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Laich Under Contract

Forward Brooks Laich was awarded $725,000 in salary abritration this afternoon and is under contract for next season. I'm told it's a one-year, one-way contract.

Defenseman Milan Jurcina is scheduled to have his case heard next Monday.

With Laich in the fold, only Tomas Fleischmann, Jakub Klepis and John Erskine (all RFAs) remain unsigned. (And, of course, Jurcina.)

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 25, 2007; 1:52 PM ET
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That's a 20% raise....double the QA offer then, right? interesting to see if any bad blood after-effects.

I wonder if the one-way vs. a two-way deal was part of the disagreement.

Posted by: stormblue | July 25, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Very Fair. I'm not exactly sure of his motives for arbitration. Possibly to become a free-agent earlier?

Posted by: hey | July 25, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm happy.

'hey,' the motivation likely was to secure the one-way deal. That way, his salary will remain the same, even if he gets stuck in the minors. He and the Caps would probably have been able to agree on the salary easily enough. This does nothing as far as bringing him to free agency earlier, as I understand things.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | July 25, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

He got about $60K more than the qualifying offer and it is now all guaranteed regardless if he gets sent down. It was worth it to him. I think the Caps have to live with it. Good for him.

Posted by: Old Bob | July 25, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Too much for a guy that may not even make the team.

Posted by: Ted | July 25, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have a few players of his caliber. Why do they need him?

Posted by: Finn | July 25, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I thought Laich had more potential than others on the team and he seems a nice guy too. I wasn't sure if they were bringing on Morgan was they're trying to let people go from a crowded field. But his -4 on a team with so many under -10 is a good argument for keeping Laich.

Posted by: Jim | July 25, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

hes nothing more than a chris clark stunt double

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Fair deal. He's a decent player and the Caps apparently thought enough of him to extend a qualifying offer and then sign him after arbitration.

Make no mistake, he's not a top two line player, but we do have a 3rd and 4th line and people can criticize all they want but there simply is not enough money under the Cap to obtain the kind of star players some people want on all four lines and if there were, the Caps couldn't afford the payroll.

We're going to need some solid players that can contribute and will add to team chemistry. Laich is a good sign.

Posted by: Muddapucker | July 25, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Gee, a lot of people hating Laich now because he'll likely be the third lowest paid player on the opening day roster, instead of the lowest paid.

And, as has been brought up on the Capitals official message boards, the award didn't even cross the threshold amount that allows the Caps to walk away.

Good deal for Laich. But please, don't act as if this is 'bad management' or 'a player asking for too much.' I mean, geez...

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | July 25, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The question was: don't we have more than enough of Laich-like players?

Posted by: Finn | July 25, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Finn: Depends on what type of player you think Laich is like. I think he's a young, improving, defensive-minded forward who always plays with an intensity and energy level above his piers, with the versatility to play any position on any line on the ice. I also see him as a face-off specialist and a penalty-killing specialist.

In that regard, the only player who is similar to him is B. Gordon. Others can draw comparisons between him and Sutheby, Bradley, Clymer, Steckel, Pettinger, etc. However, he's younger than all of Sutheby, Bradley, Clymer, Steckel, and Pettinger, and last season was statistically better than any of them but Petty.

There's a lot of players on this team I'd drop before Laich.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | July 25, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I think you're one of the few that really "Gets it." Don't waste your time arguing with those idiots. What's the point?

Posted by: Puckguru` | July 25, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

You know when you say 'better than ...' and look at the salaries, Laich is not better than them if you look at what the Caps are willing to pay. It puts all but Steckel ahead of him, if my numbers are right. So you guys disagree with McPhee and the salary structure then?

Posted by: Ted | July 25, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

i just said he looks a lot like chris clark

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

We do have a lot of Laich-like players, but he is Laich already, and one of the better grinder-types we have, even though I consider Clark far and away the best.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | July 25, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Mr. Blank | July 25, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Puckguru, I agree completely. There is no reason at all for Finn to waste his time here. He'd probaby be much happier if he just left us alone. Actually, I think you should reconsider your own participation, too. Think about it.

Posted by: norske | July 25, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

In the scheme of a $50M cap, and the however many millions we are under it, this is pretty meaningless. Any arguing over the extra $60k he got is mostly just indicative of how much we miss hockey.

Posted by: GJ | July 25, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Muddapucker - I agree with you. Laich is good for the team and I hope he's around for a good while longer.

Posted by: Reston | July 25, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Mr. Blank scooped you on the Staal story, Tarik.

I gotta admit it was good for a couple laughs.

Posted by: Muddapucker | July 25, 2007 8:51 PM | Report abuse

There's no such thing as 'overstocked with inexpensive Chris Clark wannabes'. The Caps have Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Nylander, Kozlov AND too many young guys fighting for the grit spots on the roster.
That's a pretty nice problem to have. See you at the Booth.

Posted by: redlineblue | July 26, 2007 12:07 AM | Report abuse

"It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness."

Posted by: Puckguru | July 26, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Not to make this a browbeating argument, but...Vogel used Jim Slater as a comparable to Laich and here is his argument:
"On the surface of things, Atlanta's Jim Slater would appear to be perhaps the perfect "comparable," especially if you're Laich's agent. Both players have completed two seasons in the league, serving mainly as third- and fourth-line centers. Slater has played in 145 games, totaling 15 goals, 39 points, 108 PIM and a plus-9 while playing just over 10 minutes a night. Laich has 15 goals, 40 points, 57 PIM and a minus-12 while playing about 12 and a half minutes a night.

Slater had five goals and 19 points with a plus-8 in 74 games last season. Laich had eight goals and 18 points with a minus-2 in 73 games last season. Slater earned $900,600 last season, getting nearly 50% more compensation than Laich for essentially the same production."

Slater signed yesterday for $1.55-million, two-year contract.
I think Laich is a bargain.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Be careful there Puckguru. At your age, we've seen that your cognitive capacity has dwindled, and we can assume that you're not as steady as you once were. That candle could just burn your house down, and then where would you be?

Posted by: Fireman Bill | July 26, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

he would be blaming george mcphee, ha

Posted by: Anonymous | July 26, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Fireman Bill,
Shame, shame on you. You are obviously one who's totally consumed with evil. Can't say I'm surprised though. You're typical of your breed.

Posted by: Puckguru | July 26, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

How come so many of the posts are comparing Laich to Clark? The only way I see the two remotely similar is their grinder mentality, but Clark actually scores! He had 30 goals!

I don't have a problem w/ Laich being a 4th liner, but now because they are paying him that much it pretty much gets him on the roster therefore one of the more promising youngsters probably won't make it unless Laich really sucks or gets hurt.

Posted by: capfan1 | July 26, 2007 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey noname,

I think you have to look at the intangibles, and the plus minus rating a little too. Laich hasn't shown any significant leadership skills and really not much improvement either. A plus 9 rating means slater is more of a two way player and that's really what you are looking for on the 3rd and 4th line. Atlanta is probably more comfortable Slater remaining on the team and OK w/ that kind of money. The problem here is that Laich could hinder a younger guy making the team now, but I guess he could get traded too.
It's amazing what such little production can make a player now.

Posted by: capfan1 | July 26, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

capfan1: Um, what do you mean by no improvement? He improved significantly in many categories (most defensive, like shots blocked, takeaways, and +-, but also on the face-off, on goals, on shorthanded goals, and so on. Some of those improvements, mostly the offensive ones, are minor, but they are there). And what are you talking about 'standing in the way of younger players?' He IS a younger player, with only two full seasons in the league and only 24 years old (a year or two older, at most, than the players who you are probably talking about).

Not everyone can be a 20 goal scorer playing ~10 minutes a game in just their second year in the league.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | July 27, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Ah, yes. Guru, as usual, you're right. I'm evil because you're a dottering, humorless old curmudgeon whose only joy is pointing out the (percieved) inadequacies of the Caps.


Posted by: Fireman Bill | July 27, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I understand what you are saying, but sometimes I think the Caps stick with these guys for too long. 2 years certainly isn't too long but if it keeps a guy like Bouchard off the ice and Laich improves again by one goal, a faceoff or two, and a point in his plus minus he'll ask for another raise next year.

I have no problem w/ him being on the team, it's just like Tarik said though--the fact that the Caps are financially committed to some of these guys like Laich, Sutherby, Gordon means that rookies that showed well at the camp are going to have a real hard time cracking the lineup. I heard GMGM say that if they play well they will play for the team, but come on are they really going to send Laich to the minors and pay him that kind of money? I guess they could trade him...

Posted by: capfan1 | July 27, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Fireman Bill,
Contemplating one's house burning down, IS EVIL! I mean, where did that come from any way? you're pathetic.
And, while we're on the subject, ( Just to answer your question of, "Then where would you be" ) I've been blessed to own two homes. One in Bethesda, and the other in Olney. And, you? You express yourself like one who has lived out of a cardboard box, the majority of his life.

Posted by: Puckguru | July 27, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

youre such a pussy guru

Posted by: shut up | July 27, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

capfan1: Laich isn't keeping Bouchard off the ice. Bouchard shouldn't be playing full-time in the NHL this season, anyway -- he should get a full season in the A, possibly 'testing the waters' once or twice when there's the inevitable need for an injury call-up -- and target the NHL for next season. No need to rush him NOW.

Fehr and Flash are both young players who maybe deserve NHL shots. However, the slot Laich is likely to take (3rd or 4th line RW) is not what they need right now. They need to either beat Clark out in camp for the 2nd line RW (pushing Clark to 3rd line and Laich to 4th) or go back to the AHL. They won't get enough minutes on the 4th line, and on they aren't suited for the expected duties of the 3rd line.

If you want to go after the logjammers, target Bradley and Clymer, and maybe even Sutherby (although he's also young, and already being targetted by Steckel, in a sense). Bradley and Clymer are in the downward part of their career as spare parts. I know all of the 05-06 CBS line were willing to drop the gloves, fight, etc., which many regard as an intangible for keeping them, but quite frankly they DIDN'T fight\push their wieght around\etc. last season. Lots has been made of all three being injured for large parts of last season, but quite frankly they aren't needed any more. You want to trade someone away, trade these guys.

Laich is a defense-first forward, which you DO need to develop as well as scoring forwards, and a power play\PK specialist (towards the end of the season after the trade deadline, he played in the defenseman's position, a lot, during 4 or 5 forward PP line-ups -- not conducive to offensive production from the PP for a forward, but making himself useful nonetheless). He also fills in at all positions.

I feel he gets a bum rap from the fans because he doesn't put forward many offensive numbers from the 4th line. However, he made SIGNIFICANT improvements to his defensive game last season, and SIGNIFICANT improvements in his face-offs (a rise of 5% in faceoffs -- which put him as second on the team for 'regular' face-off takers by a tenth of a percent, and even that was decided in the very last game of the season -- as well as doubling his take-aways and shot blocking... and, if you take away the first two weeks of last season, when even I admit he stunk and he dropped into the double digits for the +-, he made huge strides with his +- totals on a team that, overall, made significant DROPS on its +- totals).

But, because he only put up 8 goals and 18 points playing a primarily defensive role mostly on the 4th line (despite brief stints on all four lines in all 3 forward positions), people think he 'didn't improve,' and is a waste of a roster slot. Sigh.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | July 27, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Man, are you his Agent or his Father?

I mean I doubt ANY Capitals fan knows as much about Brooks Laich as you do. Why would we unless we were either his close friend or related to him? Like you said he hasn't put up great, barley any offensive numbers and lets face it that's what gets noticed by fans. He also hasn't shown any flashes of brilliance like Bouchard, Klepis, or Fleischmann. So you want to trade players that we have no use for? And for some reason you think that other teams will? The time to trade isn't when a player has proven he is not worth keeping.
I can't argue with your being passionate about the team and all this will work itself out on the ice..we can talk till we are blue in the face and it ain't going to matter. In the end if we win and Laich is playing on the first line w/ Ovie I will be just as happy!

Jurcina just got paid too. No arbitration though, guess the Caps didn't want to get burned again....

Posted by: capfan1 | July 27, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Shut up? "Your mama!"

Posted by: Puckguru | July 27, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I beg to differ on the "hasnt shown flashes of billiance like Bouchard, Klepis, etc.". How about two very impressive shootout goals against Brodeur and Luongo? Remember M.Green's breakaway goal in Denver? Laich did almost the same thing but passed at the end to Zednik. He has shown "flashes". I'd just like to see it a little more often now that he's got a raise.

Posted by: Captn Clark | July 28, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

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