In an effort to clear space under the salary cap, the Capitals traded right wing Eric Fehr to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick in 2012 and prospect Danick Paquette.
Fehr, a first-round draft pick in 2003, spent the past three full seasons in Washington but was occasionally limited by repeat shoulder injuries. The 25-year-old a Manitoba native is currently recovering from surgery on his right shoulder. Fehr’s best season with the Capitals came in 2009-10 when he recorded career highs in goals (21) and points (39).
“We have a surplus of right wingers and we decided to move one to build upon our draft pick stock for the 2012 Draft,” General Manager George McPhee said in a statement. “We also added a gritty prospect in Danick Paquette to our organization. Eric Fehr is a first class person. We thank him for his contributions to the Washington Capitals and wish him well.”
By trading Fehr, Washington sheds $2.2 million in salary for next season. It was likely a necessary move for the Capitals, who in a series of signings over the past week exceeded the $64.3 million salary cap for 2011-12.
Even with the wiggle room of being able to go over the cap by 10 percent in the summer before complying with the ceiling at the start of the season, the Capitals still needed to sign at least one remaining player in restricted free agent defenseman Karl Alzner.
Reached earlier on Friday, J.P. Barry, Alzner’s agent, said that even after continued conversations with Capitals assistant general manager Don Fishman over the past two weeks, “we just disagree where Karl’s value is.”
“We’ve been trying for a long time to work on a two-year deal, with value based on what Karl’s arbitration would come in at,” said Barry, who added that a longer-term deal was not discussed with Washington. “We’ve just been unable to bridge the gap at this stage.”
Alzner is now a week away from the July 15 deadline to accept the qualifying offer tendered to him by Washington. Alzner’s qualifying offer, according to Capgeek, is a one-way deal worth $826,875.
“That’s a decision we’ll have to look at, too,” Barry said. “That way Karl can go back to playing and it’s something we can revisit and figure out beginning in January [of 2012].”
While having Alzner sign at his qualifying offer rate for a year would certainly be a bargain for the Capitals, he would certainly be looking at a sizable raise in his next contract.
By freeing up space in trading Fehr to Winnipeg, though, the Capitals just gave themselves more flexibility to sign Alzner to something other than his qualifying offer.
--In other news, as reported by the Washington Times, the Capitals bought out Tyler Sloan because the defenseman asked to be traded but General Manager George McPhee was unable to find a deal to send him elsewhere.