Marcus Johansson was handed a one-year, $3.75 million contract in arbitration, but there’s been speculation that Washington’s offseason additions might eat into his playing time in 2015-16. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan doesn’t see that as inevitable.
“We just have a deeper top six and you’re going to have to play well and it’ll be hard to keep your job there,” MacLellan told the Washington Post. “He’s going to have to play well from the start.”
At the same time, MacLellan believes that Johansson can maintain a spot on one of Washington’s top two lines and serve on the first power-play unit. The general manager even hinted at Johansson’s role actually expanding as the 24-year-old might help kill penalties.
Washington added Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie over the summer and both of them are expected to serve as top-six forwards along with Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. So when everyone is healthy, that will leave just one slot for Johansson or Andre Burakovsky.
Johansson had 20 goals and 47 points in 82 contests last season while averaging 16:28 minutes per contest.
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.
Matt Nieto has a pretty cool looking Stormtrooper:
Chris Johnston is predicting that Toronto will be getting an extremely motivated Jonathan Bernier. (Sportsnet)
Is getting Marcus Johansson at $3.75 million for the 2015-16 campaign a good deal for the Washington Capitals? (CSN Washington)
While we’re on the subject of the Capitals, is the Johansson signing the last significant move they’ll make this summer? (CSN Washington)
Former University of New Hampshire standout Kevin Goumas has inked an AHL deal with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. (AHL.com)
It’s not too early to start talking about the 2016 draft class, is it? (Last Word on Sports)
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
One more down, four to go.
Arbitration cases, we mean.
The Nashville Predators announced today that they’d signed restricted free agent Colin Wilson to a four-year, $15.75 million contract. Wilson had been scheduled to go to arbitration tomorrow.
The Wilson signing, combined with today’s Derek Stepan signing, leaves four RFAs still scheduled to make their cases in front of an arbitrator:
— Washington’s Marcus Johansson, hearing scheduled for Wednesday
— Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman, Thursday
— Minnesota’s Erik Haula, Friday
— Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier, Friday
Wilson, 25, had 20 goals and 22 assists last season for the Preds.
Related: Preds sign ‘integral’ Smith to five-year, $21.25M extension