Washington defenseman Karl Alzner is one of a slew of Capitals players who aren’t currently under contract for next season. As Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post notes, a potential hold up to re-signing Alzner may be the looming Las Vegas expansion draft next June.
Teams can protect three defensemen under what will be the most common option used by teams (there is also the ability to protect eight skaters regardless of position but it’s unlikely that many teams will go that way). The Capitals already have John Carlson and Matt Niskanen that are likely to be protected which would leave one slot for Alzner and pending RFA Dmitry Orlov. Keeping Alzner unsigned would allow them to safely protect Orlov but GM Brian MacLellan noted it could be a priority to get Alzner signed to an extension before then:
“Depending on the value, it would be, yes. We can protect three defensemen, so there’s going to be a decision to be made here at some point. I mean, we have guys that are pretty good.”
Alternatively, the team could come to an agreement on terms and just wait until after the waiver draft to make the deal official. That way, the team could leave Alzner exposed, allowing them to protect Orlov or another defender. MacLellan doesn’t anticipate going that route, nor does he expect other teams to:
“I think that’d be a risky move. I don’t know that anybody’s going to try that. There’s probably a window, I mean, but I don’t know that you can really wait until then. … I don’t think there’s a guarantee. I don’t think you can come to an agreement and say, ‘We’ll sign you after that,’ you know? I don’t anticipate that would work.”
Alzner has spent his entire career with the Capitals, playing in 509 regular season games. While his point total in that time isn’t particularly strong (16 goals and 88 assists), he has been a reliable shutdown rearguard and would have no shortage of suitors if he were to hit the open market.
Other news from the Metropolitan:
- The Islanders considered placing goalie Jean-Francois Berube on waivers, Newsday’s Arthur Staple reported in a reader mailbag. However, they feared that at least one team (San Jose) would have had interest in claiming him so they have opted to keep three goalies up again at least to start the season. While the Sharks didn’t claim a goalie off the waiver wire, one possible suitor for Berube is no longer on the market for a backup with the Penguins adding Mike Condon from the Canadiens earlier this week. With Jonathan Quick out for the Kings though, it’s possible that they could have some interest in repatriating their former farmhand in Berube.
- Pittsburgh right winger Bryan Rust skated for the first time since the playoffs on Wednesday as he works to return to the lineup from an undisclosed injury, notes Bill West of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Rust had a quiet regular season with 11 points in 41 games but played an important role for the Penguins in the playoffs, picking up six goals and three assists in just 23 postseason contests. While he is now skating, there remains no timetable for his return to game action.