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Nate Schmidt awarded two-year deal in arbitration

Nate Schmidt awarded two-year deal in arbitration

Unable to come to an agreement on a new contract, Vegas and Nate Schmidt turned to arbitration to meet somewhere in the middle. The arbiter's ruling did just that...but not by much.

After seeking a one-year deal for $2.75 million from Vegas, Schmidt was awarded a two-year, $4.5 million deal with an average salary of $2.25 million per season according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. That deal is significantly higher than Vegas’ ask of two-years at $975,000 per season.

The Golden Knights now have the option of accepting the ruling or walking away which would make Schmidt an unrestricted free agent.

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Before Caps fans begin to dream of a scenario in which Schmidt could re-sign in Washington, it seems unlikely that Vegas would walk from the ruling. And, even if they did, it would be hard for the Caps to fit Schmidt within the salary cap.

According to Cap Friendly, Vegas has about $5.6 million of cap space remaining and that is with Schmidt’s contract included. This is a team with plenty of cap room and no reason to be stingy on an up-and-coming defenseman.

Washington, on the other hand, only has about $4 million worth of cap space and that is with five defensemen and 10 forwards under contract. The Caps need that remaining money for prospects to bolster the roster and likely could not afford to spend $2.25 million of it on one defenseman without shedding salary.

Schmidt was selected by Vegas after he was left exposed by Washington in the expansion draft. He played in only 60 games in the regular season for the Caps, but played well in the playoffs. HIs performance had him penciled in as a top-four defenseman for the Caps next season, but also likely caught the eye of Golden Knights general manager George McPhee which led to his selection.

UPDATE: The Golden Knights announced last night that they came to terms with Schmidt on a two-year contract, worth $4.5 million. 

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We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington


We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.