It has been an expectedly quiet run through the 2013 NHL free agency period thus far for the Washington Capitals. With huge contracts in tow for Alexander Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom and others, it’s no huge surprise that the Caps have lost far more than they’ve gained in high-profile personnel.
However, the Caps were able to retain a key part of their blue line in defenseman Karl Alzner, who inked a four-year, $11.2 million extension with team. Losing Mike Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks definitely hurts as they’ve been two incredibly critical facets of the Caps’ rally to the postseason, though Washington could perhaps afford losses at forward more so than defense at this juncture and Alzner’s crucial regardless.
“We don’t want to do too many long term deals and four years is a long time,” Caps general manager George McPhee said, via The Washington Post. “We can go back to Karl in three years and start again. He’s the kind of player coaches love, managers love, really reliable player, great teammate. I thought it was a real good pick when we made it [in 2007], thought he could play here for 15 years and it looks like that could happen.”
The flip side is that, in this free agency period, Washington is left little money to spend elsewhere, and nothing close to what Hendricks or Ribeiro probably would’ve gone for.
The Post’s Katie Carrera detailed how far apart the Caps were from their departed spark-plug: “Ribeiro, 33, signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Phoenix Coyotes that was beyond what the Capitals were willing to offer. During an interview with TSN, Ribeiro said Washington ‘didn’t come close’ to the Coyotes’ offer.”