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.

  • I haven’t seen enough of Semin, but would he not disappear in the (seemingly more defensive minded) Western Conference? We’ve seen other players from the Eastern Conference *cough Stajan, JBo cough* struggle after coming to Calgary.

    • First Name Unidentified

      My sentiments. Why I would be reluctant to give up anything significant to get him. I know what Prairie Chicken is saying but the Caps are now in cap hell & the price for that is severe. But gulp, if we were to give Bourque & a 1st rounder for Semin & Alzner, 2 things, we dont have thecap space to do this deal without saying goodbye to Hagman & no way I would do it with a 2012 1st rounder, it would have to be our 2013 1st rounder seeing we dont have our 2nd. This is going to be a great draft next year & not to have a 1st or 2nd is unacceptable.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    Nice article. Since we keep twisting all your other posts into discussions about WSH you might as well write an article about them.

    I think some of the previous posts are overvaluing our assets (like the Leafs fans always do) and undervaluing Semin and Alzner. If WSH took a first for Alzner I would be very tempted waive my policy about not trading high draft picks.

    Both Semin and Alzner will cost us a top six forward and a high draft pick and Alzner may be untouchable. Schultz is the more likely of the two young d-men to be available, although I have also heard the Green rumours. Flames are wrong place wrong time for Green as we don’t have the horse power up front to complement his skills and he would be wasted here.

  • First Name Unidentified

    It is one of my dreams to have Alzner on our team.
    IMO, he is the perfect 21 yr old replacement for Reggie.

    I would gladly give up a 1st + Bourque for that kid and sign him up for like 10 years.

    If Feaster can pull this kid out of Washington, he will become one of the greatest GMs to ever work for the Flames, in my eyes.

    ……ok, I exaggerated a bit, but I love the kid.

  • everton fc

    I say Calgary trys and gets its original 2nd round pick back from Buffalo and Offer sheet Alzner which is probably the easiest of all the options. Maybe give Buffalo a future second and another very late pick to get back our second and then give Alzner a max RFA contract where we only give up the 2nd round pick and see if the caps are willing to match that high. If we are able to offer sheet Alzner for a 4-5 yeard deal at 3Million or so, that is SO WORTH a 2nd round pick, guy can easily step into that 3-4 role and nicely round out or defence. That means we’d be two more years without 2nd round picks, but I think Alzner is worth it.

    I less high on Semin only because of the package it would take to get him, and that would most likely include our first and that could be bad, cuase a couple of key injurries at bad times could make us a lottery team.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    No way I would give Bourque up for a 1 year rental. No one helped us when we were in Cap hell, if anything we got bent over pretty bad in the RR deal. If Wash need/want to sign Perrault & Alzner & want to dump Semin to do it, the return is already that cap space. Hagman or Stajan, they can take there pick & thats it. If they want value back then lets talk deal. We had to give our 2nd & RR to get rid of 3.0Mill of Kotalik for 1 lousy year. So Hagman(or Stajan), Nemitz for Semin & Perrault. If they want to throw in Alzner then I would replace Hagman/Stajan for Bourque & a 3rd rounder in a heartbeat. But Im sure they can probably get a better deal from the Leafs or Florida. We just arent in a position to parlay our cap space for anyone until next year.

    • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

      Couldn’t agree more. Bouque is an awsome cap hit, for a player that can score 30+ and kill penelties and I would be very upset if it went through. But in the same token, If we were to miss the playoffs Semin will be worth a lot more to team which are looking to bulk up at the trade deadline and possibly expedite the rebuild, if we are going that route. If we can someway, somehow get rid of Stajan’s contract… who am i kidding? There is only one GM that would take Stajan’s contract and Sutter is currently unemployed.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    I think that a trade with Washington would be an excellent idea. Is Alzner worth a first round draft pick? Right age, good skill, but if the Flames are terrible then they might end up giving the Capitals a top 10 pick.

    What about a deal that sees Calgary trade its first round pick plus Hagman for Semin and Alzner?
    Probably not enough for the Capitals since a team like Florida or Winnipeg would pony up more for Semin to help them get to the cap floor and be more competative.

    Calgary needs to look at Alzner and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

  • It’s funny you should post this, because I was just trying to figure out the Washington depth chart and if we had anything they might need.

    A) I don’t know why we would try and offer sheet Alzner at $4 million per or so for 4 years. He is a young Regehr and fills our need perfectly. I know giving up a 1st and 3rd rounder sucks, but Alzner has given every indication of being worth it.

    B) If the big fish deal is for Semin, I fear our spears will be too dull to snag him. 28 other GMs can read these articles and will have bigger and better prizes to offer. For example, Edmonton could ship out two of Omark, Hartikainen or Paajarvi without really hurting their depth chart and also package a pick or another prospect in there too. Plus Calgary would need Washington to take some salary back, making any offer we give less attractive than teams like Florida or Nashville that would be happy to simply take on the one year salary.

  • If the Caps got a 1st and 2nd for Varlamov, I would concur with other posters in saying we may have to give up a 1st + prospect. I am not down with this for a rental player who probably prefers the Eastern conference or the KHL.

    That being said, picking up Alzner or Semin for say, a 2nd rounder and Bourque, or a 2nd and GlenX, likely wouldn’t be too bad.

  • Any one of Alzner, Green or Semin is fine by me as long as it doesn’t cost us our first rounder or one of Reinhart/Baertschi/Backlund, if we can make the trade work any other way I think that would work. The only thing is even for just 1 year Semin is gonna command a big package. And considering what guys like Erhoff and Wisenieski commanded this offseason, to get a guy like green will cost the farm. Alzner might be the easiest and cheapest option and probably the best fit for our team as he can easily move to that 3/4 spot. Be a lot easier if we didn’t waste that 2nd rounder in that stupid trade.

  • Grimerica

    I don’t know about Green. I know Mcphee flew into calgary to meat him and Backstrom for lunch at the airport to talk about the new signings and the upcoming season, seems doubtful he’d make the trip if he was planning on moving him

  • everton fc

    While I would think it odd for the Caps to take Bourque for Semin, I’d consider that move.

    But would Semin re-sign here? I don’t think he would, and if he did, what’s the price tag? He’s making 6.7 mill now. And he’s injury prone (not unlike Bourque, by the way)

    Would we really move Bourque for a one-year rental player, which Semin may turn out to be?

  • everton fc

    Green won’t be available. Alzner won’t be available. Backstrom won’t be available. Its fun to speculate and put up proposals, but that is pretty much certain.

    Its possible Semin would be available. It is also likely WAS clears salary through other means and leaves their top line alone.

    One suggestion I read is Bourque for Semin. It makes some sense.

    WAS gets a top 6 forward back to replace Semin that fits into the system they are trying to implement. The also drop 3.4M off the cap, which along with Poti to the LTI or a smaller roster move, will solve their cap woes.

    Calgary gets a 1-season trial on Semin and either 3.3M in salary relief next off season or an elite scorer on the roster.

    At the end of the day I think there are better trading partners for WAS so I don’t consider this likely. But you never know I guess.

      • Dr. Nick

        I’m not sure if Semin is crying, yawning or about to turn into the Incredible Hulk in the picture.

        As for trade options, I would think Ovie would have some influence on who gets traded, and I don’t think he would like Semin traded. If they do trade Semin to the Flames, I hope that the Flames recognize that Semin is a winger who has played with top quality centers, which the Flames don’t have so would he put up the same numbers with the Flames? Plus he is a UFA at the end of the season. I mean if we are going to be giving up our chances to build up our prospect pool by giving up draft picks, shouldn’t it be for someone who is an RFA at the end of his contract such as Mike Green. They might not be shopping him, but it would give the Capitals the cap space and it would give us some contract control, plus a quality defensemen.

      • Does Semin have a NMC or NTC? I’m going out on a limb here and saying it’s going to cost the Flames a prospect and a 1st. The Caps want no money back here. However I keep hearing that the player available is Green. I know on Oilersnation we’ve been hearing Green.

  • You are nuts, boyee.

    If Feaster thinks Byron is worth a second round pick, I cringe to think what he would give up for these real NHLers.

    On a serious note, wait till the season ends, sign Semin for free (ie just costs money not draft picks). Use the picks to trade for Weber.