September 14, 2012

On eve of lockout, Caps ink Carlson to six-year deal

By Jesse Connolly

With just one day to go until the lockout gets underway, the top remaining free agent among New England natives has inked a new, lengthy contract.

Defenseman John Carlson (Marlborough, Mass.) agreed to terms on a six-year, $23.8 million pact with the Capitals on Friday. He’ll earn $3.8 million in the first season, and $4 million per year throughout the remainder of the deal.

Carlson, 22, just completed his second full season with the Caps, scoring nine goals and adding 23 assists. His entry-level deal saw him carry a cap hit of $845,833. He’ll earn more than four times that in his new contract.

"John is a talented young defenseman who has played very well for the Capitals and still has room to grow," said Caps vice president and general manager George McPhee. "He wanted to make a long term commitment to the team and we are delighted that this young man who is an important part of our future will be a member of the club for many years to come."

After finishing the 2011-12 season ranked second among Caps’ blueliners in goals, points and shots, Carlson chipped in five points during Washington’s playoff run, which saw them reach Game 7 of the conference semifinals in the East.

Carlson’s new contract makes him the second-highest paid defenseman on the team behind Mike Green ($6 million). Only two Capitals are inked to longer contracts: Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.