Caps Re-Sign Brooks Laich… What Now?

Today is a good day. You can put an extra ice cube in your glass this summer night, and toast to Brooks Laich. He is a great Capital and almost a great NHL player. If the Caps ever win a Cup, you can be sure that he’ll play a big role.

At 28 years young, “Brooksie” inked six years for $27 million. Four and a half per year. Without question, he’s a very valuable member of the team. But as an objective hockey insider, I have to say that he makes a half million more than Joe Pavelski and a full million more than Jordan Staal. Those guys both have four-year contracts, and the latter kissed the Cup.

It’s still a good day because the Caps are a team of honor that sticks to their word, and more importantly, their plan. Since the beginning of these new Capitals adventures, management has always maintained that they will develop players and then sign them to long term deals. The Caps are in a great position, but how great?

Washington currently services 11 forwards and seven defensemen. They have qualifying offers out to Karl Alzner, Francois Bouchard, Troy Brouwer, Mathieu Perreault and Semyon Varlamov. That would technically give them 23 players which is the maximum. They can get out of this by keeping Perreault and Bouchard with the Hershey Bears.

Right now the Caps have about $9 million in cap space. Alzner could get anywhere from $3 million to $5 million. Current top line defensemen Jeff Schultz and Mike Green make $2.75 million and $5.25 million, respectively. Brouwer is getting a raise from $1.5 million, so the Caps won’t have much to work with. If another team wants to fork up big money for any of the Caps’ players, the nature of the business could take over.

Varlamov comes to mind as a prospective RFA target. Boyd Gordon, an unrestricted free agent, has not received an offer from the team. Gordon’s agent says the Capitals told him they would have made an offer by last week.

As far as free agent pickups, the Caps haven’t been too keen on it in recent years. Trading has been a far better option given their talent in the system.

While a Brad Richards pickup isn’t likely, Cody Eakin and Dmitri Orlov are exciting players that have a good chance of making the team this year. Zenon Konopka and Jussi Jokinen are two players that jump out as good deals in this year’s free agent crop. Konopka could be a particularly good option, because he is a REALLY tough guy who wins a lot of faceoffs.

In the coming weeks expect the Caps to try and sign all of their RFA’s. The longer these things go, the more they start to stink.

Maybe the Caps will make a shallow-end splash in the free agent pool?

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