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With clock ticking, what will Holtby ruling be?


With clock ticking, what will Holtby ruling be?

With the 48-hour clock ticking on an arbitrator’s ruling of Braden Holtby vs. the Washington Capitals, it is worth noting that one way or another Holtby’s award will have a rippling effect on the nine other arbitration cases still pending. (Thirteen of the 23 filed on July 5 have settled before going to s hearing).

“No matter the player, each one of these will have an affect on another player,” player agent Lewis Gross said, referring to any of the other eight remaining cases that may go to arbitration. “Any agent is going to watch pretty much all the rulings and see how the arbitrators came to their conclusions, because that’s going to be a basis of potential cases that you might do the next  year.”

That said, if Holtby and the Capitals do not come to a long-term agreement before the arbitrator’s ruling, which must be rendered by 1 p.m. on Saturday – 48 hours after Thursday’s hearing concluded – the one-year award for Holtby will set a precedent since it will be the first of this summer and just the third in four years.

There is very little recent history of NHL arbitration rulings simply because so many cases settled before going to a hearing.

In the past two years, 43 of the 44 cases that filed for arbitration were settled before a ruling. Here’s a quick summary:


Twenty-three cases were filed for arbitration, but only two went to a hearing. Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, who made $3.75 million in 2013-14, went to arbitration but struck an eight-year, $72 million agreement with the Canadiens before a ruling was made.

St. Louis Blues center Vladimir Sobotka went to arbitration and was awarded $2.725 million from an arbitrator, up from his $1.4 million salary the year before. But he walked away from the deal, signing a three-year contract in the KHL.


Twenty-one cases were filed. All settled before going to arbitration.


Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kyle Cumiskey was the only NHL player who went to arbitration. He was awarded a two-year, two-way contract worth $744,000 if he played in the NHL, but he walked away from it, signing with Modo of the Swedish Elite League.


Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber asked an arbitrator for $8.5 million. The Predators countered with $4.75 million. An arbitrator awarded him a one-year, $7.5 million contract.

So what can Holtby and the Capitals expect in their case? In all likelihood the arbitrator will come very close to splitting the difference between Holtby’s $8 million asking price and the Capitals’ $5.1 million offer. That would be $6.55 million, making Holtby the ninth highest-paid goalie in the NHL next season, behind:

Henrik Lundqvist ($10 million)

Sergei Bobrovsky ($8.5 million)

Tuukka Rask ($7.5 million)

Pekka Rinne ($7 million)

Carey Price ($7 million)

Jonathan Quick ($7 million)

Cam Ward ($6.8 million)

Roberto Luongo ($6.714 million)

A $6.55 million award will also leave the Caps with just $3.8 million in salary cap space, and with Marcus Johansson likely to be awarded at least $4 million in arbitration, the Caps would be pushed over the salary cap. NHL teams can be over the cap until Oct. 6, the day before the regular season opener, when final roster must be submitted to the league. 

RELATED: Holtby, Capitals continue to work on contract numbers

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Capitals Draft Tracker


Capitals Draft Tracker

The 2018 NHL Draft starts on Friday with the first round and runs through Saturday. Here's a running tracker of the Caps' picks.

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: D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pouds


7th round, 217th overall: 

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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.”