Capitals defensive prospect Chase Priskie is having a very strong senior season with Quinnipiac. He averaged over a point per game for the first time in his NCAA career and was recently named as one of the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. While Washington would undoubtedly like to sign him, the 23-year-old indicated to NBC Sports’ Washington’s J.J. Regan that he hasn’t given much thought as to whether or not to sign with them or wait a few months and become an unrestricted free agent in mid-August.
The Caps tried to lure him away from college a year ago and while it briefly looked like Priskie was set to sign, he opted to remain with the Bobcats for his final season. While he certainly fared quite well, it also presents a bit of uneasiness with the potential for him to hit the open market.
What also is a potential challenge for Washington is their contract situation. As things currently stand, they are at the maximum of 50 contracts which would take away the option of offering him a deal that starts this season, a practice that has become much more common in recent years. If all they can offer is the same deal that every other team can offer in August, why not wait it out?
It’s important to note that while the trade deadline has passed, trades can technically still be made. The players involved just aren’t NHL-eligible for the rest of the season. Accordingly, it wouldn’t be surprising to see GM Brian MacLellan try to move out someone in the minors for an unsigned asset to free up a contract slot to give them the opportunity to offer him a deal where he’d burn the first year this season. However, knowing that the Capitals are in a tough spot, there’s a chance that they may have to part with another small asset as a sweetener to entice a team to get them out of that spot. In essence, the Capitals may have to give something up to sign their own player, a situation that doesn’t present itself very often.
Alternatively, they can wait and offer Priskie an entry-level deal in 2019-20 and hope that doing so will be enough to entice him to pass up a shot at free agency. With Quinnipiac set to take part in the NCAA tournament that kicks off late next week, he’s at least a little while away from making his decision but this situation will be one to monitor.