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Mapping out the Caps' road to arbitration


Mapping out the Caps' road to arbitration

Now that goaltender Braden Holtby and forward Marcus Johansson have filed for salary arbitration, here’s a quick look at how the process works. Keep in mind that in the past two years 38 cases were filed for NHL arbitration and all but three settled before going to a hearing.

Assignments: By 5 p.m. tonight teams and players will be issued arbitration dates beginning July 20 and ending Aug. 4 and assigned one of eight arbitrators from the National Academy of Arbitrators. Those dates will be determined by a series of coin flips.

Length: In the case of Holtby, 25, and Johansson, 24, the Capitals can decide on a one-year or two-year award, since both players have at least two years before being eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Procedure: At the hearing, each side has 90 minutes to present its case, followed by rebuttals from both sides. During the process, both sides can provide evidence to support their contract demands/offers, such as:

  • The number of games played and a player's injury history
  •  “Overall performance” [This includes NHL official statistics, including hits and giveaways; however, metrics such as Corsi ratings, zone starts, etc. are not admissible]  
  • Length of service of the player to the club or in the NHL
  • "The overall contribution of the Player to the competitive success or failure of his club in the preceding season" 
  • "Any special qualities of leadership or public appeal" 
  • The overall performance and compensation of comparable players
  • "Testimonials, videotapes, newspaper columns, press game reports 
    or similar materials” [Like Caps coach Barry Trotz saying Holtby is part of the team’s DNA]

Binding decision: At the conclusion of the hearing he arbitrator must issue a decision to both parties within 48 hours, and it will include the term, salary, and a brief summary of the reasoning behind the decision.

Walk-aways: Although the decision of the arbitrator is binding, teams have the right to walk away from an award that exceeds $3.5 million.

Likely scenarios: Holtby and the Capitals reportedly have agreed to a term of at least five years but are apart on value, with the Caps believed to be offering around $5 million a season and Holtby’s agent, David Kaye, believed to be seeking in the $6 million range. With that in mind, the two sides could settle for a four- or five-year deal averaging in the $5.5 million range.

Johansson’s deal could be much shorter. He is believed to be seeking a contract in the $4 million range, while the Caps are believed to be closer to $3 million. That could result in a one- or two-year contract with an average salary in the $3.5 million range.

And then there is the case of restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov, who does not have arbitration rights and could be seeking a deal in the $3.5 million range. The Capitals probably would prefer to sign Kuznetsov to a short-term “show-us” deal that allows Kuznetsov to prove himself as a second-line center before reaping the financial benefits.    


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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.”