Realistically, the last major offseason move will come this week for the Caps. Marcus Johansson, an RFA, has filed for a salary of $4.75 Million a season; the Caps have countered with $3 Million for the one-year contract award.
As of right now, the Caps have just over $4.2 Million to spend in salary cap space per generalfanager.com. If Johansson gets his salary, he will be the third highest paid forward on the roster, behind Alex Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom, and the sixth highest paid overall.
As a reminder, Johansson is not allowed to use the signings of other players around the league as a reference for what his contract value should be in the arbitration hearing. The Caps also are not allowed to use their cap situation as evidence of why they should pay a lower salary than the player deserves.
If the Caps get a freindly contract out of arbitration, the offseason is seemingly over. With 13 forwards to compete for roster spots, not including the minor leaguers invited to Training Camp, MJ90 is set up to compete for a top-six spot with the likes of the still-developing Andre Burakovsky and newcomers Justin Williams and TJ Oshie. Johansson played a lot of time on the first line last season; then again, so did a lot of players. He is a proven player who had a career best 47 Point (20 Goals, 27 Assists) season last year. I don’t care what Steve Dangle, noted Toronto Maple Leafs blogger, has to say about the team trading him:
Tyler Bozak will cost the Caps more over the next three seasons, especially with that no-trade clause, than taking a contract with Johansson out of arbitration. Bozak may have scored two more points than Johansson last season, but most of those points came playing with Phil Kessel, whom he no longer has as a teammate. Steve told me via tweet that they played “like almost every minute” together.
Regardless of the impending hearing, the Caps should look to strike a deal with Johansson and his agent to keep the 24-year-old winger in Washington for the forseeable future. Remember, the Caps can carry a payroll up to 10% over the league limit until Opening Night.