Exactly two weeks after the free agency period began throughout the NHL, Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner finally signed with the team to a two-year contract worth $2.57 million. While the former restricted free agent (and final RFA that will be on the Caps' final roster next season) is relieved to have contract negotiations out of the way, Alzner seemed disappointed with the overall terms.
"For me personally, there was a little bit left on the table, but at the same time, it's not too often where you get exactly what you're asking for," Alzner said. "We definitely had to come down a bit and Washington had to go up a bit. We're happy we got something done. That was the main thing."
Alzner established himself as one of the best young defensemen in the NHL last season during his first full season. The 22-year-old appeared in all 82 games and earned 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) along with a plus-14 rating. Alzner and his defensive partner, John Carlson, ascended to the top of the Caps' depth chart last season and became the team's best pairing. Yet, Alzner and the Caps could not agree on a deal and according to Alzner, there were no other offers available from other teams, so it was either "take it or leave it."
"It's a big relief. I'm happy that it's done and I don't have to worry about it," Alzner said. "It would have been a different road if we would have not taken this and ended up going to try to figure out a new contract during next season or arbitration. I wanted to get a contract done and just have that in the back of my mind."
When asked about his newest teammates, specifically goaltender Tomas Vokoun (which he called a "steal of a deal"), Alzner was excited about the team that Washington will put on the ice next season and is focused on winning. But he will also try to boost his own play and earn the lucrative contract that he is looking for.
"A lot of guys, their ambition is to be able to play really well and be rewarded for that play, winning a Stanley Cup and being able to sign a bigger ticket than your one before. That's not the main focus, obviously, but it is something that you think about. Hopefully, next one, I play good [sic] these next two years and next contract is something to see, so I guess it's up to me now."