The Washington Capitals have come to terms on a new deal with defenseman Bobby Nardella. CapFriendly reports that the two sides have agreed on a two-year extension that will keep the 25-year-old under contract through 2022-23, at which point he will be an unrestricted free agent. The contract carries the minimum NHL salary of $750K and is two-way this coming season, at $110K in the minors, before transitioning to one-way in year two.
If Nardella’s name does not immediately come to mind, it may be because he was under contract with Washington but playing in Sweden this past season. Nardella joined Djurgardens IF back in September, but rather than re-join the Capitals when training camps opened, the team allowed him to say overseas where he was thriving. Nardella recorded 33 points in 47 games this year in just his second professional season. He led Djurgardens in scoring and finished in the top five among SHL defenseman. He returns to North America having tasted what it is like to be an elite scoring defenseman in the pros and the Capitals hope to see that continue.
An undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame in 2019, Nardella is an undersized and offensive-minded blue liner, but has not let that limit him from making a difference in all three zones through his NCAA career and a season apiece in the AHL and SHL. Likely to return to the Hershey Bears to at least begin the 2021-22 season, Nardella could quickly earn a recall if he can show that his time in Sweden improved his game. The Capitals have no shortage of talented left-handed defense prospects such as Alexander Alexeyev, Martin Fehervary, and Lucas Johansen, but they could need immediate help at that area with Jonas Siegenthaler gone, Zdeno Chara heading for free agency or retirement, and Brenden Dillon a potential Expansion Draft casualty. Washington could be inclined to go with their most experienced option among that young group if they need defensive depth and that would be Nardella.