Now that the Caps have added three key pieces to their puzzle with Tuesday’s signings of defensemen Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, and backup goaltender Justin Peters, they jumped from eighth in the NHL in total payroll to third.
According to capgeek.com, with a current cap space of $1.1 million, the Caps are the closest team to the NHL salary cap without exceeding it. [The Blackhawks are $2.2 million over the cap and the Flyers are $1.2 million over.]
While Tuesday’s signings brings the Caps’ current roster to 22 players, it creates a bit of a logjam on the back end, where Dmitry Orlov, John Erskine, Jack Hillen and Connor Carrick have fallen down the depth chart.
Caps GM Brian MacLellan and defensive coach Todd Reirden said they envision Orpik playing alongside John Carlson as the Caps’ top shutdown pair, which likely leaves Karl Alzner and Matt Niskanen as a second pairing and Mike Green and any combination of Orlov, Hillen and Erskine as a possible third pairing.
Orlov has two years and $4 million remaining on his contract, while Erskine and Hillen are each entering the final year of their deals.
MacLellan said he’d also like to add a center, either through a trade or via free agency.
Here’s a look at the Caps’ 2014-15 financial depth chart, with cap hits. Feel free to move the pieces around any way you see fit in the comments section below:
Brooks Laich [$4.5 mill] - Nicklas Backstrom [$6.7 mill] - Alex Ovechkin [$9.538 mill]
Marcus Johansson [$2 mill] – Evgeny Kuznetsov [$900,000] – Troy Brouwer [$3.666 mill]
Jason Chimera [$2 mill] – Eric Fehr [$1.5 mill] – Joel Ward [$3 mill]
Aaron Volpatti [$575,000] – Jay Beagle [$900,000] – Tom Wilson [$894,167]
Extras: Michael Latta [$575,000], Chris Brown [$853.333], Andre Burakovsky [$894.167]
Brooks Orpik [$5.5 mill] - John Carlson [$3.966 mill]
Karl Alzner [$2.8 mill] – Matt Niskanen [$5.75 mill]
Dmitry Orlov [$2 mill] - Mike Green [$6.083 mill]
Extras: John Erskine [$1.962 mill], Jack Hillen [$700,000], Connor Carrick [$636,667]
Braden Holtby [$1.85 mill] – Justin Peters [$950,000]
[RELATED: Caps busy in free agency (VIDEO)]