When the numbers came out on Karl Alzner’s two-year contract with the Capitals, just about everyone was surprised the average value came out to just $1.285 million. But according to agent J.P. Barry, it was a deal that was even higher than most players the two sides used as comparables during negotiations.
It is a bargain given Alzner’s role with the Caps, but his experience level and the fact that the restricted free agent did not have arbitration rights played a major role.
“A player in Karl’s situation doesn’t have arbitration rights. … [Restricted free agency] is a completely different marketplace,” Barry told The Washington Times. “The evaluation becomes what’s the second year worth.”
Barry said everything started with Alzner’s qualifying offer – $826,875. With that in mind, he said you could consider the second year having a value of $1.75 million. Obviously the two sides spread the money out over two years.
Barry and Alzner could have taken their ball and gone home to fight this battle next year, but he and Washington assistant GM Don Fishman worked for four to five months to hammer out a two-year contract.
“In this situation a lot of players will just take the qualifying offer and just move forward into the arbitration year,” Barry said.
For a defenseman like Alzner who has only played one full season and parts of a couple others, it’s hard to statistically quantify his value. He only put up two goals and 10 assists last year but became the Caps’ top defenseman.
“You’re doing comparisons to defensemen with similar ice defensive abilities and ice time,” Barry said.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires next summer, but Barry said that didn’t have anything to do with this being a two-year deal or how negotiations went – because Alzner would still be able to go to arbitration next summer.
He won’t have to, now, and by the time Alzner is done with this deal, he’ll have arbitration rights and loads more experience.
“By that time he’ll be in a whole different class,” Barry said.