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When Capitals general manager George McPhee claimed earlier this week that the team's roster was "pretty much full" and that it did not plan to be active in free agency, there was noticeable dissension from a section of the fan base clamoring for an impact free agent to strengthen what they felt was and is an incomplete roster.
Newly re-signed defenseman Karl Alzner shared their sentiment Wednesday, saying that while the Capitals as currently constructed can be "very competitive," he would not be opposed to adding "one more big-name" free agent.
“We haven’t done a whole lot, trying to lock up some of the guys we have right now,” Alzner said during a conference call with reporters to discuss his four-year, $11.2 million contract extension. "But there’s still a ton of good players out there that, if we have the opportunity to get, can help us tremendously.”
After Alzner's signing, the Capitals have roughly $5.6 million in salary cap space (restricted free agent forward Marcus Johansson still remains unsigned). Assuming Johansson receives at least $1.2 million per season, that leaves Washington with over $4 million to potentially bring in a free agent.
Alzner specifically mentioned Canucks forward Mason Raymond as someone he would love to join the Capitals during an interview on Sportsnet 960 in Calgary Thursday. Former Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski, Kings forward Dustin Penner and Red Wings forward Damien Brunner are just a few of the notable names currently available.
Yet the Capitals must consider the possibility that forward prospect Tom Wilson, who has a salary cap hit of just under $1.3 million, could make the opening night roster, not to mention the potential arrival of long-awaited forward prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, who could finally make his NHL debut during the second half of the season once the KHL season ends.
Either way, there should be enough room for at least one more player to join the Capitals' roster, but that is a subject that might not be broached until closer to training camp in September.
"In some respects agents might be better off to wait until training camp to do deals or early in the season for certain players because right now there’s not a lot of room for people," McPhee said Wednesday. "You get going in the season and someone realizes they have a hole that hasn’t been able to be filled and then you start talking to players like that.”
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