Before signing Tomas Vokoun to a bargain contract – one year for $1.5 million, the Capitals appeared to have plenty of salary cap space to get restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer locked up to new deals.
George McPhee thinks they still have “wiggle room” to get stuff done, adding that injuries could provide some more room when the season starts. Washington’s general manager said Tom Poti and “other players” could be long-term injured reserve (LTIR) candidates.
“We have some other players that we’re not sure when exactly they’ll be able to start,” said McPhee, who wouldn’t say even in July which players were hurt.
Poti hasn’t played since Jan. 12, dogged by groin injuries. His career could be in doubt, precipitating the Caps’ signing of Roman Hamrlik to fill a void on the blue line.
As for the others, McPhee said “obviously we have some other players who had some work done.” Forced to speculate because no names were revealed, it seems logical to think Eric Fehr (who told The Washington Times in May that he had shoulder surgery) could be headed to LTIR.
Players place on LTIR don’t count against the cap. Poti is set to count $2.875 million and Fehr $2.2 million. That should be more than enough to work with.
Of course, in the offseason, the Caps – as with all NHL teams – are allowed to go up to 10 percent over the cap. That means they can spend just over $70 million. They don’t have to be cap compliant (under $64.3 million) until just before the season starts.
A lot could happen before then.
“Will we talk to other teams about other moves? Certainly,” McPhee said. “We’ll just see what develops over the rest of the summer.”