What is Marcus Johansson worth now?

What is Marcus Johansson worth now?
August 29, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center. Capitals beat the Sabres 4-3 in a shootout.

(Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

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.