The Washington Capitals announced that goalie Justin Peters underwent left knee surgery on Monday and should be ready to compete in training camp.
Getting ready by then could be key for the 28-year-old, as you get the impression that he’s the odd man out of the Caps’ goalie rotation. Japers’ Rink postulated back in late June that Philipp Grubauer will back up Braden Holtby instead of Peters in 2015-16:
When the Caps re-signed Philipp Grubauer to a two-year, one-way deal, it was a pretty clear indication that they see him as ready to take on the role of Braden Holtby’s understudy (assuming, of course, that a Holtby deal gets done). For starters, while the Caps still have Justin Peters under contract, it’s clear that they’ve lost faith in him (if they ever had any in the first place) and see Grubauer as a better option to back-up Holtby. But another factor here is that Grubauer would need to clear waivers to be sent to Hershey and he wouldn’t clear, so the Caps’ choice would essentially be keep Grubauer in the NHL or lose him. Not much of a choice, is it?
Indeed, Peters didn’t play well at all during his first season with the Capitals, going 3-6-1 with a putrid .881 save percentage in 12 games. His overall career numbers aren’t anything that will leave GMs all that excited, either, although he showed moderate promise in 2013-14: 7-9-4 but with a .919 save percentage in 21 appearances.
Really, he hasn’t even distinguished himself at the AHL level, for that matter.
Long story short, Peters needs to prove himself with his current contract expiring, even if he may be auditioning as much for other teams as he is for Washington.
Marcus Johansson and the Washington Capitals couldn’t agree to terms this summer and ultimately an arbitrator has decided what his contract should be.
The 24-year-old forward was awarded a one-year, $3.75 million deal for the 2014-15 campaign, per the Monumental Network. He put in an arbitration request of $4.75 million and the Capitals had countered at $3 million.
He was coming off of a two-year, $4 million deal and earned a little under $2.2 million in 2014-15. Johansson has recorded over 40 points in each of the last three 82-game campaigns and posted a career-best 47 points last season.
He might have trouble replicating that level of success in 2015-16 though. That’s because the summer additions of T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams coupled with the rise of Andre Burakovsky might result in Johansson playing primarily on the third line. His power-play ice time might also drop from his average of 2:55 minutes per game last season.
Still, the fact that the settlement is near the middle will provide the Capitals with some breathing room from a cap perspective. Washington has a little under $500K in space remaining, per General Fanager, but that’s with three goaltenders on its roster. Moving netminder Justin Peters ($950K) to the minors would put Washington in a more manageable position.
Marcus Johansson had his arbitration hearing today and whatever ruling gets handed down by Friday afternoon, it’s likely to be a substantial boost from his 2014-15 salary of roughly $2.2 million, but will he earn his next sum?
That’s open for debate and it doesn’t have as much to do with Johansson as it does with the changing makeup of the Capitals as Chuck Gormley argued for CSN Washington:
With Ovechkin and Andre Burakovsky slotted as the Caps’ first- and second-line left wings, and T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams slotted as their first- and second-line right wings, Johansson figures to start the season as a third-line left wing with centers Brooks Laich or Jay Beagle and right wing Tom Wilson.
His power-play time (2:55 per game last season, fourth on the club) could also dip because of the additions of Oshie and Williams.
And yet Johansson did record 20 goals and 47 points last season after finishing with 44 points in his previous campaign, so he could very well get somewhat close to his asking price from the arbitrator. Given that, Gormley wondered if the Capitals might end up walking away from Johansson’s contract. They would have the option of doing so provided that the arbitrator’s assigned salary is more than $3.8 million.
Keep in mind that Washington only has about $5 million worth of cap space to begin with and that’s excluding Justin Peters, who will presumably start the 2014-15 campaign in the minors, so the financial flexibility gained from a walk-away would be noteworthy.
At the same time, ending up with nothing in return for Johansson would be a tough pill to swallow. While a contract in the neighbor of $4 million isn’t ideal for someone playing on the third line, he would still have value to Washington in that role.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Johansson and the Capitals can still agree to terms on their own before the arbitrator’s ruling.
Related: Arbitration looms, but Johansson not worried about future with Caps