While Brent Burns’ eight year, $64MM contract took the top pending unrestricted free agent off the market, it also helps shape the asking price for some of the other top blueliners. As part of their Saturday Headlines segment (video link), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos provided some updates regarding pending free agents Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis) and Karl Alzner (Washington).
Friedman reports that two teams were granted permission to speak to Shattenkirk last summer as part of a potential trade, Arizona and Edmonton. Both teams ultimately went elsewhere for help on the back end with the Coyotes trading for the rights to (and signing) Alex Goligoski while the Oilers traded for Adam Larsson.
He added that the belief is that Shattenkirk – who had little interest in joining the Oilers – likes the idea of playing for the New York Rangers. However, as arguably the best blueliner left on the market, there’s bound to be a bidding war for his services, one that Friedman feels could go as high as $7MM per season on a new deal.
As for Alzner, his market will be different than Shattenkirk’s as the two are very different players. Shattenkirk is one of the better offensive producers from the back end while Alzner is regarded as one of the premier shutdown defenders league-wide. With that reputation, Kypreos reports that the asking price on a long-term deal for Alzner could be as high as $6MM per season.
The Capitals have ten regulars in need of new contracts for next season between their restricted and unrestricted free agents which gives GM Brian MacLellan a chance to potentially reshape the roster. As a result, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to commit to a long-term deal with Alzner for the time being at least as they’ll want to see how this season plays out first.
If the 28 year old rearguard makes it to the open market, Kypreos suggests that the Golden Knights, with former Washington GM George McPhee at the helm, could be a strong suitor for his services.