Capitals Trade Deals and Contracts: Summary

What a strange summer this has been friends. The Caps schedule extended into June for the first time that most of us can remember. There was partying in the streets!! As we watched the Stanley Cup Parade we pondered what deals the Washington Capitals would make with their restricted and unrestricted players.

We knew that Brian MacLellan and his team would be making some hard calls to sign top players like a John Carlson and Tom Wilson.

Here is what went down:

Let’s start at the top. Barry Trotz did not accept a two-year extension with the Capitals. Instead he took a job with the NY Islanders. He brought Lane Lambert and Mitch Korn with him. The Capitals named Todd Reirden as the new head coach.  Joining as the assistant coach was Reid Cashman, although the Caps haven’t officially announced yet.

Hockey n Heels Grubauer 2018First there was the Philipp Grubauer deal to the Colorado Avalanche. The Caps may not have necessarily gotten him the best deal but they got the salary cap space they needed. In the midst of the draft they traded him, and fellow teammate Brooks Orpik, in exchange for a second round draft pick. As the week unfolded, there were other possible teams where he could have landed a starting position- within the Eastern Conference- which some suggested the Caps did not want to happen.

Orpik June 2018Brooks Orpik went to Colorado with Grubi. Word was quickly leaked that the Avs would buy out his contract and place him on waivers. The Caps couldn’t afford to buy out his contract and they needed the space. The AVS went on to buy out his contract, making him a free agent and eligible to sign wherever he wanted.

AND THEN HE WAS BACK! It doesn’t happen too often but it all worked for the best for the Capitals. They were able to bring back the PaPa of the locker room. Here is the story behind his  summer deal(s). 

Capitals CarlsonJohn Carlson was always the number one target for signing and it would take a good deal of money and a long-term commitment to make it happen. There were rumors that Carly was going to look around; however, the Capitals were able to come to agreement with Carlson, settling on eight years and $64 million.

That still left a few in the wind. Mac had already said that next to Carlson, his priority was signing Michal Kempny. And of course there remained additional UFAs Jay Beagle and Alex Chiasson. Throw in RFA’s Devante Smith-Pelly and Tom Wilson and it was anyone’s guess how they would sign the rookies on the roster.

DspDevante Smith-Pelly, the darling of the playoffs, was not given a qualifying offer by the deadline and became a UFA. We were not too surprised as we predicted they might go that route. Then on June 27, the Caps and DSP reached an agreement for an additional year at $1 million. This could be his breakout season!

Stanley Cup Game three kempnyThe Capitals followed up with a four year, with an average of $2.5 million a year, deal for Kempny to keep playing with Carly. We didn’t anticipate a four-year contract; however, we think it is a great investment for the team.

Young dudes Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Liam O’Brien, and Riley Barber were provided qualifying offers. O’Brien rejected his offer.

Wilson signs (2018-04-07-2113)Tom Wilson did receive a qualifying offer before the 5 pm deadline. It was weeks before the Capitals announced a deal. Late on 27 July the Capitals announced they and Tom had finally come to an agreement on a six-year $31.02 million contract.

And the Free Agency began on 1 July and things around the league heated up.

Parade capitals BeagleJay Beagle found himself looking in from the outside and accepted a very generous offer from the Vancouver Canucks. A four-year $12 million contract that the Caps were unable to match. We will miss him in the face off and talking to the fan.

Alex Chiasson went unsigned. Instead they signed Nic Dowd.

The Caps announced they re-signed center Travis Boyd to a two-year contract with an annual value of $800,000. Congrats to Boyd!

Liam O’Brien, with the Hershey Bears, opted to enter into contract arbitration. His hearing was scheduled for 23 July in Toronto. Thankfully they were able to come to terms and “The Big Tuna” signed a one year two-way contract for $650,000.

Madison Bowey inked his two-year $2 million deal on July 19. He is currently listed on the Caps roster and will likely play on the blue line in the upcoming season.

Now that contracts are in place for the UFAs and RFAs it is a matter of the Caps new head coach to make some decisions about who stays in DC and who goes to Hershey to mature their game a bit more. The Caps roster will no doubt have a lot of younger players for Reirden to develop into the superstars he needs.

Tom Wilson Siiiiiigned


That was all most of us wanted to know about Tom Wilson this summer.

We were notified today that Willy has signed a six-year contact for $31.02 million with an average annual value of $5.17 million.


Tom Wilson was a restricted free agent this summer. His previous two-year contract was for $4 million or an average of $2 million a year. This new contract gives him a bump of $3.17 million per yearly average.

In the Capitals press release GM Brian MacLellan said: “Tom is an invaluable member of our team and we are pleased that he is committed to sign a long-term deal at this point in his career. Tom is a unique player in this League, in that he plays a physical game, leads by example and contributes in every facet of the game. At 24 years of age, he is just entering his prime and we believe that he will only continue to excel and improve as a player.”

Continue reading “Tom Wilson Siiiiiigned”

About Free Agency; Caps 2019 UFA and RFA

The Capitals will have some new challenges in 2019 as several important players will need new contracts. Free agency is a complicated process, one that involves take a long view of the Caps needs and the quality of the players available to them.

The National Hockey League Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a ten-year agreement signed in 2012. It ends 15 September 2022 and outlines the parameters for player contracts, including trade eligibility and requirements for players and teams.

Free Agency includes restricted and unrestricted free agent negotiations. It begins on July 1 and signals the start of a new season of contracts for all players as their contracts roll over for another season or conclude.  Players with less then three years NHL experience are not part of Free Agency, unless they meet certain criteria as explained in the CBA.

The NHL will provide a list of players eligible for Free Agency to the media and public once the list is confirmed by all teams.

We offer this simplified overview of Free Agency. For in depth legalize language of the CBA and the rules governing Free Agency, please click here for the latest agreement.

Entry Level Players/Rookies

An entry level player is a “rookie” player who is younger then 25 as of 15 September in  the year that they play their first NHL game. These players are offered the following based on the CBA.

  • Age 18-21: Three-Year Deal
  • Age 22-23: Two-Year Deal
  • Age 24: One- Year Deal

NHL Entry Level Contracts have the following components:

  • Maximum Salary $925,000
  • Signing Bonus: Limited to 10% of maximum salary or $92,500 (included in salary)
  • Type A Bonus: Maximum $850,000 ($212,500 per individual bonus) for such performance based qualifiers such as ice time, goals, plus/minus
  • Type B Bonus: Maximum $2,000,000 for league performance awards (example: top 5 post-season awards) per season
  • Theoretically, a player could earn total compensation of $3,775,000 (chart by Centerview)

What is a UFA?

A player is considered a UFA if he does not have a contract or his current contract has expired. He is not subject to exclusive negotiating rights, meaning he is free to negotiate with any team in the NHL and any team can contact him with an offer.  He is at least 27 years old or has at least seven years playing as an NHL player, as of 30 June. They can begin talking to other teams on 24 June but can’t sign a contract with a new team until after 1 July. Those contracts have a term limit of seven years. The only compensation the losing team receives is a draft pick.

In 2019 the following Capitals will be UFAs: Nic Dowd, Devante Smith-Pelly, Brett Connolly, Brooks Orpik, Pheonix Copley

What is a RFA?

These players are no longer considered “entry level” players and they don’t yet qualify as UFAs. Their standard contracts have expired and their original team has first rights to resign them and to match offers from other teams. Qualifying Offers must be made by 5 pm on 25 June. These players may receive “offer sheets” with all the details for a new contract from other teams. The player has seven days to accept the offer or to decline. A RFA must sign a new contract by 1 December or he becomes ineligible to play for the remainder of the season.

In 2019, the following Capitals will be RFA’s: Andre Burakovsky, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker, Chandler Stephenson, Christian Djoos

What is an RFA qualifying offer?

Tom Wilson was an RFA in 2018 and was extended a qualifying offer, for example.

An qualifying offer sheet includes all the terms of a contract such as salary, bonuses, and the length of time the player can expect to remain with his current team. The QA must be for at least one year and is subject to salary arbitration and the offer expires on 15 July at 5 pm. The player can accept or decline the offer. Once offered the team retains the RFA status of the player, even if the player does not initially sign. If no offer is made, the player becomes a UFA and can negotiate with other teams. The QA cannot be accepted prior to 1 July and the Prior Team has first right of refusal. It should be a one-way offer, if the player meets all the CBA requirements. If no offer is made the player becomes a UFA and is free to negotiate. Additional criteria is outlined by the NHL:

  • Players who earned less than $660,000 in the previous NHL season must be offered at least 110 percent of last season’s salary in a qualifying offer.
  • Players who earned up to $1 million must be offered 105 percent.
  • Players who earned over $1 million must be offered 100 percent

Put on Waivers?

This occurs when the team offers the players signing rights to other teams for consideration before a team exercises its right to end a player’s contract.

Who gets to enter into arbitration? 

A number of factors need to be met for salary arbitration. Deadline to request arbitration is 5 July. A team can request a salary arbitration only once in a player’s career; however, a player can ask as many times as he wants. Once a player asks his current team to enter into arbitration, he may no longer consider offers from other teams. When in arbitration, the team must offer 85 percent increase of the original contract. According to Cap Friendly, an arbitrator is called in to negotiate the length and terms of a new contract for RFA who have not signed an offer sheet. The player also must meet the following criteria:

  • 18-20: 4 years professional experience.
  • 21: 3 years professional experience.
  • 22-23: 2 years professional experience.
  • 24 and older: 1 year professional experience.

-Signing age is the age the player is on September 15 of the year they signed their contract, unless they turn 20 from September 16-December 31, in which case they are considered 20.
-Players aged 18 or 19 are considered to have completed a year of professional experience when they have played 10 or more NHL games in that season. Players aged 20 or older have completed a year of professional experience when they have played 10 games in a professional league, while under an SPC.

No Trade/No Move Clauses

Several Capitals have no trade/no move clauses that have helped them remain in Washington. Most clauses are for a set period of time and then the Caps can only trade them to a limited number of teams.

Some contracts include no trade or no move clauses. These are part of the contracts for UFAs and become effective when a player becomes a “Group 3 Player,” meaning he “has seven (7) Accrued Seasons or is 27 years of age or older as of June 30 of the end of a League Year, shall, if his most recent contract has expired, with such expiry occurring either as of June 30 of such League Year or June 30 of any prior League Year.” They are designed to restrict the club from transferring a player without their agreement. However, a club can still terminate a contract or buy out a players contract. If a club notifies the player of their intention to terminate/buy out a contract, the player has the option to go on waivers in hopes that another team will pick up their contract.

Regular Season Waivers

The NHL CBA outlines the following timelines for regular season waivers:

13.2 The “Playing Season Waiver Period” shall begin on the twelfth (12th) day prior to the
start of the Regular Season and end on the day following the last day of a Club’s Playing Season. Subject to the provisions of this Article, the rights to the services of a Player may be Loaned to a club of another league, upon fulfillment of the following conditions, except when elsewhere expressly prohibited:
(a) Regular Waivers were requested and cleared during the Playing Season Waiver
Period; and
(b) the Player has not played in ten (10) or more NHL Games cumulative since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared, and more than thirty (30) days cumulative on an NHL roster have not passed since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared.

For more details on salary cap as teams negotiate – check out CapFriendly.

Caps Polls: Centerman Openings

Last week, I ran a fan poll on who would be good candidates for filling-in as the fourth line center if Jay Beagle were to leave (which he did). Here were the results:60% of voters picked veteran Hershey forward Travis Boyd, who played depth in the Caps’ playoff-run this season. Boyd has had many successes in the AHL with the Bears. He was recognized in the 2017-2018 season by being selected for the Second All-Star team. He has a good flow of the game and understands his role. Of the eight games he had played in the NHL, he has one assist. He could be given a solid look in the upcoming pre-season.35% of voters picked Chandler Stephenson, who played as a winger alongside Jay Beagle and Devante Smith-Pelly on the fourth line this season. He was very effective as a two-way guy and had a lot of key plays that contributed to the Caps success. He did; however, play center in Hershey, which leads one to believe he may be a solid candidate for this opening. I don’t see him moving from his spot on the left side unless the Caps pick up a solid fourth line winger, but he is a consideration for depth.Don’t mind the 1% for Tyler Graovac, this poll was created before he was signed by the Calgary Flames. Best of luck to him! The Caps did pick up two centers following the loss of Beagle on the free agent market, Michael Sgarbossa from the Winnipeg Jets and Jayson Megna from the Vancouver Canucks. Both have NHL and AHL experience, which can throw them in the mix for competing with Boyd for the fourth line job. Stay up-to-date with us and keep an eye out for our next fan poll, which is already out!

More on Boyd here.

More Contracts for the Capitals on Monday

Now that we are in Free Agency, the moves around the league are pretty fluid. And now that the Caps have at least signed John Carlson to a deal, they can look around the league a bit more to see where to fill in their roster gaps for the Caps and the Hershey Bears. They still need to lock down Tom Wilson and we hope to see that real soon.

Meanwhile, the Capitals announced in a press release today that hey have signed Jayson Megna and Michael Sgarbossa to  one-year, two-way contracts. Both are centers. They also signed Travis Boyd, Nic Dowd, and Martin Fehervary. More about Fehervary can be found here.  According to the Capitals, Dowd was signed to “a one-year contract… Dowd’s contract will carry an average annual value of $650,000.” Boyd and Dowd will likely challenge each other for the open center spot on the Caps roster during training camp.

From the press release:

Megna, 28, appeared in one game for the Vancouver Canucks and 25 games for the Utica Comets (AHL) last season, recording 13 points (4g, 9a).  The 6’1”, 195-pound center has recorded 20 points (10g, 10a) in 113 games between Vancouver, the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Megna made his NHL debut on Oct. 25, 2013 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and recorded his first goal and assist on Oct. 28, 2013 against the Carolina Hurricanes. In 241 AHL games with the Utica Comets, Hartford Wolf Pack and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Megna has recorded 126 points (60g, 66a). A native of Fort Lauderdale, FL., Megna attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha and was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team in 2012.

 Sgarbossa, 25, has recorded 10 points (2g, 8a) in 48 career NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, the Florida Panthers and the Colorado Avalanche. Last season, the 6’0”, 186-pound center recorded 40 points (16g, 24a) with the Manitoba Moose in the AHL last season. In 312 AHL games between Manitoba, the Springfield Thunderbirds, the San Diego Gulls, the Norfolk Admirals and the Lake Erie Monsters, the Campbellville, Ont., native recorded 199 points (72g, 127a) and was an AHL All Star in 2013. In his final season in the Ontario Hockey League, Sgarbossa led the League with 102 points (47g, 55a) and was a member of the OHL First All Star team in 2012.

And regarding Travis Boyd – check out our article on him for more details. Click Here!

Still more signings to happen!

We are on the watch for you!

Caps Polls: Re-signing the Boys

The summer is a very interesting time for the NHL. Players are on the move, discussing contracts and searching for other options and career-boosting opportunities. With the Caps winning their first Stanley Cup, they intend on keeping the core guys together as any team would. Last week, I ran a poll on Twitter asking the fans who they think the Caps will re-sign and let go.

Of the 47 voters, 62% of them said they would re-sign everyone. However, the Caps let go of notable veterans like Brooks Orpik and Jay Beagle. Beagle has been such a huge contribution to the team’s success throughout the years and will forever be remembered as an original member of the Caps family. He is rumored to sign with the Vancouver Canucks by July 1st when the free agent market opens up. Orpik has also been a huge part of the team’s success on and off the ice. His leadership qualities helped mold players like Christian Djoos and Dmitry Orlov into well-poised players.

Devante Smith-Pelly signed a new contract with the Caps for one year worth $1 million. He stated he wanted to have a chance at defending the Stanley Cup before searching for other options. He was a huge turnout in the playoffs, playing that gritty bottom six style the Caps lacked for years.

Another big signing was that of John Carlson and Michal Kempny, solidifying the top four defensemen for the next few years. Kempny was a huge surprise pickup at the trade deadline last year. He proved to be a perfect fit for Carlson’s left side, a defensive defenseman who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck on net. He played a key role in the run’s success with his overall play.

Personally, I don’t expect the Caps to look into the free agent market too much. They may use this time around to give the veteran guys from Hershey or the younger potential looks at the lineup to see if something works and clicks. I could see Madison Bowey and Travis Boyd making a good run at securing roster spots. I will be running weekly fan polls this off-season via my Twitter @Jurky88 and will recap and share the results. Stay blessed and keep celebrating!

NHL: Potential Player Moves to Watch

We are all anxiously awaiting news about key players around the league. Top two players folks are watching are John Tavares and John Carlson. Also worth keeping an eye on for new contacts or new teams are:

John Tavares- Can the Islanders afford him? Can they afford not to sign him? Could he become the big surprise move?? Could he make his way to the desert or into the Windy City? Both look possible and both could use his style of play.

John Carlson – The Capitals want sign him. He wants to stay here in his home area. He has played his best year yet and is key to the success of the Caps power play. Can the Caps move players around and have the money for a long-term high-dollar deal–maybe $8 million AAV. The Devils might make him a sweet offer to consider- or the Blackhawks if they can work out their cap issues.

Mike Green – No, we don’t expect him back in a red sweater for the Caps. His neck injury derailed his season and it is unclear if the Red Wings will invest in him again, even though he was having a great season pre-injury.

James Neal – So this would be the first big change for the Golden Knights. He stepped up in the playoffs. Was it enough for George McPhee to sign him again?

Carter Hutton – One of those goalies who can probably name his price. Word on the street is he may be ready to move on from the St. Louis Blues? He’s a treat to Grubauer who probably is looking in the same places.

James van Riemsdyk – The Maple Leafs will most likely let him test the waters because they don’t have the salary cap to meet his demands. He has something to offer a team looking to build up their PP. We could see him fitting in with Vegas or maybe the Hurricanes.

Phil Kessel – Has the relationship in Pittsburgh soured? Many attribute the Pen’s slide this season to him. Kessel is sitting in a good place because of the structure of his contact- a modified no trade that restricts which teams might find the gnarly player on their roster. In the end, we think they will work things out he will life to taunt the Capitals next season.

Philipp Grubauer – The Capitals backup goalie is looking for a starting spot somewhere. He has a little competition. The Caps would like to keep him; however, they also want to honor his talent and help him find what he is seeking. Potential new teams bounced around include Hurricanes and Islanders.

Other players we are watching:

And let’s just throw in Erik Karlsson for fun. With all the nonsense going on in Ottawa. Karlsson isn’t a UFA until 2019. We thought the Sens might deal him earlier this year but they all chose to sit pat. He could bring the team some newer younger players in a trade. Now that Mike Hoffman gone does Karlsson settle in? This will be the off-ice drama story of the summer.

The NHL draft is 22-23 June and then UFA’s can start looking around on the 24th. Here are all the dates to watch in the coming weeks as news deals and negotiations move into high gear.

Capitals Poised for Free Agency in July

As the Stanley Cup Champions cleared out their lockers on Wednesday, we began to hear hints of what lies ahead in the next several weeks as a number of players contemplate their futures.  Its an ever changing story as the Capitals managers make some tough decisions about this winning mix of players. Although all of them pretty much said they want to stay – including Coach Barry Trotz – the reality is the franchise is unlikely to be able to afford all of them. They all feel like the DMV is home – they have kids and are settled into the community. General Manager Brian MacLellan (GMBM) has his work cut out for him.

Continue reading “Capitals Poised for Free Agency in July”

No Shortage of Good Goalies Looking for Contracts, Including Caps Grubauer

The writing is on the wall – it is highly likely that Philipp Grubauer will not return to the Washington Capitals as a back-up goalie.  Brian MacLellan said as much on Wednesday during the media interviews. Grubi wants, and deserves, a starting spot.

king grubi

So what are the likely options being touted about? How about replacing Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders. Halak could be on the move which means this might be the best option available for Grubauer. The Isles seem dissatisfied with their backup goalies so we think they won’t be moving them into the starting spot anytime soon.  Continue reading “No Shortage of Good Goalies Looking for Contracts, Including Caps Grubauer”