Waivers, Laich, and Beagle

The Washington Capitals announced on Saturday that they were placing Brooks Laich, the only player that has been with the team as long as Alexander Ovechkin, on waivers. With the return of center Jay Beagle seemingly around the corner, the Caps are finding they need to free up some room on the team salary cap. If another team picks up Brooks they also pick up the balance of  his $4.5 million contract.

  • The salary cap—the maximum amount a team can spend on player salaries—is a complex calculation of the percentage of earned revenue that is further complicated when adjusting for the value of the Canadian dollar and the Canadian TV market.
  • Roster movement also requires constant adjustment to ensure that the teams stay above the minimum ($52.8 million) and that they don’t bump too close to the maximum or “hard cap” of $71.4 million

Although Laich has been healthy this season, in 59 games he only has one goal and six assists as he centers the fourth line. He hasn’t scored since November 5th against the Boston Bruins. In the past five games Brooks has demonstrated the drive to succeed that he is known for with three shots on goal, two in one game. Despite his efforts and the hopes of Caps fans that this season would be his breakout season, the numbers prove otherwise.

 What‘s the Waivers Thing?

Article 13 of the Collective Barging Agreement (CBA) includes the rules that regulate how a player is moved from the NHL to minor league affiliates. As part of the process a player is first offered to other teams in the NHL before being sent down. Teams have 24 hours to claim a player and if he is not claimed by another team, his team can send him to the minors. Note that a team does not HAVE to send an unclaimed player to the minors. If they don’t sent him send him down after 30 days, he must remain in the NHL.

What About Jay Beagle?

Jay Beagle sustained a hand injury on 30 December 2015 and has been out since. He began working out with the trainers before team practice and joined the team for practice 20 February and was cleared for contact three days later. In the team interviews Saturday he indicated that he was close to returning, perhaps this weekend but certainly this week. He said he is feeling stronger. To bring Jay off of the injured reserve list though means that Washington will need to make room for his salary.

Moving Forward

From a salary cap perspective, in this case, if Brooks isn’t picked up and the Caps decide to send him to Hershey to play with the Bears, the Capitals would free up $950,000. It would give them the ability to acquire a player for whatever gap they believe they have. Add in a little John Carlson on the Long-term injured reserve list for a few weeks, also gives them a bit of freedom on the salary cap, according to Chuck Gormley of CSN. Right now it’s a roster movement game to open the door for the return of Jay Beagle or the acquisition of a new player. And then when Carly is ready, the legal minds at the Caps will have to sort it all out again. Let us not forget additionally after the trade deadline there is not roster limit to how many players a team can carry.

Author: Maggie Marcum

Managing Editor for Friends in Cold Places.

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