Skip to content
Offseason Plans: Is John Carlson A Better Option For Golden Knights Than Erik Karlsson?
(Photo by: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)
Las Vegas–As the summer hiatus continues for the Vegas Golden Knights they look to the future for the next season with the potential roster changes coming.
With Vegas being knocked out of the Stanley Cup Finals in 5 games to the Washington Capitals, one notable player is could be on the move and test free agency is defenseman John Carlson.
The thing that makes Carlson from the Capitals an interesting one is that he is unrestricted free agent and there is Vegas connection there.
Carlson was originally selected by current Golden Knights General Manager George McPhee in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in the opening round of the draft at 27th overall.
Yesterday we did a piece on what will it take to snag top flight defenseman Erik Karlsson away from the Ottawa Senators.
Given how the Golden Knights tried getting him at the deadline proved to be a costly move if the deal between Vegas and Ottawa went down. Pierre Dorion asked McPhee to include forward prospect Cody Glass in the package. That would not have been a smart move by Vegas in the end.
Glass is part of the future core of the Golden Knights franchise along with Nick Suzuki, Erik Brannstrom, and Nic Hague.
So why does potentially landing Carlson from the Capitals make more sense, it’s very simple it won’t cost McPhee any assets because he’s a free agent on July 1.
With Carlson coming off his current 6-year deal ($23,800,000 million total) with Washington and winning the 2018 Stanley Cup you can bet for sure that he’ll be looking for some kind of payday increase.
Right now as it stands the Capitals have limited cap space available as they have a projected $11,215,705 in funds per our friends at Capfriendly.com to spend. This does not include the potential cap increase that could be around the $30 million range.
This makes things very tough and interesting for GM Brian MacLellan as he has hard decision to make that could lead to Carlson testing out the free agent market to see what he could get from potential suitors.
MacLellan also has to deal with Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek who like Carlson are also UFA blueliners.
For Vegas, this puts them in a better position to potentially sign Carlson as they have close to $30 million in the cap to spend. He’s also shoots right handed like Deryk Engelland and Colin Miller.
It’s most likely that the Golden Knights will let Luca Sbisa walk in the offseason as he is was one of their RD’s (Right Defenseman).
Bringing in a Carlson will certainly fill the hole that Sbisa leaves behind.
Plus Carlson can play the heavy minutes required by a head coach night in and night out.
Over the course of his career with the Capitals, Carlson has played between 20-25 minutes on average per game since the 2011-12 season when he became a regular in the lineup.
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s no different as Carlson is comfortable with taking on the load in ice time at 20 to 25 minutes.
Carlson is also a quarterback on the power play as he was on the Capitals first PP unit this past season.
Going forward, being able to sign Carlson vs. trying to acquire Karlsson from Ottawa would be a smarter and much safer move for McPhee.