might provide the right kind of a change of pace to keep them engaged.

The fact that they are deep into the week looked to have taken its toll by the end of the morning session, though, when Bruce Boudreau was putting the players through their last drills. There were frequent whistles, lots of pointing and prodding by Boudreau. It just didn’t seem as if the focus was there, but they were kept out on the ice until they got things closer to right.

Tomorrow will be the last chance for the young guys to make an impression, and they are likely to do it before a big crowd. It should be a fitting end to the week.


Snktimoniuz said...

As always, a well-written treatment; but don't you think you should remove any outliers from your data before drawing a conclusion? Vokoun

The Peerless said...

No. We are not performing any hypothesis testing or sophisticated statistical analysis here. It is the universe of signings compared with themselves in terms of previous compensation and current compensation offered by other teams.