A week from now the Caps’ rookies will be busting their tails trying to land a spot on the club’s opening night roster on Oct. 1.
A week after that, on Sept. 12, the Caps’ veterans will report.
But will Marcus Johansson? And if he does, will he have a new contract in hand?
Another week is about to slip away without the 22-year-old Swede under contract.
Johansson is coming off a three-year entry level contract that paid him $900,000. He is believed to be seeking an extension in excess of the two-year, $4.5 million contract Carl Hagelin signed this summer with the Rangers.
After signing Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year, $3 million contract on Friday, the Caps now have 21 players under contract and sit just $2.665 million below the NHL salary cap.
Which means …
Johansson will either settle for a contract in the $2.5 million range or the Caps will need to move either him or someone else’s salary to make room for him.
It is easier to roll manhole covers down F Street than it is to trade NHL salaries in September, so it looks as though Johansson may have painted himself into a $2.5 million corner.
And if you’re a Caps fan that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Johansson is coming off a productive – albeit brief – season last year, benefitting from top linemates Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to record six goals and 16 assists in 34 games.
If he agrees to a one-year deal with the Caps, Johansson will have all the incentive he needs for a breakout year and a big payday next summer.