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John Carlson is about to get paid. Let’s hope it’s by the Capitals.

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The puts the folk plan to take the Stanley Cup this summer time contain cross-country and trans-Atlantic go back and forth. Just one itinerary may no longer prolong previous the Potomac. An afternoon with the Cup, in Washington?

“That’s my plan,” John Carlson mentioned.

He’s the only Washington Capital who, on the finish of this loopy stretch, is each essentially the most grounded right here and the only at the uneasy footing. His spouse grew up a Washingtonian. He owns a area in Chevy Chase, simply over the District line, the place the couple are elevating their younger circle of relatives. He performed extra mins than any Capital within the common season and once more within the playoffs. He registered extra issues than any defenseman within the NHL within the common season and once more within the playoffs. He is a robust, stable drive — and he has no concept the place he’ll play subsequent 12 months.

Wednesday used to be breakdown day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the yearly get started of summer time for the native hockey workforce. Typically, it’s tinged with unhappiness and regret. This 12 months, not anything however smiles. As we’ve got learned over the last week, the Cup adjustments the entirety.

Er, virtually the entirety. Because the Capitals blink their eyes transparent and knock the cobwebs from their brains, there’s a truth that the individuals who departed their Arlington coaching advanced Wednesday afternoon gained’t all go back.

“That’s unhappy,” defenseman Matt Niskanen mentioned. Nevertheless it’s additionally inevitable. It might had been true had they misplaced to Columbus within the first spherical. It stays true after successful the Cup.

What’s additionally true: John Carlson is ready to receives a commission. The listing of unrestricted loose brokers to be had to all 31 NHL groups when the bidding opens July 1 comprises New York Islanders heart John Tavares as essentially the most impactful performer. After which . . . Carlson, the 28-year-old without end Capital who adopted his easiest common season with 20 issues in 24 postseason video games — and a flip with the Cup.

“Groups overpay for guys which can be on successful groups,” mentioned defenseman Brooks Orpik, himself a man who used to be overpaid for being on a successful workforce. “Everybody’s conscious about it.”

“Giant, robust, right-shot defenseman that’s offensive and skates smartly,” Niskanen mentioned, “they don’t develop on bushes.”

And this tree used to be planted and nurtured via the Capitals, and has flourished right here. “That is all I do know,” Carlson mentioned. He used to be drafted via the Capitals within the first spherical in 2008. He made his NHL debut right here within the fall of 2009. He made the U.S. Olympic workforce as a Capital. He spends each and every summer time hereas a Capital. He scored a career-high 15 targets and added a career-high 53 assists on this, his 9th season, correct right here as a Capital.

“I wish to keep right here,” Carlson mentioned, “however there’s extra to it than that.”

Keep in mind closing summer time, when the wage cap tore on the core of the Capitals’ lineup? The workforce knew that Presidents’ Trophy-winning roster wouldn’t be again intact. However at that time, who cared? Finally the ones years of heads banging in opposition to partitions, one thing needed to trade lest an enduring welt increase.

However this summer time, that feeling is other. If the Stanley Cup used to be gained via banging your head in opposition to the wall, smartly, via all way, stay banging. But the 2017-18 wage cap used to be $75 million. In step with Capfriendly.com, which tracks NHL salaries, Washington will have to have more or less $11 million to be had this offseason if the wage cap remains the similar. Nevertheless it’s more likely to pass up, most likely considerably.

“The upper the simpler for me,” Normal Supervisor Brian MacLellan mentioned.

Take a look at squeezing Carlson, heart Jay Beagle, playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly, business acquisition Michal Kempny plus a wholesome lift for ahead Tom Wilson — who now turns out crucial — beneath one roof. That cap higher be excessive.

Nevertheless it all begins with Carlson, as a result of he’s going to get essentially the most years and essentially the most bucks. The top-paid defensemen within the NHL this previous season have been San Jose’s Brent Burns (who has additionally spent a while with no consideration wing), Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, Montreal’s Shea Weber, Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, Minnesota’s Ryan Suter and Florida’s Aaron Ekblad. Every had a cap hit of between $7.five million and $eight million in 2017-18, consistent with Capfriendly.com.

The place does Carlson have compatibility in that crew?

“I’ve at all times idea he is without doubt one of the higher defensemen that I’ve ever performed with, and this 12 months, he increased that rather a little bit,” mentioned ahead T.J. Oshie, who used to be staring on the identical uncertainties about his long run right now closing 12 months. “He’s, in my eyes, he’s were given to be [a] top-three to top-five defenseman.”

If that’s the fee, then . . .

“We’re going to be restricted to a undeniable extent to what we will be offering,” MacLellan mentioned. “However optimistically we will discover a spot that satisfies each events.”

It is a tough spot. Now not most effective is Carlson at an age when he may nonetheless strengthen — “I believe he’s nonetheless were given numerous room to develop,” Orpik mentioned — however he quickly may have his identify engraved at the Stanley Cup with the primary crew of Washington Capitals ever to have that honor. This can be a trade resolution. Profitable a championship makes it an emotional one, too.

“I want I had all of the solutions,” Carlson mentioned.

MacLellan mentioned he needs to carry Carlson again. Carlson mentioned he needs to be again. That’s all just right. However the marketplace hasn’t spoken but. And the marketplace gets its likelihood to talk when loose company starts in — wow — simply greater than two weeks.

Nonetheless, this transaction is obviously easier than the impending negotiation with Trainer Barry Trotz. Trotz additionally mentioned he needs to go back. MacLellan additionally mentioned he would prolong an be offering. Nevertheless it doesn’t take a linguistics skilled to determine that once Trotz discussed the 2 facets needed to “paintings via some problems” earlier than attaining an settlement way this isn’t simply monetary. Obviously, Trotz would love a minimum of one trade to his training group of workers — and who is aware of what else?

That state of affairs can be one to observe in coming weeks. However so will Carlson’s.

“This has been my house,” Carlson mentioned.

It’s additionally house, in the interim, to the Stanley Cup. Wouldn’t or not it’s great if the defenseman who performed this kind of massive function in bringing it right here were given to stay his house correct right here, too?

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