Screenshot: Washington Capitals
While Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan has spent the days prior to the 2023 Trade Deadline wheeling and dealing longtime roster pieces in a retooling effort, he made clear the future of defenseman Nick Jensen with a three-year contract extension.
Jensen, a pending unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season and a possible candidate to be dealt, signed a three-year, $12.15 million deal to remain in Washington through the 2025-26 campaign.
“It’s exciting”, said Jensen of his new deal ahead of the Caps’ Wednesday night tilt agains the Anaheim Ducks, “It’s been a tough time here the last week, losing guys, you’re brothers in the locker room. It’s hard to be happy with that stuff going on but I’m excited to be here, I’m excited to stick around, I’m excited to see what the future has in store for us on this team.
“When I got here, I immediately saw the culture that this organization has built”, Jensen said of why he decided to re-up with the Capitals, “The guys in the room right now, and the guys before, it’s a winning culture. As long as we continue to keep that culture I’m excited to be here, obviously we’re not in the spot we want to be in this season, but as long as that culture continues to remain, guys continue to work for each other, I think it’s going to be a good thing for our team.”
Jensen, himself a trade deadline acquisition by MacLellena, struggled initially in the early going of his career in Washington, but he has become one of the team’s top blueliners in that time.
“Just the experience of playing in this league, the ups and downs and managing them”, said Jensen of what has improved his play, “Trying to play with as much confidence as you can that’s something that’s grown a lot for me over the four years. I think when I got here it was a little bit of a simpler game…”
With two days to go before the Caps’ brass is unable to pull the trigger on any future deals, the uncertainty of whether he wanted to stay or not was never a question in Jensen’s mind.
“I knew in my mind I wanted to stay, but it’s not always up to me, you know. There’s management that is looking out for the future of this team…at one point I wasn’t sure. I’m happy with the decision that they kept me around.”
Jensen joins John Carlson and new defenseman Rasmus Sandin as the three rearguards with a contract for next season.
By Michael Fleetwood