The arbitrator has ruled in the Marcus Johansson case, awarding $3,750,000 for a term of one year. The ruling, due at 1PM today (Friday) was not submitted until 8PM EST. Johansson will again be a Restricted Free Agent next summer. This brings the free agency season to a close for the Washington Capitals for 2015. The have an estimated $469,041 in cap space, but that’s with 3 goalies on the NHL roster. The team will gain up to $950,000 by sending a goalie to AHL.
On Monday the Washington Post reported that the Capitals filed an arbitration request against forward Marcus Johansson for a one-year deal worth $3 million. Marcus Johsansson’s lawyers filed a counter-brief request of $4.75 million.
Going into his sixth season with the Capitals, Johansson is coming off of his best year, posting 20 goals.
Johansson’s expiring contract was a two-year bridge deal, with an annual average value of $2M. Being paid $4M over two years, Johansson put up 91 points in 162 games. His entry-level contract was worth $2.7M over three years (AAV of $900,000). In 183 games in the span of that contract, Mojo registered 95 points meaning that in a total of 345 NHL contests, Johansson has totaled 186 points. A similar forward, in a Washington Post article by Alex Prewitt, is Nashville’s Craig Smith. Smith recently agreed upon a five-year, $21.25 million deal with an AAV of $4.25M. That is likely where Johansson’s representatives are drawing their value of Johansson.
The Caps likely see Johansson as a bottom-six forward with the additions of TJ Oshie and Justin Williams in the last few months. Andre Burakovsky is the second-line left-wing and Johansson has had five seasons to solidify his spot in the top six. Johansson was reportedly asking for just over $4M per year less than two weeks ago, and is now seeking nearly $5M per at $4.75M, according to NBC Sports. One of the problems with Marcus’ demand, is that the Caps have just over $4M total cap space after inking goaltender Braden Holtby to a massive five-year, $30.5M deal.
A Twist in Reporting
Immediately following the notification from the Washington Capitals, several media outlets, including ESPN, Yahoo Sports, TSN and the AP were reporting that deal was reached and “avoided arbitration”.
All of the reports could be traced back to a single AP story. As expected, all of these reports were false, and later corrected by each of the media outlets. Kudos to Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post for enduring the long day on Friday, and for getting the story right.