DALLAS — After a marathon day of picks during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft, Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the media on the nearly deserted draft floor late Friday night.
The big takeaway: the Capitals are closing in on a deal with star defenseman John Carlson.
“We’re really close,” MacLellan said. “Hopefully, we can close the deal over the next 24 hours.”
There is a good reason for MacLellan’s urgency. Carlson would be able to speak to other teams starting noon Sunday.
Carlson had a career season last year in a contract year. His previous deal carried an annual salary cap hit of $3.966 million.
The 28-year-old workhorse tallied 68 points, outscoring all NHL defenseman in the regular-season and the playoffs. Fifteen of his points were goals. All these numbers were career highs for Carlson.
Carlson’s new deal is expected to be a long-term contract worth around $8 million per year. The Capitals can offer up an eight-year pact to the American defenseman. The Capitals cleared cap space by ridding themselves of Brooks Orpik’s contract, which carried at $5.5 million cap hit.
The salary cap for the 2018-19 NHL season will be $79.5 million. The Caps currently have around $21 million to spare but have multiple players that are in line for raises.
“We planned for that number,” MacLellan said of the salary cap. “We thought it would be a little higher. We hoped it would be a little higher.”
Headline image: Chris Gordon
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