Over Memorial Day weekend, Ian was the first to uncover a report by John Shannon of Sportsnet that the Caps and TJ Oshie were close to reaching an agreement on a new contract. While this news was welcomed by many, it also came as a bit of a surprise, as it was widely expected that Oshie would sign elsewhere in free agency due to salary cap restrictions in DC.
We’ve written here previously about the fact that Oshie’s value on the open market will be somewhere around 6 years and $6 million per year. Even if Oshie takes a bit of a discount to stay in DC, it’s still really hard to see how the Caps will fit him under the salary cap. If the Caps are intent on re-signing Oshie, there’s only one way it seems like it will be possible to fit him under the salary cap: The Caps will have to get rid of Brooks Orpik’s contract.
Getting Orpik’s contract off the books would not be a controversial move. Instead, the news here, if Oshie is re-signed, is that the Caps think they can and plan to get rid of Orpik’s contract.
Cap Friendly has a neat Armchair GM feature that lets you play around with the roster construction of any NHL team. Doing so can show us that, even if Oshie takes a bit of a discount, it’ll be nearly impossible for both him and Orpik to still be in DC next season.
Below is from the Armchair GM and shows a Caps roster with both Orpik and Oshie on it. This team is $2.75m over the $73m salary cap (granted, that’s expected to go up a little bit). Players below such as Djoos, Vanecek, and Stephenson aren’t used to predict that they’ll make the roster next season, but rather that a player around that salary will be on the roster.
Some of the Caps hits here are estimates and many, such as Burakovsky, Oshie, and Connolly, are on the low side of what each guy will likely sign for.
If the Caps are negotiating as aggressively with Oshie as the Sportsnet report makes it sound, they likely have a clear plan in mind to shed Orpik’s contract this summer. It’s hard to see how else Oshie will fit on this roster.
Headline photo: Associated Press
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