A strong showing in the playoffs could push Capitals defenseman John Carlson’s asking price to or above $8MM per season, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggested during an appearance on TSN 1260 (audio link). That would put his next deal in line with the reported extension offer that the Coyotes have given Oliver Ekman-Larsson (eight years and $66MM).
While that would more than double Carlson’s previous cap hit, he has certainly made a case for that type of money. He led all NHL defenders in points with 68 during the regular season while averaging a career-high 24:47 per night. He followed that up with a near-identical showing in the playoffs, averaging the same points-per-game rate (0.83) and logged even more ice time at 25:38 per game. That type of performance puts him in the discussion as a legitimate number one defender and with a weak free agent market, the Capitals will have to find a way to fit in another sizable contract if they want to bring him back for 2018-19 and beyond.
More from the Metropolitan:
- The Penguins may have wanted to keep winger Chris Kunitz around last summer but expected to bring back center Matt Cullen instead and didn’t want two veterans on their fourth line, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh focused on getting Cullen locked up so Kunitz instead went to Tampa Bay. (Cullen, meanwhile, wound up in Minnesota.) One summer later, the scribe believes that Kunitz could be back on their radar as a fit on the fourth line. The 38-year-old saw his ice time reduced considerably this past season but he still managed to put up 13 goals and 16 assists in his diminished role and the Pens would certainly welcome production like that on their bottom trio.
- With the Islanders likely to be active in looking for help between the pipes, Larry Brooks of the New York Post suggests Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is someone they may go after. Washington’s Phillip Grubauer is the better fit long-term but he’ll also cost a lot more to acquire. Howard would give New York a little more stability as they look to try to retain John Tavares and get back into a playoff spot next season. However, he’s entering the final year of his contract so if they were to trade for him, it would only be a short-term fix unless they could agree on a contract extension.