On Friday the Washington Capitals signed defenseman John Carlson to a six-year, $23.8 million contract. I caught up with one of his agents, Paul Krepelka, to talk about the deal. Here’s the transcript:
On long-term deal
Paul Krepelka: “Yeah, that’s what John wanted. John wanted to be a Capital. So that’s what we kind of pushed for. That’s one of the reasons why it dragged out for so long. But the secrurity and the commitment to organization ultimately was important to John.
Big deal to beat CBA deadline?
“No, it wasn’t. I think teams, they wanted to get their house in order, get this thing done so they could set their team up going forward with a new CBA. It wasn’t that much of a sense of urgency. It seemed to coincide with the 15th, but there wasn’t a drop-dead that we needed to get this done by the 15th or else. There was none of that.”
Owners talking about rollbacks- is that a factor?
“It’s part of the discussion; you have to factor it in. But when you do extensions right now, you’ve got to deal with the rules that you’re given. These are the rules we know and we understand. If such a rollback or something in the future were to happen, this is something that the players understand going in and have to live with. It’s a big issue with the CBA; I’m not sure it’s going to happen. But if it does, then all these guys that signed extensions know it going in and are aware of it. If it happens, it happens. I don’t think it’s going to, but we’ll see.”
Comparables for this deal? How do you work to this deal?
“There are various comparables throughout the league. I don’t want to get specific. It was just more the appropriate number given the term and given his active role that he’s going to play on that team going forward. We just felt and obviously the Caps felt that was the appropriate number for John given his contribution to the team and the commitment he’s making to the organization in terms of years.”
Not your client or negotiation, but defensive defenseman Karl Alzner signed for 2 years, admitted not having much leverage without stats. Did Carlson’s stats provide more leverage to get long term?
“Yeah, absolutely. His offensive numbers kind of differentiate him from Karl. As you’ve seen throughout the league, offensive defensemen get paid a little bit more than stay-at-home D. But I think Karl is a good player and he’ll get his payday soon enough. I don’t represent Karl; I don’t know what the dynamics were of that negotiation. … We were just doing what’s best for John; we didn’t really talk much about Alzner to be honest with you. In most negotiations, if you look at the pay scale around the league, defensemen with an offensive upside oftentimes get paid more than that stay-at-home, rock-solid defensive defensemen.
Fans seemed to think this was dragging on. What were dynamics?
“There was never any debate on the player. The Capitals throughout the whole process were nothing but professionals, grateful, honest. There was no contention in the negotiation whatsoever. It was just the dynamic of the upcoming CBA, the potential whether rules were going to be changed or not, just made this a real complex and difficult negotiation.”