Yesterday was the first day for free agent signings and to no avail and not to disappoint either the league was hoping with news. The Washington Capitals didn’t sit back for that matter either, they got right into the thick of things and made some moves.
Whether it was a coincidence or not, Todd Reirden came over from Pittsburgh as Barry Trotz’s assistant coach and the Capitals sign two of their defenseman yesterday basically taking all of their cap room. We looked at it yesterday and Trotz had no problem and assumed that they would use all their money if they had to. Brooks Orpik was the first of the two defensman to make the splash with a 5 yr 27.5M contract. After the Capitals had signed Orpik, and the signing of Justin Peters, G, and re-signing of Michael Latta, the Caps had just over 6M available and with Orpik getting that big of a contract, Matt Niskanen was probably not going to be approached by the Caps.
But, like I said above, not to disappoint on any level, the Capitals made the move and brought in Niskanen late yesterday to a 7 year 40.25M contract. This put him at about 5.75M per year which leaves the Caps with just about a half million in Cap space. Trotz was right, they would go right up to the edge of their cap space, and they did.
Bringing in both Niskanen and Orpik really solidifies their blue-line. They brought in the back-up goalie that we had mentioned was a need as well. The next step is to see if they can get a center to help out in the middle. They will probably not be able to get a 2nd line center for the money they have left but restructuring of some contracts or back loading a contract might give them some room to move and make another move. As for a big splash again today, I don’t think there will be one for the Capitals.