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Sjogren hoping to write a new chapter


Sjogren hoping to write a new chapter

A little more than nine months ago, Mattias Sjogrens days in the Capitals organization seemed numbered.

Signed to a two-year, 1.8 million free-agent contract last summer, Sjogren walked out on the Hershey Bears after 19 games, prompting Caps general manager George McPhee to say, If youre going to quit on us you might as well go.

Sjogren, 24, spent the remainder of last season playing for Farjestands of the Swedish Elite League, netting three goals and six assists in 28 games, before returning to Washington as a depth player during the playoffs.

After the playoffs, Sjogren and McPhee sat down to discuss his decision to leave the Bears and return to Sweden.

We had a good talk, Sjogren said. I told him I was going to come over and do everything to play here again. Im ready to play North American hockey.

Ironically, if there is an NHL lockout, Sjogren likely would begin this season where he began last in Hershey, making 67,500 a season. If he played for the Caps hed earn 900,000.

I dont want to go anywhere else, so Ill probably stay here and play in the AHL, Sjogren said of a potential work stoppage. You have to play somewhere. I think the AHL is going to be a good league during the lockout, so I think its the best option for me right now.

As for his decision to leave the Bears, Sjogren said hes ready to leave that behind him.

Its behind me, he said. I made my choice and I stuck to it. Whos to say it was the best choice for me? But I made a choice and thats the way it is.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson


Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.


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Brooks Orpik's time in Washington may not be over after all

Brooks Orpik's time in Washington may not be over after all

Friday's trade with the Colorado Avalanche seemed to mark the end of Brooks Orpik's time with the Washington Capitals. But that may not actually be the case.

Trading away Orpik also meant trading away his $5.5 million cap hit. That is not an insignificant amount of money especially for a team trying to re-sign defenseman John Carlson to a big-money contract.

But Orpik will not be playing out the final year of his contract in Colorado. The Avalanche placed Orpik on unconditional waivers Saturday for the purpose of a buyout, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.

CapFriendly has the details of the buyout. The Avalanche will pay Orpik $3 million and take a cap hit of $2.5 million in the 2018-19 season and $1.5 million in the 2019-20 season.

So why would Colorado agree to take Orpik just to buy him out and take on dead cap space? Because by acquiring him, it lowered the cost of the Grubauer trade.

What this means for Brooks Orpik is that he will become a free agent, free to sign with anyone for the upcoming season. Including Washington.

For a 37-year-old defenseman who does not boast great mobility or speed, a $5.5 million cap hit was a bit too steep for the Caps who were very close to the cap ceiling last season and who need that extra money to re-sign their free agents. But the team did value Orpik's leadership and that could be especially important as young defensemen Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos continue developing plus prospects Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs all try to work themselves into contention for a spot on the NHL roster.

If Orpik does return, it will be a masterstroke for general manager Brian MacLellan. MacLellan freed up a lot of cap space to re-sign Carlson without having to buy out Orpik's contract, but could still possibly keep him on the roster at a much-reduced cost.

After a strong playoff performance, there may be other teams vying for Orpik's services next season. Getting traded to get bought out likely isn't a good feeling, but considering he just won a Stanley Cup in Washington, the defensive guru Todd Reirden is expected to be promoted to head coach and that re-signing with the Caps would mean not moving his family for what could very possibly and will very likely be the last contract of his NHL career, there are a lot of reasons why it would make sense for both the team and the player if Orpik stayed with the Caps.