- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday he has meetings scheduled for later this week at the NHL Draft in Dallas with the representatives of the team’s pending free agents.

The Capitals will have 10 free agents, five unrestricted and five restricted, with defenseman John Carlson being Washington’s No.1 priority.

Washington can negotiate with Carlson and the others exclusively until free agency begins July 1. At that point, other teams are permitted to speak with — and sign — the Capitals’ free agents.

Carlson, who led defensemen in points last season, said last week he wants to return to the Capitals, but “there’s more to it than that.”

Besides Carlson, the Capitals have the following unrestricted free agents: center Jay Beagle, winger Alex Chiasson, defenseman Michal Kempny and defenseman Jakub Jerabek.

Forward Tom Wilson, forward Devante Smith-Pelly, center Travis Boyd, goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Madison Bowey are the Capitals’ restricted free agents.

The Capitals have a projected $11.2 million in salary-cap space, though that number will increase if the league raises its salary cap from $75 million, as many expect.

Last season, the Capitals re-signed T.J. Oshie, a pending UFA, before the July 1 deadline to a massive eight-year, $46 million deal. Evgeny Kuznetsov, an RFA last year, signed an eight-year, $62.4 million contract on July 2.

The NHL Draft will be held June 22 and 23.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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