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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Free Agency Update: Capitals Sign Matt Niskanen

Matt Niskanen had a career year in the 2013-14 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and as such he's cashed in signing with the Washington Capitals.

Matt Niskanen
Niskanen came to the Penguins in the fabled James Neal trade that saw Alex Goligoski head to Dallas for Niskanen and Neal.  Within the span of a week suddenly nothing remains of that trade.  James Neal, as you'll remember, was traded to the Nashville Predators during the first round of the draft for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

Niskanen was a first round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.  At only 27 the Caps look to have Niskanen fill the role of offensive defenseman in the top pairing. The defenseman will earn $40.25 million over 7 years for an AAV cap hit of $5.75 million, considerably less than what was offered by Tampa shortly after the beginning of the Free Agency period. That deal was said to be $49 million over the same 7 year period.

Nisky will be joining former Pen Brooks Orpik who signed with Washington earlier in the day.

Expectations are high for a player who, traditionally, did not meet those of a first round pick for a defender.  One of the youngest, and best, defensive players on the market the cost was looking to be high and too much for the Penguins to afford.  While Penguins fans may see it as bitter sweet to see him leave the team is seeing him leave at just the right time.

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