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Salary cap effects of Nicklas Backstrom's new deal

May 17, 2010, 3:45 PM EDT

backstromnew.jpgEarlier today it was announced that the Washington Capitals signed their star center Nicklas Backstrom to a 10-year, $67 million contract. Previously I had detailed the fact that the team will be going into the summer with a ton of flexibility but the signing of Backstrom could be a make-or-break moment for their long-term chances.

As many have said on Twitter and elsewhere, Backstrom’s contract was a great value … at least from a cap hit perspective. Personally, I have some misgivings about all these “lifetime” contracts, but there’s no doubt that getting Backstrom for that little is brilliant. Here’s an updated version of the salary cap outlook I provided last time. Figures are taken from the invaluable

2010-11 cap commitments as of today (some amounts were rounded up to keep it simple):

Forwards (7 of required 12): Ovechkin (9.54); Backstrom (6.7); Semin (6); Knuble (2.8); Laich (2.06); Chimera (1.875); Steckel (1.1); Bradley (1)

Defense (5 of 6): Green (5.25); Poti (3.5); Erskine (1.25); Carlson (846K); Sloan (700k)

Goalies (1 of 2): Varlamov (822k)

Cap Space: About $13.35 million

Cap Space if they add Karl Alzner: About $11.675 million

Cap Space with Alzner and Michal Neuvirth: About $10.86 million

Some analysis after the jump.

theodore.jpgSo, the Capitals are in a fantastic situation to improve their team. They could either decide to go with a young goaltending duo or go after a free agent goalie such as Marty Turco or Evgeni Nabokov. They will need to fill 5 forward spots (including perhaps a second line center) although they could some fill spots with minor leaguers. Once they flesh out their roster, they could consider going after a shutdown defenseman or maybe even make their offense more ridiculous.

The team has a couple wildcards as well. I’d be surprised if Jose Theodore came back to Washington, but you never know. George McPhee might decide to bring him back, especially if he would take a pay cut. Another interesting factor is Michael Nylander, who really isn’t on the team to avoid his $4.875 million cap hit. Could his contract rear it’s ugly head?

It should be an awfully interesting summer for the Capitals. The way I see it, they have the opportunity to transform themselves into a promising-but-disappointing regular season wonder into a possible dynasty if they make the right decisions. They’re moving in the right direction so far.

  1. Bradford - May 17, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Nylander’s contract won’t rear its ugly head for a couple of reasons. First, his no-movement clause ends on July 1, 2010, so even if no KHL, Finnish, SEL, or AHL team will take him on a loan, the Caps can bury him in Hershey and just never play him there.
    Second, burying Nylander in Hershey won’t hurt the Caps as much because he’s only getting paid 3 million this year, with a cap hit of 4.875 million. That might actually make him a somewhat valuable asset for a team that needs a veteran scoring center, but doesn’t have a whole lot of money to spend (e.g. Nashville, Phoenix).

  2. Burnsy - May 17, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    I wonder how Nylander feels about backing out last minute on the Oilers now? He would have at least got the opportunity to play there.

  3. JF - May 18, 2010 at 7:18 AM

    I would like to see them sign a free agent lock down D-man; they have some great young talent on D, like Carlson and Alzner. I think it would benefit them to have a Defensive-minded D-man mentor. That will also take some pressure off of Green so he can stay offensive minded. The way semin is playing with fedorov in the worlds maybe they can bring him back to play on the second line with semin.

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