With the Aug. 15 deadline approaching, it appears the Caps may lose a prospect from their 2012 draft class. Forward prospect Thomas DiPauli will become a free agent on Aug. 15 if the Caps are unable to sign him to a contract before then.
Now Craig Custance of ESPN is reporting it is unlikely the Caps will be able to sign DiPauli before Aug. 15.
Sounds like Caps prospect Thomas Di Pauli (Notre Dame) won't be signed before Aug. 15 & will test free agency. Hasn't ruled out Caps though.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) July 26, 2016
The news comes as little surprise considering how long the Caps have been trying to sign him and have been unable to do so.
"We're working on trying to sign him," Brian MacLellan said at development camp. "It's been ongoing and we'd like to have him turn pro and play in Hershey next year."
DiPauli was not at the team's development camp in July.
After getting drafted in 2012, DiPauli has spent the last four years playing for Notre Dame. According to the CBA, a player who is drafted before beginning his college career and then plays the next four years in college can become a free agent on Aug. 15 four years after he was drafted if he does not sign an entry-level contract with the team that drafted him. Jimmy Vesey made headlines this spring by deciding not to sign with the Nashville Predators and is expected to head to free agency as well.
As Custance notes, the Caps are still in contention to land his services which begs the question, why would he not just sign?
Vesey was the Hobey Baker Award winner in 2016 as the top college hockey player. He will likely make the jump to the NHL right away regardless of what team he signs with, as Nashville general manager David Poile indicated. There is not the same buzz surrounding DiPauli and it is unclear just what sort of market their will be for his services past Aug. 15. No doubt there will be some interest—he is a young player with a lot of offensive skill and upside—but perhaps not as much as he may be expecting.
The Capitals selected DiPauli in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Draft. In his senior season at Notre Dame, he was the third leading scorer on the Fighting Irish with 32 points.