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February 11, 2019 09:51PM
John Carlson can’t forget that he is fighting for the NHL lead for points among defensemen because his Washington Capitals teammates keep razzing him about it.”The guys do a good job of pumping that up in the locker room Authentic Blake Wheeler Jersey ,” Carlson said.Carlson’s 61 points have him tied with the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, and he is a dark horse candidate for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.”John’s having just a whale of a year,” teammate Matt Niskanen said. ”Monster year – production, been carrying the load all year. He’s been a stalwart back there for us.”This breakout season with a career-high 15 goals and 46 assists is coming at a perfect time for Carlson, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer but has been flying under the radar compared to New York Islanders captain John Tavares. Carlson command upward of $7 million per season on a deal that’s almost certain to be eight years if Washington re-signs him or seven if he hits the market July 1.The 28-year-old has outperformed the six-year contract he signed in 2012 that pays him just under $4 million a year. He has shown the ability to be a dominant No. 1 defenseman by averaging 25 minutes a game, running the point on the top power-play unit, killing penalties and drawing the toughest matchups.A 2008 first-round pick of the Capitals, Carlson likes Washington and would like to stay if the fit is there. General manager Brian MacLellan has said he believes each side wants to get a deal done but will wait until after the season to try to make it happen.The big question is whether the Capitals can make it work under the salary cap, which might require trades even though the ceiling is expected to go up to between $78 million and $82 million from $75 million.Carlson might not reach the $7.875 million annual salary of Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman, who along with Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings is a Norris front-runner, but he might not be far off. Carlson has more of an offensive punch than San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic http://www.jetsshoppro.com/authentic-bryan-little-jersey , whose new deal pays him $7 million a year, and he has almost double the points of the next-highest potential free agent defenseman, former Capitals teammate Mike Green, who’s 32.”He’s always been steady,” Washington goaltender Braden Holtby said of Carlson. ”His role’s expanded, obviously, which shows: time on ice and points and such. He’s got all the tools of a great defenseman. “Carlson isn’t the only player excelling in a contract year. Here are some others:JAMES VAN RIEMSDYKThirty-goal scorers get paid handsomely in free agency because they are so rarely available. Van Riemsdyk’s 33 goals are 11th-most in the NHL, and the 6-foot-3, 217-pound left-winger has gotten better around the net. Van Riemsdyk, the second overall pick in 2007, has another one of the league’s best bargain contracts at $4.25 million a year Womens Connor Hellebuyck Jersey , which Toronto inherited from Philadelphia. The Maple Leafs have expressed interest in keeping the 28-year-old.JOHN TAVARESUndoubtedly the best pending free agent, Tavares still not having a new contract with the New York Islanders is generating buzz and whispers like Steven Stamkos two years ago. Stamkos re-upped with Tampa Bay on the eve of free agency, which Tavares could do. The Islanders will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season and sixth time in Tavares’ nine years in the league. The point-a-game player with 32 goals and 43 assists could fetch $10 million a year or more if he isn’t back with New York.DAVID PERRONThe expansion Vegas Golden Knights struck gold with Perron, whose 66 points are a career high and a big reason they are leading the Pacific Division. The soon-to-be 30-year-old winger got his game back after bouncing around to four different teams the past five seasons and could easily re-sign with Vegas like teammate Jonathan Marchessault did.JOE THORNTONKnee surgery knocked Thornton out of the San Jose Sharks’ lineup in January, cutting short a season in which he had 36 points in 43 games at age 38. If Thornton shows he can still play at the top of his game when he returns, he will be in demand for another one-year contract.RICK NASHGoing from the New York Rangers to Boston appears to have reinvigorated Nash’s game after just 28 points in 60 games before the trade. The 33-year-old power winger’s contract year won’t truly be judged until the playoffs, where he gets another chance to exorcise some past demons.— DENVER (AP) The game had a postseason intensity. So Gabriel Landeskog of course brought out his best shot – even if he might’ve had his eyes closed when he took it.A capacity crowd certainly let him know the result.The Colorado captain beat Marc Andre-Fleury with a nifty move in the shootout and the Avalanche kept expansion Vegas from clinching a playoff spot on their home ice by beating the Golden Knights 2-1 on Saturday.”It was a lot of fun and the crowd was incredible,” said Landeskog, who explained that on his winning tally he came in from an angle on Fleury, cut toward the middle and shot the puck with his eyes shut. ”(Fleury) made some nice saves on me during the game. It was nice to get that one back.”Semyon Varlamov stopped all three shots in the shootout. He finished with 39 saves, including seven in overtime.This after allowing five goals and being pulled in a 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings two days ago.Short memories this time of year.”I knew we were going to come and play hard and respond Dmitry Kulikov Jersey ,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. ”Doesn’t always guarantee you the victory – there’s another good team that’s trying to win the hockey game, too. It was a close one right down to the shootout.”Carl Soderberg was back on the ice after missing two games with an illness and contributed with a first-period goal. Colorado remains in the thick of the playoff picture as the team picked up its 26th home win, which is tied for the third-most in Avalanche history.The Pacific Division-leading Golden Knights are on the doorstep of earning their playoff spot. They were kept in this game thanks to the play of Fleury, who was back in the net after sustaining an undisclosed injury Tuesday. Fleury made 29 saves.”We had moments when I thought the puck would go in, but somehow he stopped the shots. He’d make that big save,” Varlamov said of Fleury. ”That’s why he’s different than anybody else. In a key moment, he can make that save.”Jonathan Marchessault tied the game early in the third, moments after Fleury made an incredible save with his right leg.It would be a familiar trend.The play of the game may have been this: Blake Comeau had a breakaway in the third as he tried to corral the puck near center ice. Fleury came all the way out to disrupt Comeau, who side-stepped Fleury’s stick only to tumble to the ice and not be able to knock it into the wide-open net.In overtime, Fleury also stopped Erik Johnson on a breakaway.”He was awesome,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. ”He made some great saves tonight. That wasn’t a 1-1 hockey game. That was like a 5-4 hockey game. I thought both goalies were really good.”Fleury recently had some fun with reporters who asked about what happened Tuesday when he left the game for an undisclosed reason (he also didn’t play Thursday). Fleury joked it was a chance to catch up on his favorite soap opera Youth Dustin Byfuglien Jersey , ”Days of our Lives.”All kidding aside, he said he was ”back to normal. It felt good to be back with the boys again.”The two teams turn around and play in Vegas on Monday.”The atmosphere was good. It was such a close game, on both sides,” Fleury said. ”It was exciting to be part of, but disappointing to come out on the losing side.”Varlamov was in net for a 20th straight game as backup Jonathan Bernier was sidelined by a cut that became infected. Bernier’s also missed time this season with a concussion.Soderberg gave Colorado an early lead by lifting a shot over the shoulder of Fleury for a power-play goal midway through the opening period.”It was a good hockey game,” Bednar said. ”That was a fun hockey game.”NOTES: Team USA goaltender Nicole Hensley was honored before the game and given an Avalanche sweater. She helped the U.S. bring home the gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games. … D Mark Alt made his Avalanche debut after being claimed off waivers from Philadelphia on Feb. 26. … RW Sven Andrighetto and C Colin Wilson are day-to-day with lower-body injuries.UP NEXTGolden Knights: Begin a four-game homestand Monday against Colorado.Avalanche: Travel to Vegas on Monday before hosting two straight games at home.—
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