The Washington Capitals have gotten underway molding their team for the upcoming 2018-19 season in which they will be defending Stanley Cup Champions, in case you may have forgotten.
Several days ago, the Caps resigned defenseman John Carlson to an eight year, $64 million, an AAV of $8 million a season. Carlson is coming off his best season, scoring 15 goals while having 53 assists which gave him a total of 68 points on the season. He also had his best postseason showing in his career, scoring 5 goals and assisting on 15 others for a total of 20 points. He was fourth on the team in points during the regular season and fifth during the postseason.
There is worry that his contract soon becomes one that the Caps will regret due to the amount of money and years it entails. I, myself, am not worried too much in that regard because the salary cap of the NHL is going up, Carlson will be a Norris Trophy candidate for several years to come, and the Caps window to win another Stanley Cup lies in the core of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Holtby, Kuznetsov, and Oshie being here. Their window is now and that may mean paying out a good chunk of money to a solid 28 year old defenseman. You just hope that down the line there is money available for the young guns like Jakub Vrana and Andre Burakovsky.
In addition to Carlson, the Capitals PR team announced they are extending several qualifying offers.
#Caps extend qualifying offers to Tom Wilson, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Liam O’Brien, and Riley Barber. #Caps do not extend qualifying offer to Devante Smith-Pelly, but are still negotiating with him.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) June 25, 2018
As for Devante Smith-Pelly, the Caps and him reached a one year, $1 million deal yesterday. Smith-Pelly had 7 goals in the postseason along with one each in the last three games against the Vegas Golden Knights in the finals, including the game tying goal in Game 5.
Smith-Pelly instantly became a cult hero amongst Capitals fans this postseason with performances like that. Another player who has been a cult hero for Caps fans is Tom Wilson. According to Russian Machine Never Breaks, Wilson’s agent has hinted at a long-term extension for the 24 year old enforcer who is coming off his best season.
Wilson had career highs in goals, assists, and points with 14, 21, and 35 respectively. He also had 5 goals and 10 assists in the postseason.
I have faith that the Capitals brass will do what is best for the team in the short and long term. I’m still upset at the loss of head coach Barry Trotz but the way I have rationalized it to myself is this: even if the Caps got to Game 7 against Tampa Bay and lost, he would have still been fired. I wish him the best of luck with the Islanders and hope that whoever the Caps pick (most likely Todd Reirden) keeps the trend of winning going.
Regardless, I am excited for the possibilities of free agency and the prospect of next season, even if the Caps aren’t raising the banner against the Penguins. Anything to distract from the disappointing Orioles season we are currently watching.
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