As with many teams in the NHL, the Caps entered into arbitration hearings with two key players. Braden Holtby and Marcus Johansson because negotiations just seemed to stall and the hearings were a great way to get people to focus on their playing levels and value to the team. With Johansson, the Caps management’s expectations and his were different “from the get-go” regarding his value. It was much easier to establish his value as a player than it was for Holtby because we could compare Johansson’s stats, age and position with similar players in the NHL. Holtby, on the other hand, is a young player with a great season under his belt so establishing a value was a little more difficult. For both players the arbitration hearings provided a good venue to work through those differences. Both players are young and the Caps expect that their play will evolve and improve. For example, Brian MacLellan expects that Johansson’s will continue to improve as an all-around player, both offensively and defensively and will be competing against Andre Burakovsky for a top six spot – an increasingly competitive feat considering the strength and quality of our team. While last season was a good one for Johannson he will have to play hard to earn a top six spot.
By Stephanie Judge