Washington Capitals defenseman Christian Djoos signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract for the 2019-20 season Wednesday.
The value was decided by an independent arbitrator, who heard Djoos’ case Monday.
The Capitals had less than $1 million in cap room entering Wednesday, so the arbitrator’s decision pushed the team over the limit of $81,500,000. NHL teams’ payrolls can be as much as 10% above the cap until the first day of the regular season, Oct. 2.
Nonetheless, Washington will have to shuffle some pieces around to keep everyone under contract. Forward Chandler Stephenson is also headed to arbitration this summer, but he or Djoos might need to be traded away for the Capitals to get under the cap.
Another option could be for the team to stash a forward like Stephenson in the minor leagues to open the season and call up a forward with a lesser cap hit.
Djoos missed much of the 2018-19 season after needing surgery to address compartment syndrome in his left leg. He played 45 games, averaging 13:34 of time on ice, and collected one goal and nine assists.
He only played in three of Washington’s seven playoff games in April and was surpassed in performance by then-rookie Jonas Siegenthaler, who is more likely than Djoos to start in the Capitals’ top six defensemen next year.