The Washington Capitals have continued to make roster changes this offseason. On Sunday, the team signed a lucrative deal with one player and traded another.
The Washington Capitals proved that the organization is prepared to spend as much as it takes to help the team retain its key players when, on Sunday, the franchise signed Evgeny Kuznetsov to a deal that will pay the restricted free agent center $62.4 million over eight years. The contract extension given to Kuznetsov forced the organization to create room under the $75 million salary cap by trading wingman Marcus Johansson to New Jersey for two picks in the second and third rounds in next year’s draft.
The trade has now enabled the Caps to also re-sign restricted free agents Phillip Grubauer and Andre Burakovsky. Yet still, the Capitals must also sign five contracts needed to complete the roster for next year.
The Washington Capitals now have $9,239,893 in salary cap room as opposed to the $4.6 million they would have had with Johansson still on the roster. Re-signing the two free agents became an issue when the team signed two other deals -- one that gave right wing T.J. Oshie $46 million over eight years and another that gave defenseman Dmitry Orlov $30.6 million over six years. Between the signing of Kuznetsov, Oshie, and Orlov, the Capitals spent $139 million with each deal taking up $5 million worth of room under the salary cap in just ten days. Now Washington must find a way to fill the void left by the Johansson trade while the forward starting position will be filled by either Tom Wilson, Brett Connolly, or Jakub Vrana. Connolly also was given a lucrative deal that will pay him $3 million during the next two years.
The organization had lost another player prior to the latest roster changes: defenseman Nate Schmidt was taken in this year’s expansion draft, and due to salary cap restrictions, the team already was unable to bring back defensemen Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, as well as wingman Justin Williams. The latest roster changes likely mean that the Caps have a rough road ahead until the organization can use its second and third round draft picks next year.
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