Friday: The Capitals have officially announced the deal. It’s a four-year extension worth $10MM in total for a salary cap hit of $2.5MM. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports (Twitter link) that the breakdown of the deal is as follows:
Dreger also notes that just over half of the money comes in the form of signing bonuses.
Thursday: The Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals had two names at the top of their free agency wish list: defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, those boxes will both be checked off before July 1st. After inking Carlson to a massive extension earlier this week, Dreger reports that the Capitals have now agreed to terms on a multi-year extension with Kempny. Term and salary details have not yet been disclosed and the contract is expected to be formally announced tomorrow.
Kempny was little more than a luxury depth addition when the Capitals acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks ahead of the Trade Deadline. Kempny was midway through his second NHL season and had just 81 games and 12 points to show for himself. Yet, Washington GM Brian MacLellan saw something in the 27-year-old Czech import. Not only did MacLellan give up a conditional third round pick to land Kempny – at the time seen as a steep price – but he also handed him more ice time than he had ever seen in Chicago. Kempny rewarded him with flawless defensive play down the stretch. Kempny is neither an offensive force nor a real physical threat, but he plays a strong man-to-man defensive game and make few mistakes. He took his game up another notch in the postseason, scoring five points in 24 games, blocking shots seemingly all of the time, and serving as a match-up nightmare for the opposition.
Kempny exceeded all expectations in Washington and was a key piece to their Cup run. Now the Capitals plan to repay him by exceeding his very modest $900K cap hit with a new multi-year contract. The Caps’ blue line felt like it was missing a piece for most of last year before Kempny arrived and the team hopes that this extension will maintain the strong play that the unit showed in the postseason. Armed with a top four of Carlson, Kempny, Matt Niskanen, and Dmitry Orlov, the Capitals will be ready to defend their title next season.