The Washington Times - June 30, 2011, 12:51PM

In goal, the Capitals feel comfortable no matter what happens with Semyon Varlamov. They shored up one need by resigning forward Brooks Laich before he could hit the open market Friday.

But their biggest blue line situation remains unresolved, as the Caps have not yet signed restricted free agent Karl Alzner to a new deal. His agent, J.P. Barry, told The Washington Times on Thursday afternoon that he and the team still have “a gap to close” on a new contract.


“We were negotiating for a couple of months. We both have worked up our positions,” Barry said. “We’re not there yet – we have a gap to work on.”

Alzner, considered the Caps’ best shutdown defenseman, is only 22 years old and made an NHL salary of $875,000 last season (his cap hit was $1.675 million). Barry wouldn’t comment on how big of a gap there was between the two sides.

He was optimistic about working out a deal with the Caps.

“I think so. We did a lot of work together, myself and Don Fishman talked for a while,” Barry said. “They know where we stand on what Karl’s projection is as a player, and they’ve done the same [projection.]”

Barry said with July 1 being a busy time for unrestricted free agents, he expects to talk more about a new deal for Alzner after that date. He said he would not comment on any possible offer sheets other teams could present to Alzner.

The Caps gave the defenseman a qualifying offer – something necessary to retain his rights – but Barry said there is time to work out a deal before Alzner needs to make the decision to simply accept that.