Breaking down the Capitals’ restricted free agents

May 22, 2013

Of the players who saw regular time on the Capitals’ roster this season, three are set to become restricted free agents and the team obtains negotiating rights simply by submitting a qualifying offer. Washington has the right to match any offer from another team and receives compensation if the free agent were to ultimately sign elsewhere.

For more on the Capitals’ unrestricted free agents, check out a breakdown from Tuesday.

A quick note: Players’ salaries, not their salary cap hits, were included for offseason purposes. All numbers, including qualifying offer calculations, are from Capgeek.


(Kathy Willens/Associated Press)

Karl Alzner
2012-13 salary: $1.27 million | Qualifying offer: $1.27 million | Age: 24
2012-13 regular season NHL stats: 48 GP, 1G, 4A, -6 | Playoffs: 7 GP, 1G, 1A, +3.

Alzner’s play is something akin to the pledge of the postman in the sense that “neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor hail” shall keep him from being a steadying, reliable presence in Washington’s top four. The Calgary native hasn’t missed a single game in the past three years, since he earned a full-time spot in the NHL, and has been a stable defensive anchor for the Capitals all along the way.

While Alzner won’t command a cap hit like John Carlson at nearly $4 million – defensive defensemen never earn the salaries of their more offensively inclined counterparts — he’s due for a raise, and a sizable one at that. Don’t be surprised if the Capitals aim for a deal that would include at least a few years of his unrestricted free agent eligibility.


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Marcus Johansson
2012-13 salary: $900,000 | Qualifying offer: $850,500 | Age: 22
2012-13 regular season NHL stats: 34 GP, 6G, 16A, +3 | Playoffs: 7 GP, 1G, 1A, -3.

After missing 12 games with a concussion, an injury he foolishly tried to play through for two weeks, Johansson found his groove in the regular season as the top-line left wing alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Coach Adam Oates routinely cited Johansson as a driver of the unit’s success, and the 2009 first-round pick put forth some of his best performances to date as the season wound down.

While he’s showing improvement and will likely receive some type of raise, keep in mind that Johansson is coming off his entry-level deal and few RFAs in that position have significant leverage in negotiations.


(Bruce Bennett/Getty)

Tomas Kundratek
2012-13 salary: $600,000 | Qualifying offer: $660,500 | Age: 23
2012-13 regular season NHL stats: 25 GP, 1G, 6A, -5 | Playoffs: 0 GP.

His combination of right-handedness and an ability to make a strong impression on Oates and assistant coach Calle Johansson in Hershey during the NHL lockout led to a speedy call-up for the young defenseman. Kundratek learned on the fly and helped the Capitals cope with a variety of injuries on the blueline until he went down with one himself.

While he didn’t play another game in Washington after suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee in March, Kundratek went from prospect to viable option in the NHL. There’s no reason for the Capitals not to re-sign him, if only to bolster organizational depth. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the mix in Washington at some point next year, either, especially given Oates’s preference for having a right- and left-handed defenseman on each pairing.

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