(UPDATE: No, he’s staying. Eight-year, $64 million extension for Carlson.)
While the sweet aroma of winning the Stanley Cup isn’t likely to fade any time soon, the brief stench of the business side of hockey could once again crop up in Washington.
Already having lost Stanley Cup-winning head coach Barry Trotz last week, the Capitals could be on the verge of losing top-scoring defenseman John Carlson from the 2017-18 season as well.
With no deal in place to extend the skilled rearguard, Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, said while they’re still trying to hash out a deal with the Capitals, his client, who led all NHL d-men with 68 points this past season, is going to listen to other teams after the interview period commenced at 12:00 a.m. on Sunday morning.
On Friday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said a deal with Carlson was “close” to being achieved.
“Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close,” he said.
But as of Sunday morning, there’s still no deal in place for the man who set a Caps franchise record for most points by a defenseman in the playoffs with 20.
MacLellan has made room for Carlson. Needing the necessary cap space to give him his raise, MacLellan dealt backup netminder Philipp Grubauer and veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche — the later of which had a $5.5 million cap hit attached to him.
For now, the savings account hasn’t been touched.
For Carlson, he has earned the right to test the free agent waters, and Washington obviously hasn’t met whatever demands 28-year-old has for his new deal.
It’s important to point out, as the Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno did Sunday, that Washington is the only team that can give Carlson eight years of term in a new deal. As Whyno said, this shouldn’t be overlooked.
Losing Carlson would be a big blow, so it’s kind of surprising it’s gotten to this point from the Capitals side, although Carlson could be doing what he’s earned — looking to see if the grass is greener on the other side — and using this time as leverage in talks with Washington.
A simple formula: Player wants the team to meet demands, the team isn’t there yet, forcing the player to play hardball, in turn forcing the team’s hand, or something like that, roughly speaking.
Caps beat writer for the Washington Post Isabelle Khurshudyan wrote Sunday that despite the noise surrounding Carlson, she still expects the d-man to re-sign in the nation’s capital.
#CarlsonWatch continues for now.
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