Cam Tucker

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 05:  Marcus Johansson #90 of the Washington Capitals looks on  during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on January 5, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Capitals cap crunch with Johansson, Orlov left to re-sign


The Washington Capitals have, according to General Fanager, about $8 million in cap space with two key components of their team left to get under contract this summer.

Marcus Johansson, the 25-year-old forward, had 17 goals and 46 points last season and is at the end of his one-year, $3.75 million deal awarded to him following an arbitration hearing last summer. He’s a restricted free agent one, as is 24-year-old defenseman Dmitry Orlov, who had a two-year, $4 million deal.

With those two left to sign, there is a balancing act to the budget, as outlined below.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

If Johansson gets an average annual salary of $4.5 million, that would leave the Caps with $3.5 million in cap space.  

Orlov, 24, is coming off a two-year, $4 million contract, on in which he made $1.75 million without playing a single NHL game and $2.25 million for playing in all 82 games last season and finishing tied for first among Caps defensemen in goals (8) and third in points (29). Since MacLellan said he should have enough left-over money to sign a player at the NHL minimum of $575,000, the Caps are likely budgeting no more than between $2.9 million to re-sign Orlov.

Johansson’s price, however, is one general manager Brian MacLellan has already expressed concern about when it comes to possible comparables.

The Capitals haven’t been completely quiet during the opening of the free agent period. They did sign forward Brett Connolly to one year at a price of $850,000.

It’s a move that adds depth up front. But it’s hardly a splash. The Capitals have their priorities elsewhere.

“I mean, we’re playing in a different market, trying to find a guy in a certain salary range that might have some upside and become a good player for us,” said MacLellan, as per the Washington Post.

PHT Morning Skate: A look back at the record-breaking NHL Draft for USA Hockey

Pavel Zacha, Auston Matthews
AP Photo

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Happy Fourth of July!

— The 2016 NHL Draft was a memorable one for USA Hockey, which saw a record 12 American-born players selected in the first round. It started with Auston Matthews going No. 1 overall to the Toronto Maple Leafs and ended with Trent Frederic going 29th overall to the Boston Bruins. A total of 55 American players were selected in last month’s draft.

— Membership — including players, coaches and officials — with USA Hockey grew in 2015-16, with 622,833 total members compared to 611,926 in 2014-15. (USA Hockey)

— Former Oilers tough guy George Laraque weighs in on newly signed Milan Lucic wearing No. 27. Ouch!

— Speculation on who could be the first GM of the Las Vegas NHL franchise. (Puck Daddy)

— The structure of three contracts that points to another lockout, according to Larry Brooks. (New York Post)

— Why the Stars’ goalie tandem and carrying eight defensemen aren’t great ideas. (Dallas Morning News)

— Vancouver Island-based NHL players present group of minor hockey players with new equipment, registration fees. (Victoria Times Colonist)

Stars add journeyman forward Adam Cracknell in free agency

Vancouver Canucks' Adam Cracknell celebrates what would have been his second goal before it was turned over upon review, during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP Photo

DALLAS (AP) The Stars have signed free agent Adam Cracknell to a one-year contract, making Dallas the journeyman forward’s fifth team in four seasons.

The 30-year-old Cracknell split last season between Vancouver and Edmonton, appearing in 48 games combined. All of his career-high 10 points (five goals, five assists) came with the Canucks.

Cracknell, who plays right wing, has 134 career games in six seasons, the first four with St. Louis. He’s also played for Columbus. He has 27 career points (11 goals, 16 assists).

A ninth-round pick by Calgary in 2004, Cracknell also has 415 career games with four franchises in the American Hockey League.

The Stars lost veteran forward Vernon Fiddler to New Jersey in free agency. Fiddler played in all 82 games last season.

With Reimer signed, Panthers won’t rush Luongo back after hip surgery

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 8: Goaltender Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers skates prior to the game against the Calgary Flames at the BB&T Center on November 8, 2014 in Sunrise, Florida. The Flames defeated the Panthers 6-4. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
AP Photo

Signing James Reimer as an unrestricted free agent (five years, $17 million) seems prudent for the long-term future of the Florida Panthers. The move could also pay off in the short-term, as well.

It was revealed during Friday’s free agent frenzy that 37-year-old goalie Roberto Luongo underwent off-season hip surgery and, according to Panthers GM Tom Rowe, may not be able to start the 2016-17 season.

That means Reimer could begin the season as the starter in Florida, with recently acquired Reto Berra as the back-up — at least until Luongo gets back to full health.

“We’ll probably end up starting the season with Berra and obviously, Reimer,” said Rowe, as per the Sun Sentinel.

“We’ll see where Luongo is. Everything will be determined by how Lou gets through the offseason with his rehabilitation. Right now, it’s going really well. We’ll take it one day at a time. We don’t want to rush him back. We want him to come back on his schedule and just make sure we’re doing everything the right way.”

Luongo, who hit 37 years of age in April, appeared in 62 games in the regular season — he started 60 of them — and posted impressive numbers, including a 2.35 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, which is three points higher than his career average.

Related: ‘Exhausted’ Luongo: ‘I need the rest’ after three games in four nights

Kris Russell’s agent: Reports his client turned down ‘any offer from the Leafs are false’

Calgary Flames defenseman Kris Russell skates to his teammates after scoring against the Nashville Predators during overtime period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. The Flames won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo

For the second time since the start of free agency on Friday, Kris Russell’s agent has taken to Twitter to rebut reports about his client.

You’ll recall Friday afternoon, when Allain Roy took to Twitter to say there were false reports circulating about Russell signing and that camp was still talking to “multiple teams.”

Roy was back on social media Sunday, his message this time pertaining to Russell and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It was also reported that the Boston Bruins were “kicking the tires” on Russell, the 29-year-old defenseman who, as of Sunday, remains on the open market.

There had been reports Friday that the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens were also bidding for Russell, although there was conflicting info on that.

Russell’s agent told News 1130 Sports in Vancouver that the Canucks were not in the mix to land Russell.

(h/t: The Score)