The Capitals have signed hard-hitting right wing Tom Wilson to a two-year, $4 million contract, the team announced today.
Wilson, who was due to become a restricted free agent, will earn $1.75 million in 2016-17 and $2.25 million in 2017-18. He carried a cap hit of $894,166 under his three-year, entry-level contract.
Wilson’s signing leaves the Capitals with roughly $8.9 million in salary cap space. They still need to sign restricted free agents Marcus Johansson and Dmitry Orlov. Johansson is expected to carry a cap hit somewhere between $4.25 million and $4.75 million, while Orlov is expected to be in the range of $2.5 million.
If that’s the case, the Caps would be left with roughly $2 million in cap space.
NHL teams can begin signing free agents at noon on Friday.
Wilson, 22, registered 23 points (seven goals, 16 assists) and led the Capitals with 163 penalty minutes in 82 games last season. After the season, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said he'd like to see Wilson become more of an offensive weapon by scoring goals around the net, much like Joel Ward did in his four seasons with the Caps.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right wing set career highs in points, goals, assists and plus/minus (plus-4) and played in all 82 games for the second time in his three-season NHL career. Wilson led the Capitals and ranked 10th in the NHL in hits (253).
Wilson played in his 200th NHL game against Philadelphia on Feb. 7, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to play 200 games before his 22nd birthday (Bob Carpenter, Scott Stevens, Gaetan Duchesne, Kevin Hatcher).
Wilson has earned 50 points (14 goals, 36 assists) and 486 penalty minutes in 231 career NHL games with Washington. He has led the Capitals in penalty minutes in each of his three NHL seasons.
The Toronto native was drafted by the Caps in the first round, 16th overall, in the 2012 NHL draft. He ranks first in penalty minutes (486) and fifth in games played (231) among the 2012 NHL Draft class.
The Caps also re-signed veteran center Zach Sill, who avoided free agency by signing a two-year, two-way contract.
The Caps now have 37 players under contract, well below the 50-man limit.
Sill, 28, served as an alternate captain of the Hershey Bears last season, playing in 63 games and recording nine goals and 13 assists. He added six goals and four assists in 21 Calder Cup playoff games as the Bears reached the Calder Cup finals.
Sill also played in 10 games for the Capitals last season, recording one goal. A 6-foot-1, 202-pounder from Truro, Nova Scotia, Sill made his Washington debut on Dec. 30 against Buffalo and scored his first goal for the Caps on Jan. 10 against Ottawa. Sill has earned five points (two goals, three assists) in 93 career NHL games with Pittsburgh, Toronto and the Caps.
With Sill signed, the Caps are likely to see 13 of their contracted players become unrestricted free agents at noon on Friday.
Of those 13 players, forwards Jason Chimera, Mike Richards, Michael Latta and Sean Collins and defensemen Mike Weber and Ryan Stanton played for the Capitals last season.
The other players scheduled to become UFAs are goaltenders Justin Peters and Dan Ellis, forwards Caleb Herbert, Carter Camper and Ryan Bourque and defensemen Mike Moore.