Carl Hagelin made a positive impression on the Capitals after they acquired him from Los Angeles in advance of the trade deadline. However, keeping him in the fold was going to be tricky given their salary cap situation. As a result of today’s defensive swap with Philadelphia though, they now have over $3MM in room to work with. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reports (Twitter link) that Washington is hoping to put that some of that money towards keeping Hagelin around as they are still trying to get him signed to a new contract.
While Washington was able to get away with carrying Hagelin at a reduced rate in 2018-19 thanks to the Penguins and Kings retaining part of his $4MM contract, that won’t be the case this time around. The question for them now is how close to his old AAV will they have to get to in order to keep him in the fold.
Although he’s coming of a particularly rough season offensively (just five goals and 14 assists in 58 games), Hagelin was somewhat productive in his time with Washington as 11 of his 19 points came with them in just 20 contests. However, he was largely held off the scoresheet in their first-round loss as he had just a single assist in seven games.
Even if he’s no longer much of an offensive threat, the 30-year-old is still a very strong skater and penalty killer and should be able to play in that role for a few more years. Those qualities are what made Washington interested in him in the first place so it’s no surprise that they want to keep him around. As a result of the trade, they now have at least $10MM in cap space for next year (the actual amount won’t be known until the Upper Limit is officially set) so their ability to bring Hagelin back has certainly gotten a boost.