With Johansson signed, what's next for Caps?

With Johansson signed, what's next for Caps?
September 7, 2013, 11:00 am
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There are two words that remain for the Capitals now that they’ve signed Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Now what?

First things first. The Caps knew Johansson, 22, did not have arbitration rights and they used that leverage to give him $1.825 million this season and $2.175 million next year.

That is less than what the Rangers gave 25-year-old Swede Carl Hagelin, who signed this summer for two years and $4.5 million.

In 112 NHL games Hagelin has 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points. In 183 games for the Capitals, Johansson has 33 goals and 62 assists for 95 points.

Clearly, Johansson’s contract is a “Show Me” agreement that provides tons of incentive for the 22-year-old Swede to earn a fat contract two summers from now.

But it also puts into question what the Caps intend to do with rookie prospect Tom Wilson.

If Wilson is good enough to make the Capitals out of training camp – and many believe he is – the Caps would need to clear space to make room for his $1.3 million cap.

That space currently stands at just $665,705, according to capgeek.com, which means that if the Caps intend to keep Wilson on their roster they’ll need to move salary.

With 14 forwards the leading candidates in that salary removal would appear to be center Mathieu Perreault [one-year, $1.05 million], Jason Chimera [one year, $1.75 million],  Aaron Volpatti [two years at $575,000 each].

Defenseman John Erskine [two years at $1.962 million each] could be expendable as well.

Before the Caps can consider any changes they’ll need to be convinced Wilson can make an impact as a third-line right wing. And they have the next three or four weeks to make that determination.