Photo: NHL Via Getty Images
The NHL released dates for salary arbitration hearings on Tuesday afternoon. Washington Capitals’ restricted free agents, defenseman Christian Djoos and forward Chandler Stephenson, will have their cases heard in front of a neutral arbitrator in Toronto, Ontario on Saturday, July 22 and Saturday, August 1, respectively.
The Capitals and each player can each agree to a contract before then and cancel the hearing. Both Stephenson and Djoos filed for salary arbitration prior to the deadline to do so this past Friday.
The Capitals currently have $4,285,706 left in cap space to fit Djoos, Stephenson, and forward Jakub Vrana, who is also currently a restricted free agent, in.
If a ruling is made from an arbitrator for either player, the team has the option to sign them to the contract that is awarded to them or walk away from it. Should the Capitals walk away from the verdict (though, it’s rare), Stephenson and Djoos would both become unrestricted free agents.
If the price tag for either player is too high, the Capitals may have no choice but to let them go as their top priority at the moment is to re-sign Vrana, who set career-highs in goals (24), points (47), plus-minus (+20), and games played (82) this past season. The Capitals will likely want to get Vrana’s deal done prior to July 22 to see how much money they can give to Stephenson and/or Djoos.
Stephenson, 25, was a frequent healthy scratch last season as he only played in 64 games during the regular season. He posted five goals, 11 points, and a team-worst -13 rating in 2018-19. Stephenson turned down his qualifying offer of $715,000, according to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.
Djoos, 24, was also scratched a bit last season but missed a majority of his time (23 games) due to thigh surgery, which he had on December 14. He ended the season with a goal, 10 points, and a +9 rating in 45 games.
For the full schedule of arbitration hearings, click here.
By Harrison Brown