“Given the season he had last year, a little inconsistency there, I think that probably works for both parties,” MacLellan said. “He recognizes or his representatives recognize that there’s upside there. We recognize there’s upside there.”
Samsonov had been on a three-year entry-level contract that carried a salary cap hit of $925,000. He had a 2.69 goals against average and a .902 save percentage last season in 19 games, missing time following a positive test for the coronavirus after sitting out the previous postseason with an off-ice injury. He also missed games late in the season after landing on the NHL’s coronavirus protocols list for a second time.
Johansen, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman, was selected by the Capitals with the 28th pick in the 2016 draft. He played for the Hershey Bears the past four seasons but has yet to make his NHL debut.
The deadline for NHL teams to issue qualifying offers to pending restricted free agents was 5 p.m. Eastern time Monday. The league’s free agency period starts Wednesday at noon.
The Capitals have a handful of notable unrestricted free agents, including captain Alex Ovechkin.
MacLellan said Saturday that he anticipates getting a deal done with Ovechkin before the start of free agency. Ovechkin is coming off a 13-year, $124 million deal he signed in 2008. He is again negotiating his deal by himself.
Other Capitals unrestricted free agents include defenseman Zdeno Chara, winger Michael Raffl, and goaltenders Craig Anderson and Henrik Lundqvist.
The team checked in with Chara, 44, earlier in the offseason and will probably do so again when free agency opens to see “if he’s serious about coming back or not coming back and where the salary is going to end up,” MacLellan said. Chara signed a one-year, $795,000 deal with the Capitals last year after a storied career in Boston. He said at the end of last season that he wanted to talk over his next decision with his family.
Anderson, 40, is expected to retire, MacLellan said. Lundqvist, who missed the entire season after heart surgery, has resumed light workouts, but MacLellan said he has yet to be cleared medically to play. MacLellan said he believes the 39-year-old has the same attitude as last season, “that he’d like to play and if he gets clearance I think he’s probably going to try and play.”
The team also will resume talks with Raffl, acquired at the trade deadline last season, after free agency opens, MacLellan said.