(Heavily re-edited as I had a daylong brainfart and timmyv38 reminded me that it's only a 23-man roster. Whoops. Did I ever try to forget about NHL hockey after last year or what? Heh.)
There are a couple moving parts going on with the Caps' rumored/pending signings and trade and something will have to give.
There's speculation that the Caps will sign Eric Belanger pending a trade, the Caps are looking to sign Canucks' defenseman Willie Mitchell , and now that Tomas Fleischmann trade has two scenarios.
Let's assume Eric Belanger signs for $1.85 million since he's apparently waiting for a trade to happen to bring him in.
Let's also assume that Marcus Johansson ($900,000) makes the team, but will be probably be trading car rides to Hershey with Mathieu Perreault ($716,667).
If Mack and Belanger join us, and the Caps trade Tomas Fleischmann for Edmonton defenseman Sheldon Souray, the Caps are in the cap hole by $231,000.
If Belanger signs and the Caps trade Fleischmann for Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieska, the Caps have $1.4 million in cap space available.
Either way, the Caps cannot sign Belanger, have Johansson join the team, trade for either Bieska or Souray AND sign Willie Mitchell for let's say $2.5 million plus bonuses for both roster and salary restrictions.
The Belanger, Bieska plus Mitchell scenario puts the team at about $1 million over the cap, then you'd be forced to send a player down for roster limit. Sending either Alzner or Carlson down won't get you under the cap, and sending both down is possible and leaves you with an extra D men, but who wants to see Sloan and Erskine on the ice regularly? Johansson is your extra forward.
The Souray plus Mitchell scenario puts Washington at about $2.7 million over the cap when Belanger and Mack are with us.
Bonuses complicate the scenarios as Johansson could earn bonus money in his entry-level deal and I imagine Perreault also has some bonus potential. Would the Caps want to go into 2011-2012 with a bonus penalty? Even with winning the Cup, probably not.
How much would Willie Mitchell sign for? Teams are probably want to sign him much less than his $3.5 million salary he made last year due to his season-ending concussion. A $2.5 million I offered is still risky if beyond a Mitchell injury recover bonus, Johannson and/or Perreault, Alzer and Carlson, Varly and Neuvy all rack up bonuses on their entry-level deals.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for performance bonuses for players who have played more than 400 games and in the last year spent 100 days or more on injured reserve list. They would have to sign a one year contract to receive the bonus.
Mitchell has played 585 career games and Jan. 17 was the first day after his concussion. The Canucks made it to the playoffs, losing to the Blackhawks on May 11, marking Mitchell down for 114 days on injured reserve.
Seeing how General Manager George McPhee has said he prefers short-term deals because they motivate players, look for that type of contract to be signed by Mitchell if he signs here. Though I would wager that Mitchell would be signing that type of contract anywhere. What would his base salary be and how much bonus money could he earn?
Other factors to consider is that we have a few players on two-way contracts, but sadly their names aren't Erskine, Sloan and King.
If McPhee wants most of what's out there, someone has to go with Flash, but it looks like the strongest possibility is the Bieska trade with having Belanger and Johansson or Perreault on the team. I'd still would want to shed more salary for some more breathing room, but then you get into a discussion of "is giving up Flash plus Erskine or Sloan for Bieska too much?"
What do you want to see happen?