One day after Braden Holtby and the Capitals went to arbitration, the two sides agreed to a five-year, $30.5 million deal. Now with the deadline for the arbitrator's decision looming, Marcus Johansson still remains without a deal.
According to arbitration rules, the arbitrator must issue his decision within 48 hours of the hearing. Johansson's hearing took place Wednesday morning meaning the arbitrator should hand down his decision sometime Friday morning.
Time is running out for Johansson and the Caps to reach a deal before then and with each passing second, it seems more likely the two sides will wait to see the arbitrator's decision.
Of the 25 cases scheduled for arbitration this summer, four, including Johansson's, are still ongoing and only Alex Chiasson of the Ottawa Senators was not re-signed before the arbitrator could assign an award. The remaining 20 players reached agreements with their respective teams before that point.
So why has no deal been reached between Johansson and the Caps? The answer may be in Nashville.
Two Nashville players filed for arbitration this summer: Colin Wilson and Craig Smith. Wilson is 25-years-old and recorded 20 goals and 22 assists last season. Smith is also 25 and scored 23 goals and 21 assists. Johansson is 24 and scored 20 goals and 27 assists.
Those are very similar numbers, but with one big difference--while Wilson and Smith are both projected to be on Nashville's second line next season, Johansson is projected to be on the Caps' third.
The acquisitions of T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams shores up the Caps' right side, Nicklas Backstrom (when healthy) and Evgeny Kuznetsov hold the middle and Alex Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky will likely play on the left. That will push Johansson down to the third line.
So while both Wilson and Smith received sizable contract extensions (four years, $15.75 million and five years, $21.25 million respectively) for similar production as that of Johansson, they are likely to have a much larger contribution for the Predators going forward based on the roster.
Whether the contracts of Wilson and Smith have entered the conversation between Johansson and the Caps is unknown, but it serves to illustrate the difficulty in Johansson's position. His production and his future role with the team do not come with the same price tag.
Rare as it may be, the only way to settle such a gap may be through an arbitrator and that seems to be where this is heading.