Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mirtle On Mo

Today's must-read comes from North of the border, and it's our buddy Mirtle reporting on Shaone Morrisonn's arbitration hearing and the negotiations leading up to it.


Tyler said...

Typical: Neither DC paper managed to get any of this. And as I noted a few days ago, the Post embarrassingly ran press release info, failing to even mention the cap implications of the decision.

JP said...

I think Mo's closer (right now) to a $1.1m player than he is to a $2.8m player - he may very well be the Caps' fifth best D by season's end - but don't think it's a terrible deal for the team (and certainly not for the player).

On a sidenote, I wonder if arb would be "better" if they didn't allow arbitrators to pick any number they want, but force them to chose one side or the other. It would get rid of teams and players throwing out reltaively extreme numbers like this and would probably take some of the contentiousness out of the process.

b.orr4 said...

The truth hurts, but Mo is pretty much a one-dimensional player. Granted he played a nice counterpart to Green, but you could probably name two dozen d-men who could do what he did last season. If he was awarded near $3 million the Caps would have walked away. Instead of threatening holdouts, his agent should be thanking the Gods that his client got a 100% raise over last season.

NS said...

Mo is really worth 1.5/1.6 tops.

I think he hurt himself by signing a one year deal, because if he does not improve substantially over the next season, he will not be awarded a long term contract for that kind of money. We have a good amount of talent coming up in the ranks, and could always dabble in FA/trades to replace him.

I would have been happy with Mo signing for lesser money and a 3-4yr deal, but that is not the case.

Sombrero guy said...

Agreed with JP. If the arbitrator had to pick the team's offer or the players offer, I think it would be a less contentious and more honest process.

I had predicted 1.75 so 1.96 or whatever isn't so bad.

NS said...

on a side note, and getting WAY ahead of myself, how awesome would it be if we could pick up Bouwmeester next year.

Drop Mo, Juice, Erskine, and replace with a legit top 2 defender ($3,393,750 locked up next season between those three).

Also, if another RW comes finally breaks through, maybe let Kozlov go (another $2.5mil)

Fill the rest out with Lepisto/Finley or sign Erskine for dirt cheap.

Tyler said...

You know people are hockey-starved when J-Bo-to-the-Caps theorizing hits the comment threads!

Sombrero Guy said...

@NS - No love for Schultz?

The more i think about it, the more I think this arbitration wasn't THAT bad. I think even Mo would admit he's a one dimensional D-man.

NS said...

whoops. Yeah, Schultz can stay :)

@tyler - i'm pretty much losing my mind at this point. next closest thing i'm looking forward to is the EA NHL 09 release, and this still more than a month away.

J-Bo To Caps 2009 campaign has begun.

bigonetimer said...

Fine with Mo at 1.9...glad it's not a Finger-like salary.

Mirtle's comment about a potential forthcoming trade to alleviate the cap sitch was interesting (as opposed to other possibilities) and plausible.

Memory is fuzzy, but does anyone know of a Caps training camp time trade of personnel? Can't imagine that it's common NHL-wide, but it makes sense: most teams have players locked up, price tags are known, and sometimes (like for us this year) something's gotta give

JR said...

ns - *maybe* we can let Kozlov go? LOL. Does anyone do less with more?

re the WP: they've got to make sure the WNBA beat is covered. Does that even need a punchline?

If one had to choose between the Washington Post Sports staff existing or having access to sites like Japers and OFB, it would be a pretty easy decision.

b.orr4 said...

What's this continuing fascination with the Post? The Times has so far eclipsed the Post in it's hockey coverage that it's not even a competition any longer. Outside of Tarik, nobody at the Post gives a damn about hockey.

Tyler said...

I didn't see what the WashTimes ran on 26. If JP links, I see. If he doesn't, I tend to miss.

The Post has more resources too. And it's not a fascination -- it's a deep disappointment that the major paper here gives hockey and the Caps the back of its hand even when all (WashTimes-published) signs are that hockey is heating up here... as a reader, I want the paper to be better than it is.

Daniel said...

NS -
I think there are probably about 15 teams in the league that would sign Mo to a 4y/$10M deal tomorrow... He's going to get more than $1.9M next year unless he has a significant injury or backslides a ton.


NS said...

i remain skeptical over Mo getting more than 2mil next year, but he might, just based on how others progress (or don't). Eh...we'll see.

i just really started paying attention to defenders the past few years, so my opinion might be a little skewed.

b.orr4 said...

Trust me, Tyler I wasn't taking a shot at you. I've just long given up on the Post. I just find it frustrating that fans still look to that paper for its hockey coverage when the Times has really embraced the Caps as the #2 pro team in town. I think a lot of it has to do with the Times's politics, but sports should transcend that foolisness. I'm still amazed when I see hundreds of responses to a Tarik blog and just two or three to Corey's. I just hope the editors at the Times don't take this as an indicator noone's following their coverage. Of course, if the Caps win the Cup then the Post will be all over them like a long lost relative who just found out you've won the lottery.

Brian said...

If baseball has a Hot Stove league for their offseason, does hockey have an Oscillating Fan league?

During this OF period, I've been wondering what GMGM might do. Can't sign anyone and assets we have to trade are also "players with potential". And since I have an opinion on almost any topic I know nothing about, here are my thoughts:

1) Trade Kozlov. One year left on his contract and there are teams desperate for offense.

2) Stick Fehr with AO and Moobs. If he can't succeed on that line, time to move on.

3) Flash-Nyls-Rabbit. If Flash can't show consistency on the 2nd line, time to look at the Hummelstown Apartment Guide.

4) If Alzner sticks in DC, pair Godfrey up with Deano in Hershey. Nothing like having a coach on the ice to get the kid ready, and we may need him if Juice and Erskine don't do well.

JP said...

Granted, I'm contrary by nature, but I am especially so with regards to the conventional wisdom on a few guys on the Caps, namely Kozlov, Schultz and Poti. I think all three are incredibly solid producers, and the first two of them are great bargains, imo. Poti, while not a bargain, I find to be reasonably priced.

Point being, trading Kozlov would exacerbate a HUGE problem with the Caps' organizational depth, namely the dearth of RWs. By March, that may have changed (should Clark get healthy, should Fehr come along nicely, should Flash remove his head from his ass for long stretches at a time, should Bouchard exceed everyone except the most rose-colored-glasses expectations, etc.), but for now I think trading Kozzie would be a huge mistake.

NS said...

just the thought of a Flash-Nyls-Rabbit line makes me want to hurl.

Natty Bumpo said...

okay, well it's now assured that i will become known as the fedorov basher of this site..
but losing kozlov because we need to save a million is EXACTLY the doomsday scenario that i feared after meeting feds at $4 mil. with nylander healthy and laich emerging, i'd rather have the koz (and his defensive accountability on the first line) than feds straight up at this point.

with the lack of depth at RW as detailed by JP, hopefully the caps have more sense than that.

moving alzner down would be similarly disappointing (although slighly less-so).

am i right that moving flash won't even fulfill the entire $1 mil that we need? what's his cap hit? i haven't found a reasonable list of options available to the caps that has me feeling better about the cap trouble. the only possibility that works for everyone is an injury, but of course that's the last thing we should hope for.

Natty Bumpo said...

two other questions/comments:

- what's the chance we cut or trade brashear? has GMGM shown a commitment to having a top enforcer on the team?

- why is there even talk that clark could still be on LTIR come the beginning of the season? wasn't he hoping to be back in a caps uniform if the club made it to the eastern conference finals? wasn't he skating with the team in practice? i'm surprised people think LTIR is even a possibility.

Tyler said...

Does anyone know/Has anyone done the math on:

The Caps opening the season with a 22-man roster, with Alzner in the AHL... and how long Alzner would have to remain in Hershey before his salary would 'fit' within both 22- and 23-man rosters?

bigonetimer said...

natty-it's always good to have another opinion in the mix, so don't feel abashed about bashing Feds...but, so far anyway, what's there to bash besides the salary? Give him 30-40 games to "justify" it. The guess here is he's going to make that salary look pretty reasonable by then.

Natty Bumpo said...

definitely. not bashing his play. but i am wondering how he'll justify the salary, particularly if it means losing an alzner/gordo/kozlov from the big team. it's all just a numbers game.

NS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NS said...


Alzner would have to miss the first 47 games before being called up from Hershey, in order to be under the salary cap (assuming Pothier is on IR/retired and no moves are made)

Natty Bumpo said...

how does the salary cap work for players acquired during the season? are they pro-rated into the salary structure in the same manner?

so say we sit alzner until the 48th game, leaving us right up against the cap. (really not the worst option, but it would've been nice if we could have based his progression on play rather than salary crunch.) are we handcuffed at the trade deadline with so little wiggle room under the cap?

Tyler said...

Thanks ns. Is that with a 23-man roster, I assume? So I guess going to a 22-man roster would probably only impact that by 10-15 games... which leads one to think that the Alzner-opens-in-Hershey thing isn't a great option. I mean, if Alzner's down there for 10 games, that's no biggie...

NS said...

22 man roster for first 47 games, 23 for last 35.

would be tricky to pull off, although i guess they could just call someone up from Hershey if a D-man got hurt

DMG said...

In my opinion the most expendable players are Erskine and Fleischmann, if everyone is healthy and Alzer is NHL ready, because:

* Erskine really isn't good enough to be playing a regular shift in the NHL. He's got great effort and toughness, but it's just too hard to overlook his lack of skating ability.

* If Clark comes back, Fleischmann is behind Ovechkin, Kozlov, Semin, Fehr, Clark, Laich and Bradley in terms of depth on the wings. He might turn things around like Boudreau is expecting, but when you're that low on the depth chart, you can easily become the odd man out.

Ergo, if Alzer and Clark are ready to go, the Capitals can trade/waive/demote Fleischmann and Erskine and carry a 22 man roster. If Alzner isn't ready to go, they can keep Erskine or Lepisto (or both since their total cap number is lower than Alzner's). If Clark isn't ready to go, he gets put on LTIR and the team keep Fleischman for depth.

Bottom line: the team isn't going to have to jettison anyone crucial in order to fit under the salary cap because (even though it isn't clear how things will go exactly), the roster and salary structure is such that they can get under the cap without too much trouble.

Doug said...

I don't look for the Caps to unload Kozlov this year. Next year, we'll know about Fehr, one way ot the other. If Fehr isn't what he needs to be, Bouchard could fill Kozlov's slot.

Forwards in 2009/2010 will be at least $7.5M lighter due to departures of: Fedorov/Kozlov/Brashear. We can welcome (perhaps) Bouchard, Perreault, Osala to the lineup.

We may say "goodbye" to Fleischmann/Gordon as well.

I'm concentrating on 2008/2009, but believe the Caps have salary in pretty good order. Theordore's salary versus Huet is a great bargain and will allow us to keep (prayerfully) both Semin & Backstrom in the summer of 2010.

hotdog88gt said...

Amazing how Alzner hasn't played a single NHL game yet he's factored into every lineup-related thread here. After his first NHL games I'm sure he'll be ripped to shreds by the same people advocating now.

I'm betting GMGM isn't counting on Karl playing any significant time in Washington this year (at this point).

@b.orr4: your shot at Mo', that he's a one-dimensional player isn't fair. He's a defenseman. How many dimensions should he have? Everything I've read about Alzner here describes a one-dimensional player (doesn't hit, etc). Mo' is reliable and a big part of this team.

DMG said...

It makes sense for people to consider Alzner for next season. After all, he was taken 5th overall and captained both his WHL team Team Canada at the World Juniors and was the WHL Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year.

At the same time, right now you'd probably have to think of Alzner as number five on the depth chart at best, and I think that's what most people are doing. I don't think anyone's exactly handing him an NHL job at this point