Caps sign Carrick to entry-level deal

Caps sign Carrick to entry-level deal
September 23, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Crab thrown onto ice at Capitals game in Baltimore

This could be a tough week for Plymouth Whalers fans.

With Tom Wilson already receiving public support from Capitals head coach Adam Oates [read here] and captain Alex Ovechkin [see below], the Capitals announced today that defenseman Connor Carrick has been signed to a three-year, entry level contract.

Taken by the Caps in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL entry draft, Carrick, 19, likely will begin the season with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, although Oates did not rule out Carrick making the Caps’ opening night roster.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” Oates said.

“I think he’s really improved. He’s had a good camp and we thought it was better for him to be with us then go back to junior. He’s moved beyond that.”

Carrick and Wilson are both 19 and have one year of eligibility remaining with the Whalers. Carrick is eligible to play in the AHL this season because he was with the U.S. National Development Program when the Caps drafted him.

Wilson, taken 16th overall in the 2012 draft, came up through the OHL and is not eligible to play in the AHL.

With two goals and two fights in his first three preseason games, Wilson appears to have earned a spot on the Capitals’ roster.

“I think he deserves to be here,” Ovechkin said. “You see in the preseason games, he score goals, he fights, make big hits. He’s a good guy in the locker room and I’m sure he’s going to have a great future.

“Last year Hendy [Matt Hendricks] was that kind of guy. But I think Wilson has more opportunity to be a better play than somebody think.”

At 5-foot-10, 197 pounds, Carrick plays bigger than his actual size and has shown incredible poise and decision-making ability for a teenager.

Last season he recorded 12 goals and 32 assists in 68 games with the Whalers.

“It’s not that he wouldn’t have a great year in juniors, of course he would,” Oates said. “But we think he’s ready for the next level.”

That’s good news for Carrick and Caps fans, but not so much for fans of the Whalers.

“Poor Plymouth,” Oates said. “Sorry, boys.”