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Capitals issue qualifying offers to Johansson, Wilson, Orlov, but not Latta

Capitals issue qualifying offers to Johansson, Wilson, Orlov, but not Latta

The Capitals issued qualifying offers to restricted free agents Marcus Johansson, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson on Monday. The news was first reported by Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post.

By giving qualifying offers, the Caps have retained the negotiating rights for each player. As free agents, those players could still sign with other teams, but those teams would have to give an offer sheet for that player. The Caps could then match the offer or allow the player to leave in exchange for compensatory draft picks. This rarely happens as the practice is generally frowned upon by most general managers.

Johansson now finds himself in the same position he was last season. A restricted free agent in 2015, negotiations with the Swedish forward went all the way to arbitration where Johansson was awarded a one-year deal worth $3.75 million. The two sides may find themselves there again with the team trying to negotiate a crowded roster with championship expectations.

One year after setting a career high in goals (20) and points (47), Johansson put together another solid season with 46 points and could command a deal anywhere around $3.5 to $4.5 million per year.

RELATED: Former Hab happy to be a Cap

Despite a year full of ups and downs for Wilson and Orlov, both players still figure largely in the Caps' plans going forward. Following the season, general manager Brian MacLellan hinted that both players would see increased roles next season. MacLellan has also talked about his hope of turning Wilson into a Joel Ward type of player, a forward with increased net presence capable of putting up critical points as well as frustrating opponents. The former first-round draft pick managed only seven goals and 16 assists in 2015-16. As for Orlov, his offensive upside and puck-handling capabilities may land him on the team's top four on defense in place of an aging Brooks Orpik.

Forward Michael Latta was also an unrestricted free agent, but he did not receive a qualifying offer from the team and now appears to be headed for unrestricted free agency. The 25-year-old appeared in only 43 games in the regular season and none in the playoffs. With the Caps up against the salary cap, Latta appeared to be a likely cap casualty as the team tries to make room for Johansson's extension. The trade for Lars Eller, who carries a cap hit of $3.5 million, likely sealed the deal.

Perhaps the worst part of Latta's departure will be the split of Latta and Wilson, also known as the "BroBeans" as dubbed by Andre Burakovsky.

In addition to Latta, defenseman Ryan Stanton and center Caleb Herbert will also become unrestricted free agents after not receiving qualyfing offers. Stanton played in one game this season with the Caps. Herbert has yet to appear in an NHL game.

MORE CAPITALS: Capitals announce development camp schedule

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.