Skip to content

Why Karl Alzner’s signing proves there won’t be offer sheets for Drew Doughty or Steven Stamkos

Jul 16, 2011, 11:00 PM EDT

Steven Stamkos, Karl Alzner AP

When Washington re-signed Karl Alzner to a two-year, $2.57 million deal the most stunning part of the contract was how cheaply it was and with how few years it came attached with it. Capitals GM George McPhee chalked it up as another cap management victory this summer and those watching things around the league were left amazed for a couple of reasons. Not only was McPhee able to keep one of his young stud defensive stoppers, he was able to do it without outside interference in the form of an offer sheet.

Last year we saw one restricted free agent signed to an offer sheet as Sharks GM Doug Wilson tried to take advantage of the Blackhawks poor salary cap situation by signing Niklas Hjalmarsson to a four-year $14 million offer sheet. The Blackhawks didn’t blink at the Sharks move and matched it before they ultimately parted ways with Antti Niemi. While there were no hard feelings between Wilson and Hawks GM Stan Bowman, it makes us wonder why a similar poaching move wasn’t made on Alzner this summer. After all, the Capitals were up against the salary cap and the seemingly small deal they got Alzner locked up to put them over the cap just slightly by over $800,000.

As it turns out, the Caps and Alzner were never too far apart in what they wanted. Katie Carrera of The Washington Post finds out from Alzner’s agent J.P. Barry that the framework was solid between both sides all along.

Barry explained that the team initially cited comparables in a $1.2 million to $1.4 million range for the second year while he sought something in a higher range closer to $1.9 million to $2 million. They ultimately agreed to $1.75 million for the second year, which was combined with the qualifying offer of $826,895 and then spread out over the duration of the deal, Barry said.

“Our valuation of 1.75 puts him in the higher range of guys who have his experience and play those minutes as a shutdown defensemen, so I’m pleased with that,” Barry said. “At the same time, we’re fully aware that we think Karl has an excellent future and if he continues on this path he’ll be in a whole different class” when this contract expires.

Alzner himself said that there were no other teams that made an offer to him. While that’s stunning to hear as Alzner’s a guy with a bright future to go and still just 22 years-old, it leaves us thinking that anyone hoping that either fellow restricted free agents Drew Doughty of L.A. and Steve Stamkos of Tampa Bay will sign offer sheets will be left disappointed.

While Doughty is waiting around for the Kings to make an offer (they reportedly haven’t made an offer to Doughty since June 23) and Stamkos and the Lightning continue to work things out, you have to wonder where other teams are to try and push those teams with offers that could make them face up to difficult salary cap and roster questions of their own. While the Kings have enough cap space to get Doughty taken care of according to CapGeek.com (about $10 million), Tampa Bay could be in a lot of danger if someone ponied up big for Stamkos.

While the Lightning are still about $15 million off the cap with Teddy Purcell yet to re-sign as well, should a monster offer come through to Stamkos the Lightning undoubtedly would match, but owing a ton of money to three players in Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, and Martin St. Louis would make their payroll questions tough ones in the future.

With the possibility of cap roll backs and other new CBA worries next year getting a smart deal done for both players is important for both the Kings and Lightning. For other teams looking to potentially put the screws to them, it’s a missed opportunity that makes you wonder if there’s some kind of collusion going on not to screw each other over with labor peril and new rules to follow on the horizon.

That’s a lofty and nasty allegation, of course, but with prime talent like Doughty and Stamkos there, potentially, for the taking and seemingly no offers coming in for either player it makes you wonder why opposing GMs wouldn’t be huddling with their own capologists to figure something out to land a premiere young NHL star.

The business side of the NHL is obviously not something us couch jockeys are very savvy with, but boiling it all down to seeing two top talents dangling in restricted free agent purgatory belonging to teams with enough cap space to burn to take care of both players and remaining unsigned with no action from other teams is baffling to us.

We’re not sure if that means former Oilers GM Kevin Lowe made it impossible for teams to feel comfortable signing restricted free agents with any tact after his overzealous work in signing Dustin Penner and Thomas Vanek to obscenely large offer sheets in the past, but Doughty and Stamkos are no-brainer superstars and if a team was willing to sacrifice the draft picks necessary to sign them and pay up accordingly with the money, why wouldn’t a team roll the dice and take a shot?

Apparently these days if you’re not going to take a shot at a guy destined to make up to $2 million per season, going after guys set to make up to or more than $7 million a year is an absolute non-starter. After the kinds of stupid money we’ve seen thrown around all summer, it leaves our heads shaking at the insanity of it all around. With this sort of craziness, the only people that are happy about it are Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Kings GM Dean Lombardi.

  1. skoobyfl - Jul 16, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Stamkos will end up in Buffalo, there is a cash Billionaire there & lots of “Advertising endorsement” deals that would pop up for a guy like him. Advertising endorsements do not fall under the term salary, so there is no cap there, if Stamkos understands what I mean.

    • bcjim - Jul 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

      No chance, and hockey players don’t score huge endorsement deals as a rule. Local car dealers dont pay that much really.

    • hystoracle - Jul 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      Not to mention he’s on the cover of NHL 12 already while playing in Tampa. I don;t think his endorsement opportunities are taking that big of a hit. Buffalo has NO cap space. and Jeff Vinik has deep pockets of his own. Hell, he’s putting $35 mil of his own money into sprucing up the St. Pete Times Forum for next season.

  2. acieu - Jul 17, 2011 at 6:33 AM

    Stamkos signs with Toronto

  3. kingjoe1 - Jul 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    The Flyers have to find a way to make a huge offer to Big Double D. There is no doubt in my mind, this man will lead a team to the stanly cup more than once in his career.

    • hystoracle - Jul 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      Again no Cap space.

  4. capsrockva - Jul 17, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    As much as he has been a pain in the Caps side I would be shocked if he didn’t resign with TB

    • hystoracle - Jul 18, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      And in Tampa he will be – to remain a thorn in your side. at least for 6 games a year. :)

  5. unknowneric - Jul 18, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I’m certainly not going to use the dreaded “c” word (rhymes with “delusion”), but I wonder if there isn’t an, ahem, gentleman’s agreement amongst owners and GMs not to poach each other’s restricted FAs.

  6. dasboat - Jul 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    It may be a big risk for Tampa Bay to have an offer sheet for Stamkos. But it’s an even bigger risk for an organization to put four #1 picks on the line. Job security suicide for any GM.

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1965)
  2. D. Roy (1588)
  3. L. Stempniak (1499)
  4. R. Nash (1483)
  5. M. Ribeiro (1389)
  1. D. Cleary (1338)
  2. B. Morrow (1245)
  3. B. Dubinsky (1235)
  4. P. Subban (1191)
  5. V. Sobotka (1183)