FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Washington Capitals re-signed Dylan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract extension Friday, keeping the versatile 25-year-old forward in the District for the foreseeable future. Strome is off to a promising start in his first season with Washington, tallying 11 goals and 25 assists in 52 games.
Washington signed Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million contract in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent after the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to issue him a qualifying offer. Strome would have been eligible to become a restricted free agent this offseason, but instead Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan made the move to keep him during the NHL all-star break.
“Dylan is an intelligent and skilled center and has been a great addition to our organization,” MacLellan said in a statement announcing the extension. “We are pleased to sign him to a long-term contract. We feel his skill set is a great fit for our team as he enters the prime years of his career at an important position.”
At the start of the season, Strome quickly fit in with a Capitals group that was desperate for another productive center. He filled in while Nicklas Backstrom was on injured reserve after having hip resurfacing surgery, thriving on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Conor Sheary.
When Backstrom and Tom Wilson returned from their respective injuries last month, Washington had to make adjustments. Strome was a healthy scratch for one game before he was placed back on the top line upon his return.
Strome, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft by the Arizona Coyotes, has played both center and wing for Washington. Friday’s extension means the Capitals have four centers signed through at least the 2024-25 season. Backstrom will carry a $9.2 million salary cap hit next year, Evgeny Kuznetsov has a $7.8 million cap hit, Strome has a $5 million cap hit, and Nic Dowd has a manageable $1.3 million cap hit. Lars Eller’s contract is up at the end of this season.
The Capitals enter the all-star break in the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 60 points, but the Pittsburgh Penguins have four games in hand and sit in the second wild-card spot with 57 points and the Buffalo Sabres have 56 points and three games in hand on the Capitals. Washington’s first game coming out of the break is scheduled for Feb. 11 in Boston against the Bruins, who have the league’s best record.