Contract Banter

Backstrom and Semin need new deals before July 1, 2010.

Backstrom and Semin need new deals before July 1, 2010.

Tarik’s latest blog talks about how the Caps may not be big free agent players this summer. But two big names on the Caps’ roster will be restricted free agents come July 1, 2010. Tarik mentions that their contract extensions will heavily affect the Capitals in this summer’s UFA market. Semin and Backstrom could easily get $7.5 million contract offers from other clubs. These two guys have too much fun playing with Ovechkin, Green and the rest of the bunch to even think about signing for another club.


While Backstrom is a premier talent and no doubt a future all-star, he will not get the 88 points he had in 2008-09 with another team. He’s getting those numbers playing with Ovechkin on the first scoring line and Semin, Green, Laich and Ovie on the power play.

Backstrom can definitely play like Forsberg and he’s been compared to him on countless occasions. He wrecked Ryan Callahan in the Conference Quarterfinals that led to a Semin goal. Backstrom retained control of the puck and fed Semin in the slot for a nifty deke and score.

Getting physical is part of Backstrom coming full circle. The next stage will be goal scoring. If you’ve been to a Caps practice, you know he has a sniper’s aim. He needs to work on his release and shot frequency to be a 30-goal guy.

Recommendation: $66 million, 11 years.


Semin is the slickest forward out there and can dangle around anyone. One of his major flaws is that he doesn’t use his powerful and precise shot as often as Ovechkin. How many times have you told yourself you didn’t even see his shot. It’s even more  of a zinger than Ovechkin’s bullet release.

Semin has taken the blame for being quite selfish, but towards the end of last season became more of a team player. He also led the league in points through the first fifth of last season and finished fourth in points-per-game.

A two-way threat when he’s healthy, he can finish with 50 goals and 100 points easily and be a top-ten takeaway guy. Injury though, brings his value down a bit, and he’ll most likely get 40 goals at the 1.27 point-per-game pace he had this year. The excitement he brings, however, definitely adds value.

Recommendation: $70 million, 11 years.

The Future

Using these figures, the Capitals will need have a cap hit of $27.15 million for their “Young Guns” – which includes Green – over the next three years. The hit is $21.90 million until 2020-21 for the three forwards.

Beyond next season, Nylander’s contract will either get bought out or it will be traded, barring a miraculous return to a 70-point yield.

That leaves cap space of $29.4 (without Nylander) for nine or 10 forwards, five or six defencemen and two goalies. Let’s hope Backie and Sasha will settle around $5 mil/season. Varlamov’s entry deal expires in 2011 and McPhee’s capologist needs to keep him in mind too.


2 responses to “Contract Banter

  1. You say that Backstrom is not as elite player as people think (and that he only gets his point totals because of the people he plays with), yet you suggest giving him $6 million per year…how does that make sense?

    Also, the Caps never had room for Jay-Bo…they have just over 7 million in cap space, but they have 3 players to sign in order to get a full roster…a $6.5 million Bouwmeester would not quite fit in those plans…

    Having a cap hit of $27 million for just four players is not quite a smart move…that leaves 30 million for 16 other players, not even an average of 2 million per…

    • Hey Hockey man,

      Backie’s a rock solid player and no doubt will get better point totals this season as he grows into an elite player. He’s an 88 point player. Those guys make upwards of $6 million. A hometown discount would be $5 million. $6 mil is the figure I believe will be agreed upon come the time to re-sign.

      If the Caps somehow released Nylander into the world, the Caps would have room for a Jay Bo. He could have been the one to go to Florida, although the trade between Florida and Calgary were for defensemen. If the Caps got rid of Nylander and brought up Aucoin or re-signed Giroux for the NHL, it would totally work. That must have crossed GMGM’s mind.

      You’re totally right that $27 mil is a lot. Not smart but think about Pittsburgh with Crosby, Malkin and Fleury. They’ve got around $23 mil for the next three years tied into them and that will work for them. The Green signing was worth the money but totally not a cool move to demand so much after one solid season. It’s gonna come down to one of the Young Guns changing address in the next few years because of that signing. Very unfortunate.

      Happy watching tomorrow. Remember GMGM’s “stand pat” quote of 2008 trade deadline? Hopefully he makes a smart move like then.

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