Tuesday, July 8, 2008


So Karl Alzner is showing poise. The truly defensive defenseman drafted last summer is looking like he could make a run for the NHL this fall, if reports from development camp are any indication (that and the possible absence of Brian Pothier). A developing solid stay-at-home defenseman? Sounds like the home-grown version of every team’s summer free-agent dream.

This is why the Caps did not jump to overpay someone like Wade Redden until he is 37. Those dollars will need to be applied Mike-Green-like in a few years to keep the Rangers of the world away from the RFA temptation that will be Alzner.

It’s the kind of understated-yet-bound-to-pay-off offseason that leads experts to declare the team has ”been quiet” other than the re-signing of Mike Green. Quiet, of course, means lacking splashy, expensive signings (hello, Chicago) or mass signing of players by a team desperate to replace those that have skipped town (Pittsburgh).

Why pay someone like Redden into his late 30s when you’ll probably have to dish out similar cash to Alzner in his prime mid-to-late 20s? Why take on Markus Naslund and his five recent years of declining production when Nick Backstrom and Alexander Semin will need similarly priced contracts for better production in a couple of years?

Things should get a little louder soon with the apparently imminent keeping of Sergei Fedorov, stacking the Caps down the middle in ways we haven’t seen in probably ever, plus shoring up the penalty kill with his Selke-worthy credentials.

And don’t forget Michael Nylander and Chris Clark coming back to go along with those young prospects on the rise, a salary cap situation well-accounted for in the future to keep the youngsters. Quiet offseasons like this are fine with us.

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