Flames Potential Trade Partner: Washington Capitals



While the UFA market is mostly tapped out, a few other potential avenues of improvement still exist for Feaster and the Calgary Flames. The latest may be the Washington Capitals and their precarious cap position. Washington boasts a number of things the Flames need, so a cap friendly trade for them might be benefical for both clubs.

In a post at the score today, Sean Tomlinson discusses the Caps budget problems

Brouwer’s signing is just the latest of what’s becoming an impressive summer for Washington general manager George McPhee, who added some grit and grind in the form of Jeff Halpern, solved his goaltending leak with the signing of Tomas Vokoun, plucked Joel Ward fresh off of his impressive playoff performance, and slotted in Roman Hamrlik on the blue line.

But there’s a cost to all of that spending that goes beyond the number signed on each players’ dotted line. Brouwer’s two-year deal valued at $4.7 million and at a cap hit of $2.35 million annually puts the Capitals $1,805,128 over the league’s $64.3 million salary cap (thanks for giving me a headache with all of those numbers, Capgeek). Teams are permitted to go over the salary cap by as much as 10 percent during the offseason, extra weight that has to be shed prior to October.

 McPhee’s problems extend beyond his current cap crunch. The club has yet to re-sign RFA Karl Alzner, who may come in anywhere between $2 million and $3 million per year. As such, the Caps may be looking to dump up to $5 million in cap space before the season starts.

Washington’s desperate position has led to whispers of McPhee shopping Alex Semin. The explosive left winger has just one year left on his deal worth $6.7 million. While obviously injury prone and not the best figher in the world, Semin is a legitimately elite offensive forward. He has never scored less than 26 goals in the NHL, despite never playing more than 77 games in a season. His underlying numbers are frequent amongst the best on the Capitals, meaning he’s not simply a Kovalchukian PP specialist who is a black-hole at 5-on-5. Though he has a reputation as soft and one-dimensional, his year-over-year possession rates say the puck stays in the offensive zone when he’s on the ice.

As such, Semin would obviously fill the Flames enduring need to add another elite forward to the rotation. He is 27-years old, so right in the meaty part of his career-arc. Obviously Calgary would have to drop further salary to add Semin *cough* Hagman *cough* , but it would be worth the upgrade.

The Capitals have other, slightly less shiny baubles that may be up for sale as well. They could spare themselves the trouble of signing Alzer by dealing him instead. His addition would add another true top-four defender to the Flames stable. Despite being just 22-years old, Alzner faced the toughest competition on the Caps blueline last year and had the most difficult zone start ratio (49%). He’s not going to score you many points, but the dude is legit already.

Denis Wideman and Eric Fehr might also be available, although the former is just okay given his $3.875 ticket and the latter would not really address a Flames need since he is more of a middle-rotation forward (albeit a younger one with some upside).

It’s impossible to know just what these players would cost to acquire, although we can be sure the Captials would be looking for draft picks and prospects since they can’t afford to take on any more salary. If either Semin or Alzner is available, I think the Feaster would do well to at least inquire – both fill legitimate needs and wouldn’t cost a valuable roster player.

  • Vintage Flame

    Seems like the issue is really this: how much is cap space worth? According to Feaster it’s a lot.

    I would not give up our 1st next year for Semin. Too short-sighted.

    Alzner I would definitely pursue. After losing Phaneuf, Erixon, Regehr and Aulie we could really use a guy like Alzner, but I wouldn’t go the offer sheet route. I think it’s a crumby way of doing business that will come back to haunt later.

    That said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Green being the one that goes.

  • Vintage Flame

    There is hopefully no way Calgary givea up it’s 1st round pick for Semin. I agree, as Kent put it, the dude is good. But Flames just can’t afford to trade it’s first for a guy that is UFA in one year. That being said if the Flames can make a deal to Wash to get tgem out of Cap hell, then go for it.

    I like the idea of Hagman going back the other way. Half of Semin’s salary opens them up to sign Alzner. If Calgary could say deal Hagman, their 3rd and maybe a pick in 2013 for Semin and Wash’s 2nd next year, I’d go for that.

    I would also love to see the Flames snag Alzner. Love this kid. I watched him with the Hitmen and I agree that this kid is like a really young Regehr. I would be happier about gettin Alzner than Semin… IMO.

  • everton fc

    I like Green. Think he could be a nice fit here, at home. Hagman going the other way for Green… maybe a pick in the 2nd/3rd round of a deep 2012 draft…

    As for the Flames taking Chucko over hometown boy Green…. Typical.

    Could Stajan or Hagman, a first/second rounder in a deep draft… and a prospect… Get us Semin AND Green? One can dream on a Friday…. Look at what the Flames gave up to get Butler and Byron. People call it a “salary dump”… This would give the Caps all the space they need. (Again, one can dream…)

    Just how over-stocked are the Caps? That’s everyone’s question for McPhee (loved when he went toe-to-toe w/Tochett years ago and stood his ground. One of the great scraps of yesteryear. As good a GN as he was a role-player, in my opinion…)

    (No other thoughts on Desbiens? He’s my 2011-2012 Jackman storyline. You heard it here first, regardless of how my prediction turns out!)

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    I’m not interested in giving up futures for what would likely be a 1 year rental (Semin). Plus it’s not like we have a ton of cap space ourselves we’d have to move more then Hagman/Stajan in order to fit him in.

    Alzner on the other hand I would take. But since I figure Washington would want to deal him for zero money back we’re stuck with having to offer high picks (which we’re short on) and/or blueish chip prospects (which we’re also short on).

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    Granted, the Flames draft record is not strong especially when compared to the Caps. They have been uncanny with their late 1st and 2nd round picks. However, I don’t think it’s fair to slag the Flames for picking Chucko over Green. Can you tell me which of the late 1st rounders this year will pan out? How about those in 2010? 2009? After the first three picks it gets very difficult. That said, I think Semin was picked 13th…we can only hope the same for our Swiss boy.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    I am doing an about-face, but I would trade our 2012 1st rounder for Alzner. He went no. 5 and what are the chances we’d get a stud like that in 2012? I’d take the sure thing. I also think that we will be pleasantly surprised with Butler this year (in spite of Feaster saying the same thing yesterday!).

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    I dont think Semin to Calgary is reality. Too many teams like Detroit with cap space that can give more along the lines of prospects that would appeal to Wash. We need them to eat some of our luggage (Hagman or Stajan) to be in that deal. Just as well. No way Alzner gets away from Wash, especially if they have Semin options, but boy oh boy, Feaster should consider it & pay the price. But if they move Semin & resign Alzner, the guy we should target would be Schultz. We probably could afford him way easier & Wash would be more reasonable to deal with seeing they have some pretty veteran blue liners & now signed Hamrlik. Golfed with him at the Tabbi, good kid I think would relish a shot at a top 4 position & he has the size & tools to do it too.

    • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

      Totally agree about Schultz. Alzner and Carlson are the core of the Caps blueline for the long term. They’ll do anything to make sure Alzner gets re-signed.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    Why is the Flames Nation logo up top a pentagram?? If this site is involved in devil worship I’m never comin back here again. jk. but an explanation of sort would be nice.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    I don’t work for FN, but I think I can say that it is a star, not a pentagram.

    Also, there are no such things as devils, so stop worrying and enjoy your life. (paraphrasing the Atheist Bus campaign)

  • Somehow I don’t think we’ll be trading with the Caps now… Eric Fehr lead the league in +/- in 09/10, would’ve been a decent pickup, especially at that price.

    I get the feeling that if the Flames had inquired, it would’ve cost us a 1st and Backlund/Reinhart/Howse. Nobody wants to help us and all GMs apparently think we’re ripe for the picking.

  • Also, pentagrams are upside down. If you want to ruffle our feathers, ask about the fist symbols’s relationship to anarchy.

    Yes, we here at FN are devil-worshipping anarchists. Our goat sacrifices shall help carry us to a Cup sometime in the next, oh, 10 years.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    Eklund on HockeyBuzz.com is claiming that the Flames are very much in the hunt for Semin. Then again, he tends to throw everything against the wall in the hope that something will stick. Maybe they have a deal and Feaster is talking to Semin about the chances of re-signing him.