Here’s a three-step formula to getting paid:
1. Play well.
2. Play well with the $64 million defenseman you just signed.
That’s exactly what Michal Kempny did on Friday, putting pen-to-paper on a shiny new four-year, $10 million deal with the Washington Capitals. The average annual value on the deal will hit the Caps for $2.5 million per annum.
Not bad for a guy who was ready to pack his bags and head to Europe to play not long ago.
The move keeps Washington’s top pair intact after John Carlson was re-signed on Monday.
Kempny and Carlson formed a formidable partnership after Kempny was acquired at the trade deadline from the Chicago Blackhawks. The move was supposed to find the Capitals some depth on the backend for the playoff run. What they got for the third-round pick they shipped back to the Blackhawks was much more.
Kempny and Carlson gelled as a pairing, one that eventually helped the Capitals for their first Stanley Cup, where Kempny had one goal and two assists in the Finals against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Washington’s top four defenseman — including Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen — are now all locked up for the foreseeable future. Their Cup-winning Top 9 are also returning.
The deal comes a day after Washington locked up forward and playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly to a one-year, $1 million deal.
According to CapFriendly, Kempny’s signing puts the Caps just under $10 million shy of the $79.5 million cap for this upcoming season.
They still have five restricted free agents that they signed to qualifying offers last week that need contracts, including Tom Wilson, Madison Bowey and Travis Boyd.
Washington could look now to adding a veteran depth guy on defense, perhaps bringing back Brooks Oprik, who was traded along with Philipp Grubauer to Colorado to make cap room for the Carlson deal.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck