With one week remaining before the start of training camp and restricted free agent Marcus Johansson still unsigned, Capitals general manager George McPhee said he’s still hoping to hammer out an agreement with the team’s top-line left wing.
“We’re hoping he’ll be here,” McPhee said. “We hope to have a deal done by then. We’ll keep talking.”
The Capitals are scheduled to hit the ice for the start of training camp on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Johansson, 22, is coming off the final year of a three-year, entry level contract that paid him $900,000 a season, along with a $270,000 signing bonus.
With last month’s signing of Mikhail Grabovski, the Caps now have roughly $2.6 million in cap space. Johansson is believed to be seeking close to $3 million a season.
Asked if having clearly defined salary cap space helps narrow the focus of negotiations, McPhee said it does not factor into the Johansson discussions.
“There are other things you could do to create space,” he said, apparently referring to potentially trading salary.
“We try to negotiate based on what we think the player is now and what he’s going to be and attach a number to it and that’s what we try to work with,” McPhee said. “It’s not about using the cap one way or the other to get a deal. It’s about what this guy’s worth.”
Apparently, Johansson is asking to be paid for what he can do during a full season with center Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. That line caught fire in the second half of last season and Johansson finished with six goals and 16 assists in 34 games.