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Posted at 10:37 AM ET, 07/05/2011

Washington Capitals close to NHL salary cap after free agent signings

In a whirlwind start to free agency, the Capitals added four players in goaltender Tomas Vokoun, forwards Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward and defenseman Roman Hamrlik to the roster this weekend. Those signings also inched Washington closer to the NHL salary cap of $64.3 million.

According to Capgeek, the Capitals have $544,872 in space under the maximum with restricted free agents Troy Brouwer and Karl Alzner still to sign. Washington has wiggle room, though, because teams are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the summer. Even so, the limit may not be an immediate concern given the injuries to Tom Poti (groin) and Eric Fehr (shoulder), who could end up on the long-term injury list at the start of the season and free up salary cap room.

Washington could also venture into the trade market to free up space and give itself more flexibility under the salary cap – a possibility that neither General Manager George McPhee nor owner Ted Leonsis has ruled out.

“Will we talk to other teams? Certainly,” McPhee said during a conference call with reporters Sunday. “And we’ll see what develops the rest of the season.”

On his blog, Leonsis wrote: “We will look to make some trades in the off season maybe even sign another free agent. We will continue to look at all of our options. We may not be able to get anything done. We may be able to do something. Time will tell.”

And if you missed any of the signings from the weekend, here’s a post-holiday edition of the morning roundup to get you caught up.

--On Friday, Washington added three veterans in Potomac, Md., native Halpern, energetic winger and playoff performer Ward and steady defender Hamrlik.

--The Capitals also traded goaltender Semyon Varlamov to the Avalanche for a first-round pick (2012) and a second-round pick (2012 or 2013).

--In perhaps the biggest bargain signing of the summer so far, McPhee inked Vokoun to a one-year, $1.5 million deal and added an elite, established goaltender to the Capitals depth chart.

By  |  10:37 AM ET, 07/05/2011

 
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