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Capitals recall two players from Hershey, what does that mean for John Carlson?

Capitals recall two players from Hershey, what does that mean for John Carlson?

With the All-Star game now in the rearview mirror, the Capitals wasted little time getting back to business on Monday with the recall of Christian Djoos and Chandler Stephenson from the AHL.

Bringing back Stephenson is no real surprise. With only 12 forwards on the roster, Washington typically brings in an extra forward whenever they play on the road. Stephenson was recalled for the team's last road trip and played the final two games heading into the All-Star break. The team's first game back is on Tuesday in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders.

The real news is Djoos and what his recall may mean for John Carlson.

RELATED: Power Rankings: Caps close to last season's pace

Prior to the recall, the Caps had seven defensemen on the roster including Carlson who missed the last six games with a lower-body injury. It was believed that holding Carlson out of the team's two-game road trip heading into the All-Star break was just a precaution and that he would be ready to play against the Islanders.

If Carlson is ready to play, there would seem to be little reason to bring in an eighth defenseman, especially a prospect like Djoos.

A native of Goteborg, Sweden, Djoos is considered one of the team's top prospects on the blue line. In 35 games with Hershey this season, Djoos has earned 26 points. Though he may be undersized (6'0", 164 pounds) he is an incredibly skilled player. At only 22 years old, he has not yet made his NHL debut and is not the type of player the team would recall just to sit out as a healthy scratch.

While recalling Djoos does not necessarily mean Carlson may not yet be ready to return, the Caps now have eight defensemen on the roster meaning two now will have to sit out Tuesday's game. If Carlson is not one of them, who will it be?

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin thought it was weird playing with Crosby

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2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL


2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL

The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.

Meet the newest prospects:

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pounds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: F Eric Florchuk, WHL, 6'2", 174 pounds

Florchuk was taken with the last pick of the draft.


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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”