Friday, October 17, 2008

Caps Recall Bourque

C-Bo's back.

8 comments:

B19 said...

Good to see Bork, but bad to see injury's.

this space for rent said...

Woohoo! Welcome back to DC, Bourque. Bad that it had to be this way, but I'm glad to see him.

Chris said...

This pleases me . . . as much as one can be pleased under the circumstances.

Mike in SF said...

Here's my take on the salary cap impact of bringing Chris Bourque up. The short version is that the team would be smart to keep Kozlov out until November 10 for salary cap reasons. Warning: Long post with lots of math content (though I promise, it's just basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).

Take the salary cap spreadsheet linked on the top right of the blog (which by the way, JP, is still called 2007-2008 but actually has this year's salaries). Subtract Karl Alzner and you get $55,981,101. That's the total the Caps would pay in salaries if they kept the opening night roster all year. The salary cap is $56,700,000, so the Caps started the year projecting to run $718,899 under the cap. The season is 191 days long this year (October 4 to April 12). Every day the Caps keep the opening night roster intact, they "bank" about $3,764 of cap money that could be used later in the season ($718,899/191 = $3,764).

Karl Alzner's salary is $1,675,000, which comes out to $8770 per day for each of those 191 days. That means every week the Caps keep the opening night roster, the team earns itself 3 days of Alzner at the end of the season. ($8770/3764 = 2.33, which is 7/3). At that rate, with no injuries, the team could have added Alzner on about January 21. But injuries did happen, and the team had to add Chris Bourque.

Chris Bourque's salary is $633,333. That's $3,316 per day over 191 days. By adding Bourque to the roster, the Caps have reduced the amount of money they're "banking" every day from $3,764 to just $448 per day. At that rate, it takes 20 days to "earn" the chance to play Alzner for just one day.

The thing is, Bourque was added to the roster to fill in for injured players, and you can get cap relief for injured players. Judging from Tarik's blog, Poti and Brashear probably won't be out very long so there won't be any cap relief for them. But Tarik says Kozlov will be out about two weeks. The Caps have good reason to hope he'll be out a little longer than that -- here's why.

The CBA says you get cap relief if a player is out at least 24 days and 10 games. Kozlov last played against Vancouver on the 13th. The 11th game after that is on November 10 (which is 27 days later). If Kozlov returns before that, the team only "banks" the measly $448 per day because Bourque's on the team. But if Kozlov returns on November 10, his salary doesn't count for the 27 days from October 14 to November 9. Kozlov's salary is $2,500,000, or $13,089 per day over 191 days. That's $353,403 of cap relief if Kozlov misses those 10 games. That alone is worth 40 days of Karl Alzner at the end of the season.

Here's how it breaks down. From October 4 until yesterday (13 days) the Caps kept their opening night roster and "banked" $48,930 that they can use at the end of the season. That's five and a half days of Alzner's salary. (It's also less than one day of Alex Ovechkin's, but that's neither here nor there). If Kozlov is out exactly two weeks from his October 13 injury, he'll come back on October 27. If Bourque is sent back to Hershey the same day, them team banks another $6271 between October 13 and October 27, which doesn't even get you one day of Alzner. Assuming the team goes back to its opening night roster on October 27, Alzner can be brought up on January 29, about a week later than he would have if Bourque had not been brought up. (This makes sense because Alzner's salary is about double Bourque's, so if Bourque is on the roster for two weeks, that costs the team one week of Alzner.)

On the other hand, if Kozlov stays on the injured list until November 10, the team will "bank" $273,822 from October 13, when Kozlov was injured, until November 10, when he returns (assuming Chris Bourque stays on the roster until then). And if the team goes back to the opening night roster after that, they'll be able to bring Alzner up in mid-December, about a month earlier than if Kozlov hadn't been replaced on the roster by Bourque for 27 days.

So the bottom line is that the Caps would be well served by making sure that Kozlov doesn't come back too soon. Assuming that the wheels don't come off between now and November 10, it may be a blessing in disguise that Kozlov sprained his knee, and in general it pays to be very conservative with injuries if there's any chance of cap relief.

JP said...

Great stuff, Mike.

DMG said...

Mike,

I agree with JP that was great stuff. I can't verify it thought because when I read that Chris Bourque makes $3,316 a day I just became pretty much focused on that.

pepper said...

I read the rules to say that, if a player falls into the 10 game / 24 day LTI exception, a team gets cap relief in the form of only being able to exceed the cap to replace him with a player or players who earn up to the amount that the injured player earns.

The team cannot "bank" money on account of that injured player not being in the lineup for X number of days. The injured player's salary still counts against the cap, and once the injured player is again ready to play, a move must be made to get back into cap compliance.

Mike in SF said...

Pepper's exactly right, and my long post is wrong. The injured player doesn't come off the books for the term of his injury. Instead, the team is allowed to temporarily exceed the cap by the amount of his salary during the time that he's out. But the team is treated as being at the upper limit of the cap while it's using the long term injury exemption, and it doesn't "bank" anything.

This rule is terrible for Alzner. The team is currently over the cap because it's paying Brian Pothier. It's using the long term injury exemption to be allowed to play games, but the long term injury exemption just puts you at the top of the cap. The team won't "bank" anything, ever, as long as Pothier's on the roster. Which means they'll never "save" enough to bring Alzner up to play with the current roster at the end of the season. The only way they can bring up Alzner is to dump some other players (about $5000 a day worth). To compare, Erskine makes $2814 a day, Jurcina makes $4614, and Schultz makes $3999, so it's not like the team could dump just one defenseman either.

I'm really disappointed. I was looking forward to the day near the end of the season when the team could add Alzner. Now it looks like that can't happen unless the team makes some fairly significant moves.