After Washington drafted Bowey in the second round in 2013, he made his NHL debut this past season, appearing in 51 games with an average ice time of 13:43. Although the 23-year-old didn’t appear in any playoff games, he’s expected to be on the NHL roster again next season, and that it’s a one-way contract for both years of his new deal supports that.
The Capitals now have six defensemen under contract, and General Manager Brian MacLellan said adding a veteran blue-liner was a consideration, especially with Bowey and Christian Djoos entering just their sophomore campaigns. MacLellan confirmed Washington was in discussions with veteran Brooks Orpik, whom the team traded to Colorado at the draft in a salary cap-clearing move. The Avalanche bought out the last year of Orpik’s deal, making him an unrestricted free agent. The 37-year-old remains unsigned.
“We’re still in discussions with maybe one or two free agents,” MacLellan said July 3. “There’s a trade-off: We think Madison can take the step to the next level, and same with Djoos. They both played well this year, and I think they’re going to improve as we go this year.”
Bowey’s contract leaves the Capitals with roughly $7.2 million in cap space, and they have 21 players under contract. Wilson, a restricted free agent, did not elect for arbitration, so it’s unclear how long his contract negotiations might take. His agent, Mark Guy, said this week that, while there has been regular dialogue with Washington, a new deal isn’t “done or close.” The sides are exploring an extension potentially “north of four years,” which could mean an average annual value in the neighborhood of $4 million.
Assuming Wilson’s deal gets done, the Capitals, who won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup last month, would be in line to return six of their defensemen from last season as well as their entire top-nine forward corps.
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