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Does Johansson's new contract make it more likely he'll be taken by Vegas?

Does Johansson's new contract make it more likely he'll be taken by Vegas?

With a three-year contract signed, it appears Marcus Johansson will be a part of the Capitals' future plans. Or will he?

As happy as Johansson is with his new contract and with the prospect of remaining in Washington, his new contract actually may find him playing hockey in Las Vegas next year.

With the Las Vegas expansion team set to enter the league, the NHL will hold an expansion draft in the summer of 2017 in which the new team will select players from current rosters. While each team will be able to protect certain players from the draft, every team is going to lose one. Johansson may just end up being that player for the Caps.


Current teams will have the option of either protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie from the draft or nine skaters and one goalie. Most teams are going to pick the first option rather than the second because of simple math, protecting 11 players is better than protecting only eight. While teams will have to decide which of their top four defensemen is expandable, they will be able to protect their entire top six on offense. That will give Vegas plenty of players to choose from on defense, but very few options on offense.

Johansson is a forward with top six skill. He has registered over 40 points in each of the last three seasons, has plenty of speed and can play winger or center. With a cap hit of only $4.583 million, his price tag also is fairly reasonable for a player of his caliber.

The term is also a bonus as Johansson will be locked in until 2019. Remember, many of the players on Vegas' initial roster will not be there by choice. Players taken in the expansion draft didn't choose to sign there so getting contracts with more than one year remaining will prevent a mass exodus of players after the team's first season.

And let's not forget who will be making the picks for Vegas.

As general manager of the Caps, George McPhee drafted Johansson in the first round of the 2009 entry draft. If there's one thing we know about McPhee, it's that he has plenty of trust in "his" players.

By rule, players with a no-movement clause in their contract must be protected by their team from the draft. Johansson's new contract, however, includes a modified no-trade clause in the final two years of the deal, not a no-movement clause. That means the Capitals are under no such obligation to protect him from the draft.

Of course, Washington could choose to protect Johansson anyway in which case this argument would be moot. With players like Jakub Vrana and Travis Boyd waiting for their shots at the NHL and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky nearing the end of their entry-level contracts however, general manager Brian MacLellan may choose to leave Johansson available.

A top six forward at a reasonable cap hit and two years remaining on his contract in whom McPhee is already very familiar with? Sounds pretty enticing to me.


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2018 Olympic Hockey Results: U.S. Women back in the gold medal match

2018 Olympic Hockey Results: U.S. Women back in the gold medal match

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- The Americans played their way back into the only women's hockey game that matters: a showdown with Canada for the Olympic gold medal.

The Americans are back in the title game for a third straight Olympics after shutting out Finland 5-0 on Monday in the semifinals. They will face their arch-rival, which beat the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" 5-0 a few hours later, on Thursday. They Americans will be trying to win their first gold since 1998 when women's hockey made its debut in the Olympics.

And yes, the Americans understand the United States-Canada playing for gold is what everyone expects to see.


"Definitely the rivalry has been there since I think I was born, so everyone's looking forward to that," said 22-year-old Dani Cameranesi.

This will be the third opportunity at gold for six Americans: captain Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Kacey Bellamy and twin sisters Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.

"It's honestly a dream come true," Knight said. "This is the world's biggest stage. This is the game that you want. This is the game we've been dreaming of and to have another opportunity to get back here, it's huge."

Olympic newcomer Cameranesi scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Americans over Finland. Marvin started the scoring, and Lamoureux-Davidson and Knight both scored during a 5-on-3 34 seconds apart in the second period. Maddie Rooney made 14 saves for the shutout.

Finland remains winless in eight games against the Americans at the Olympics. The Finns, ranked third in the world last year, will try to take home the bronze medal for the first time since 2010.

"We're got one thing on our mind, and that's to get a medal," said goaltender Noora Raty, who made 33 saves. "They're the best in the world (U.S. and Canada). We just need to get more girls involved so we have more to choose from."

The Americans opened these games a 2-1 loss to Canada wrapping up pool play.

"This was really a gold-medal preparation for us because they're a darn good team, and we had to be ready to play," U.S. coach Robb Stauber said of Finland.

The Americans wasted no time getting on the board. Captain Meghan Duggan found Marvin alone in the slot, and she beat Raty stick-side for the easy goal just 2:25 into the game.

Finland lost defenseman when she had to be helped off the ice and to the locker room after a knee-on-knee collision with Duggan. She was knocked off balance before crashing face-first into the boards, snapping her head back. When play resumed without a penalty, some fans booed. Savolainen returned in the second period.


Stauber said the referee immediately came over and said it was a collision. Duggan said she was really happy Savolainen got up and that any decision about a potential suspension was out of her control.

"There's been some other plays that haven't been put into question, and so I can't imagine that there would be any disciplinary action just based on other things that have been let go," Duggan said.

Cameranesi put the United States up 2-0 with 1:22 left in the period, taking the puck away from Susanna Tapani and skating into the left circle before beating Raty's blocker with a wrist shot top shelf.

Lamoureux-Davidson's slap shot from the left circle came with 2 seconds left on the 5-on-3 at 13:21 of the second period, and Knight got her first goal of this tournament by redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin with 5 seconds left on the man advantage for the 4-0 lead. Cameranesi padded the lead as she scored from the slot over Raty's glove off a pass from Hannah Brandt.

"We're super excited to be in this position again," Lamoureux-Davidson said. "We worked four years to put ourselves in position to compete for a gold medal and we'll enjoy this for a little bit, but we know that this isn't what we came here for. We're ready to go to battle in a couple days."

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NHL Power Rankings: A rough week


NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

The Caps are coming off of one of, if not the worst week of their season. Washington has now lost three of four games and all three of those losses came in devastating fashion.

On Feb. 11, the Caps hosted a scuffling Detroit Red Wings team and saw the Wings build a 4-1 lead in the second period, a period in which the Caps were outshot 17-2. Washington battled back to tie the game, but ultimately lost in overtime. Tuesday in Winnipeg the Caps held a 3-1 lead in the third period, but allowed the Jets to mount a comeback and tie the game with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation before losing in overtime. Then, of course, there was Saturday's 7-1 blowout at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that had lost eight straight coming into that game.


To make matters worse, the Pittsburgh Penguins keep on winning and now hold a one-point lead over Washington. So yeah, things were not great.

The bad news is that, with the recent surges of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and even New Jersey, the Caps have to figure things out fast or they could continue to fall in the standings fairly quickly.

The good news is that they still remain in a relatively good position should they rebound. The Penguins do hold a one-point lead in the standings, but the Caps remain very much in the driver's seat of the division with three games in hand.

Four games separate Washington from the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The Caps will play in Buffalo, host Tampa Bay, play in Florida and host Buffalo. Winning three of those four games, especially if they can beat the dominant Lightning, will go a long way towards putting last week in the rearview mirror. Another tough week, however, could force the hand of general manager Brian MacLellan to make an unanticipated move at the trade deadline in order to keep a playoff season from falling apart.

After a week like that, it's no surprise to see Washington fall in this week's NHL Power Rankings. You can see the full rankings here.