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Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 05/21/2012

Breaking down the Capitals’ restricted free agents


(Nick Wass - AP)
Earlier Monday, we took a look at the six unrestricted free agents on the Capitals’ roster.

There are four other players who are restricted free agents. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, that means the Capitals can obtain negotiating rights by submitting a qualifying offer. Should another team try to sign the player, the Capitals have the right to match the offer or receive compensation for losing the free agent.

Before getting started, a few notes: For offesason purposes, players’ salaries, not salary-cap hits, are listed. Restricted free agents’ minimum qualifying offers were calculated on Capgeek.com.

Also, keep in mind that while the NHL CBA is set to expire on Sept. 15, and it is uncertain what changes will be made to the current framework, general managers across the league are still tasked with constructing teams.

Jay Beagle
2011-12 salary: $525,000 | Qualifying offer: one-year, $577,500
Age: 26 (Turns 27 on Oct. 16)
2011-12 regular season stats: 41 GP, 4G, 1A, -2 / Playoffs: 12 GP, 1G, 1A, +1

His season was bookended by serious injuries – a concussion in October and broken left foot in the playoffs – but in between, Beagle became a key part of the new, defensive-minded Capitals.

Given Beagle’s emergence as a shut-down center able to take important faceoffs, kill penalties and play important minutes, there’s little reason to believe Washington wouldn’t want the Calgary native back in the fold. What will be interesting to see is whether the Capitals new coach trusts Beagle as much as former coach Dale Hunter did.

John Carlson
2011-12 salary: $787,500 | Qualifying offer: one-year, $826,875
Age: 22
2011-12 regular season stats: 82 GP, 9G, 23A, -15 / Playoffs: 14 GP, 2G, 3A, -1

Carlson didn’t have the strongest regular season in his sophomore year, but in the playoffs he essentially made up for it with strong play as half of the Capitals’ shut-down defensive pairing.

Despite the significant ice time he logs and important role he plays, Carlson is coming off his entry-level deal with a low qualifying offer and doesn’t have much negotiation leverage as an RFA. Karl Alzner, his defensive partner, was in this exact situation last summer and wound up signing a two-year contract worth $1.28 million – a steal of a deal for the Capitals, who may look to do the same with Carlson this year.

Mike Green
2011-12 salary: $5 million | Qualifying offer: one-year, $5 million
Age: 26 (Turns 27 on Oct. 12)
2011-12 regular season stats: 32 GP, 3G, 4A, +5 / Playoffs: 14 GP, 2G, 2A, +5

One of the more interesting cases this offseason, Green has long been identified as part of the Capitals’ core but has been limited to less than 50 games in each of the past two regular seasons because of numerous injuries. He went from being a two-time Norris Trophy finalist and elite offensive defenseman in 2008-09 and 2009-10 to a second-pairing option for the Capitals under Hunter.

Green said on breakdown day that he wants to be a part of Washington’s future, and it wouldn’t be too much of a risk for the Capitals to sign him to the qualifying offer (one year, $5 million) and offer Green the chance to show he can stay healthy. If the team has decided to part ways with Green, the Capitals could elect to trade his negotiating rights or allow him to sign another team’s offer sheet and receive draft-pick compensation for his departure.

Mathieu Perreault
2011-12 salary: $525,000 | Qualifying offer: one-year, $577,500
Age: 24
2011-12 regular season stats: 64 GP, 16G, 14A, +9 / Playoffs: 4 GP, 0G, 0A, -1.

Perreault said he never knew why he didn’t see any action in the second-round series against the Rangers, but when Nicklas Backstrom was sidelined by a concussion in the regular season, Perreault showed he could step up and help the Capitals’ offense when called upon.

But Perreault’s reputation as a streaky scorer — with his success and confidence highly dependent upon greater ice time in a playmaking role — remains intact. Even with limited versatility, Perreault has proved he can be a valuable depth player for the Capitals and, depending on how the rest of the roster shakes out, he could find a more consistent place in the lineup.

By  |  01:15 PM ET, 05/21/2012

 
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