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Erskine Gets $2.5 Million

I'm told that defenseman John Erskine will earn $1.25 million in each of the next two seasons after earning $550,000 this season. If you read between the lines, his new contract shows the Caps are counting on him to contribute on a nightly basis as a No. 5 or 6. Because that's too much money for a player who might be scratched on a regular basis.

I'm still not sure about Erskine's status for tonight, but I'll update the blog when I know.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 23, 2008; 6:58 PM ET
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Next: Erskine Out Tonight


Wow .. first?

Addressing two issues posted earlier today:

1) Took down the old AO piece on the Caps section front. You guys are right -- ancient.

2) We are planning to schedule plenty of Caps with Tarik chats this season. Instead of a set day, we aim to time them around big events/stories -- more people will likely participate that way, we have found.

Please keep the suggestions coming ...

Jon DeNunzio
Sports editor,

Posted by: Jon DeNunzio | October 23, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Forgive me, Tarik, but I must ask the question(s):

How is our friend Brian Pothier managing with his recovery? Has he made any more progress since you last reported?

Enjoy Phoenix- and let's go Caps!

Posted by: Terptwin | October 23, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update and showing an interest in this blog. I was wondering if at some point, you would be agreeable to haveing a Caps player on with Tarik to interact with the fans a bit and answer questions.

Posted by: Riddler1 | October 23, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

questionable to say the least

Posted by: ahbest3 | October 23, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

That number leaves me speechless.

Posted by: JillC | October 23, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow... Way too much. I don't get it.

Posted by: nautikal | October 23, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

What a bleepin' joke. He isn't worth $1.25 a year.

This is a contract that will come back to haunt us.

Posted by: CapsNut | October 23, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Really? I mean, really?

Guess we're letting Morrisonn and Jurcina walk in July (or get traded).

Posted by: Section117 | October 23, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I told Mrs. 117 just now, and her reaction: "Seriously?"

Posted by: Section117 | October 23, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I must agree, 2.5 million was NOT a bargain for a D-man who isn't that great. I have been a long time fan of this organization and I hope this deal doesn't come back to haunt us when other young and important free agents need to be signed next summer. (i.e. schultz, morrisonn, and yes even jurcina now with the way he's played so far this season)

Lets hope to improve to 4 wins tonight!


Posted by: TowsonCapsFan | October 23, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say I wish I could have my salary more than doubled for putting in a mediocre performance.

Apparently they see some potential there.

Posted by: JillC | October 23, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope this is incorrect, but who knows. Is there something that the coaches see in Erskine that we just don't as fans? How can a guy that gets scratched half of last season sign a deal like that?

Posted by: WVPhil | October 23, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that the coaches must like his "physical presence" back on D.

I still don't believe he's worth that kind of money, which means the whole theory of signing him back because he was a cheap option is completely inaccurate.

Posted by: TowsonCapsFan | October 23, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse


I want what the front office is smoking.

Posted by: kittypawz | October 23, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse


The question is how can management offer a contract like that to a guy scratched half of last season?

Posted by: TowsonCapsFan | October 23, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

And of course "physical presence" is a euphemism for "slow skater."

Personally, I don't think he is all of that, but then again, I'm not a professional hockey person and don't get paid to make these decisions.

I would agree that it does defeat the "cheap" option in the future and that some guys on the D core will not be back next year. Of course we knew that anyway.

Posted by: WVPhil | October 23, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? I mean really??? GMGM whats going through your head.

Posted by: TJ2008 | October 23, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: cplcespod | October 23, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Just had a thought. Any way this is to lock him up for a few years and then send him to Hershey to help groom some of the younger guys? No one would claim him off waivers at that salary? Am I over thinking this?

Posted by: WVPhil | October 23, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

like everyone else i'm stunned at this number - and for two years.

i must question the timing... why was this necessary this early in the season? why not let him play for a while and see how durable, effective (or more likely how much of a liability) he is this season??

did they really think someone was going to swoop in and steal him away?

Posted by: jason595 | October 23, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

well I like Erskin, but a lot of that had to do with his paycheck. He doesn't deserve that much dough unless he's getting magical skates along with that 1.25. Isn't this going to hurt out cap? What are we going to do about Alzner if we're spending more instead of making room? This doesn't make any sense, but maybe that's why i'm not running the show.

Posted by: dcfury | October 23, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm speechless. He's getting over 100% raise? I figured with our young defensemen coming up, he would be gone next year. Now we're stuck with him for two years. This one doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: VegasCapsFan | October 23, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I would have waited more games before "promoting" Esrkine. I think he can play better and smarter and faster, but he still need to prove it consistently.

The Caps are going for big guys... but sometimes it's too easy to skate past him. On the other hand we need his toughness, especially if he learns how to clear the crease and be a better D.

Posted by: mauree | October 23, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I leave town for 1 week and this is the news I get? Flatfoot gets a two year extension?!?! I'm speechless...just speechless.

Posted by: Yoshietree | October 23, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse


...surely you jest.

Posted by: irockthered | October 23, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm stunned by this one. Bad enough to have Bradley on the books and making seven figures for three years, now two more of Erskine at $1.25M per?

Erskine's only worth from year to year is as a seventh defenseman who can fill in until a kid can come up from Hershey. This is a completely unearned vote of confidence, his one solid game out of every six or seven isn't what it should take to get this kind of a contract.

$500K is fair for Erskine.

Posted by: AngryNomad | October 23, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

No comment. I'm still in shock.

Posted by: ratgurl46 | October 23, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

That number cannot be right.

Posted by: jincargo | October 24, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

2.5? That makes zero sense. Something odd is afoot. Maybe Schultz/Poti/? is already been penciled out for next year.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | October 24, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm at a total loss here. I figured John was gone after this season, and would have been out the door this season if the Caps had enough money under the Cap to pay Alzner. What is the front office fascination with signing mediocre defensemen to multi-year contracts for twice what they are worth? This is really going to backfire if league revenues are down this year and the salary cap is lowered next season.

Posted by: cainoo7x | October 24, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

oldtime - Even so (and God I hope Schultz isn't being pencilled out, he's by far their best defensive defenseman right now), it's indefensible to overpay a mediocre number seven by three quarters of a million per year just because you may have some extra cash in the future.

I can see paying players for performance - Laich and Clark aren't earning their pay checks at all so far this year, but they justified them at least in the past (well, Clark did - Laich's another story). Erskine's done nothing so far, and isn't capable doing so in the future, to earn that kind of scratch.

Posted by: AngryNomad | October 24, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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