While the Capitals have been selling some of their pending free agents, they won’t be doing so with Nick Jensen. Instead, the team announced that they’ve signed the blueliner to a three-year contract extension that carries an AAV of $4.05MM. PuckPedia reports (Twitter link) that the deal does not include any trade protection and breaks down as follows:
2023-24: $3MM salary, $2MM signing bonus
2024-25: $2.15MM salary, $2MM signing bonus
2025-26: $1MM salary, $2MM signing bonus
When Washington acquired the 32-year-old back in 2019, he quickly inked a four-year, $10MM extension. However, the contract didn’t look like it would age well as Jensen had somewhat of a limited role early on with the Caps. That changed last season when he had a career year offensively with 21 points while logging over 19 minutes a night, pushing himself into a top-four spot on their depth chart in the process.
Jensen has continued that progression this season, picking up 24 points in 62 games, good for second among Washington blueliners behind John Carlson. On top of that, he’s averaging close to 21 minutes a night while playing heavy minutes on their penalty kill. Those characteristics would have made him a very intriguing rental option for several contenders but instead, he has decided to stay put with an organization that has seen him go from being a depth piece to a core player while GM Brian MacLellan felt that this route was better than taking a futures-based return.
Washington entered the day with just one defender signed for next season – Carlson, who makes $8MM. However, they now have three under contract with this deal plus the earlier acquisition of Rasmus Sandin from Toronto. Those three, plus pending restricted free agent Martin Fehervary, appear to be the new top four for the Capitals as things stand. It has been suggested that the Capitals don’t plan to undertake a sizable rebuild so it wouldn’t be surprising to see MacLellan continue to remodel his back end between now and the start of next season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.