The Capitals have sent qualifying offers to seven of their restricted free agents, including four of their NHL players. Defensemen Mike Green and John Carlson and centers Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle were all tendered contracts. The deadline for doing so wasn’t until 5 p.m. on June 25, but apparently general manager George McPhee and salary-cap guru Don Fishman, the assistant general manager and director of legal affairs, are efficient. This allows Washington to retain the negotiating rights for those players, become eligible for draft pick compensation should any other team sign them to an offer sheet or match that offer sheet if they so choose.
The players have until July 15 to accept the qualifying offers. If they want to go to arbitration, instead, that decision must be made by July 5. Only Green, Perreault and Beagle are eligible for that, according to the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.
Carlson, like defenseman Karl Alzner last summer, doesn’t have much leverage here unless he signs an offer sheet. The 22-year-old can accept the qualifying offer of $826,875 and look towards arbitration next year or try to negotiate a raise in the short term. Alzner elected for a two-year deal when his entry-level contract expired. Green faced that same scenario in 2008 and went for a four-year contract at $21 million. He was also coming off an 18-goal season and it was in the team’s best interests to lock him up quickly.
“I think that hockey it’s pretty simple the way things happen when you’re young,” Carlson said on May 14. “I certainly can’t complain. I think that I’ve been given a great situation since I’ve been here. I like the city and I like playing here. “
All contract numbers per the fabulous web site CapGeek.com. Perreault and Beagle both get qualifying offers of $577,500, a 10-percent raise off last year’s salary. Green’s qualifying offer is $5 million – his base salary last season. Given his injury history the last two years it would seem a good bet he would take that. One more year and Green is an unrestricted free agent anyway so why not roll the dice and bet on yourself having a rebound year?
“I love it here, this is a great organization, a great city and I believe that we’re going to win a Cup here and I want to be a part of it,” Green said last month.
The Caps do have to wonder if they’ll ever see the two-time 70-plus point defenseman who lit up the NHL between 2007-08 and 2009-10. Green had 205 points during that stretch. The last two years? Just 31 points in 81 games as a concussion cost him most of the final two months of 2010-11 and an abdominal/groin injury limited him to 32 games in 2011-12 – though he was healthy late in the season and for all 14 playoff games.
“I didn’t play for the majority of it because of injuries. But I felt comfortable and I felt that I played strong when the time was right, as far as playoffs,” Green said. “I was just starting to get my feel back again and unfortunately it’s come to an end at this point. I felt good, but I wish that I didn’t have to go through what I went through this year. I was really excited about this season but I’m focused now mentally on next season.”
The other restricted free agents are minor leaguers: Zach Hamill, 23, a forward acquired from Boston earlier this month in a trade for Chris Bourque; Kevin Marshall, 23, a defenseman the team traded for from Philadelphia on Feb. 2; and Michael Carman, 24, a forward picked up from Colorado in a Feb. 2 trade.
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