The plight of three unsigned RFA defensemen — Michael Del Zotto, P.K. Subban and John Carlson — has been one of the offseason’s most compelling storylines.
Today, Carlson’s story came to an end.
The Capitals announced they’ve inked the 22-year-old blueliner to a six-year, $23.8 million deal. The contract has an average annual cap hit of $3.97 million, a pretty significant pay raise from the $845,833 Carlson made on his entry-level contract.
“John is a talented young defenseman who has played very well for the Capitals and still has room to grow,” Washington GM George McPhee told the team website. “He wanted to make a long term commitment to the team and we are delighted that this young man who is an important part of our future will be a member of the club for many years to come.”
In his first two full seasons at the NHL level, Carlson scored 37 and 32 points while playing all 164 regular season games.
He was a key contributor to Washington’s surprising playoff run of a year ago, leading all defensemen in scoring (five points) while averaging over 24 minutes a night.
Two interesting notes on this deal:
1) The Caps will a lot of contracts on blueline for 2012-13 (yeah yeah, if there’s a season). Carlson, Mike Green, Roman Hamrlik, Tom Poti, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine and Karl Alzner are on the books for $21.6 million while Dmitry Orlov ($900,000) and Jack Hillen ($650,000) are also in the mix.
2) What happens with Del Zotto and Subban? It always felt like a race between those two and Carlson to see which one would dictate the market, especially considering how comparable the three are:
Subban (23 years old): 81 games played, 7G-29A-36PTS, 24:18 average TOI
Carlson (22): 82 games played, 9G-23A-32PTS, 21:52 average TOI
Del Zotto (22): 77 games played, 10G-31A-41PTS, 22:26 average TOI