The Washington Capitals made two significant moves on Sunday during the NHL's free agency period, starting with left winger Evgeny Kuznetsov signing an eight-year, $62.4 million contract to stay with the team.
Kuznetsov's salary will count $7.8 million against the team's salary cap through the 2024-25 season. The Capitals will need to make more roster moves to get below the $75 million cap for next season.
That's a big reason the Capitals traded forward Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday for second- and third-round picks in the NHL draft in 2018.
That move will save the Capitals about $4.58 million in cap space.
The 26-year-old Johansson totaled a career-best 58 points (24 goals, 34 assists) while playing in all 82 regular-season games last season for the Capitals, who reached the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. He added two goals and six assists in the postseason.
In 501 career NHL games, all with the Capitals, Johansson has 102 goals and 188 assists. He was drafted in the first round by Washington in 2009.
The 25-year-old Kuznetsov was a restricted free agent. The new contract makes him Washington's second-highest paid player behind captain Alex Ovechkin.
Last season, Kuznetsov had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points. In 261 career NHL games with the Capitals, he amassed 182 points on 53 goals and 129 assists. He led the team in points with 77 in 2015-16.
"Evgeny is a premier center in the NHL and we are pleased that he will remain in Washington for at least the next eight years," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. "It is difficult to find a player of his caliber, who is in his prime and makes his teammates better. Evgeny plays with a tremendous skill, speed and tenacity needed to win in the NHL."