Washington Capitals defensive prospect Connor Carrick has shined all training camp and throughout the preseason. His hard work paid off on Monday as Carrick signed a three year entry level contract with the Capitals. The 19 year old right handed blue liner will earn $550,000 at the NHL level for the first two years, followed by $575,000 in the third season of his entry level contract. Carrick will earn $70,000 annually if he plays in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Carrick’s entry level deal is worth $550,000 at the NHL level the first two years, $575,000 the third. At the AHL level, $70,000 annually.
— Katie Carrera (@kcarrera) September 23, 2013
He’s eligible to play in Hershey this season unlike Capitals forward prospect Tom Wilson, giving meaning to the timing of his contract signing. Carrick totaled 44 points in 68 games for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) last season, leading their blue line in goals with twelve. He also totaled 18 playoff points in 15 postseason games for the Whalers last spring.
“He’s one guy that has definitely upgraded, changed and it looks like he’s become more than just a junior player to me,” Oates told the Washington Post. “I’ve never been a guy that ever watched junior. It’s been 30 years since I was involved in junior; I don’t really know what to look for, I’m not exposed to it. I’m used to the NHL, certain size, speed, talent level, and he looks like he’s become more of a man, I guess you could say. He looks more ready to play at our level.”
He’s a quick puck moving defenseman with a quality right handed shot, but lacks a big physical frame at only 5-10 and 183 pounds. Carrick has a solid chance to make the World Junior Championship roster for the United States this season.
His time with Plymouth has been essential in his development over the past year, along with a strong rookie camp.
“For me it is going day by day and trying to play with confidence,” said the newly signed Carrick. “Play with a little swagger like you do in junior, that confidence. Once you lose that you make it pretty hard on yourself.
After signing his entry level deal Monday afternoon, Carrick continued to impress the Washington Capitals’ brass. He registered a power play goal in the second period during the Capitals 3-2 overtime lost to the Bruins at the TD Garden in Boston.
Carrick logged 26:15 in the preseason contest to lead all Capitals’ players, along with 4:41 of power play time to lead all Capitals’ defensemen. He recorded three shots on goal on the night, with a blocked shot as well.
On his goal, Carrick played the point on Washington’s 1-3-1, umbrella like power play set up. After forward Troy Brouwer cycled the puck up Carrick, he fed it to Mikhail Grabovski who then gave it right back to the young defenseman who blasted a slap shot past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
“It was a pretty good day to be me,” said Carrick. “[Mikhail] Grabovski made a nice pass and I was happy to beat the goalie because of the nice screen.”
“It was a fun experience, they’ve [Boston] got guys who had success last year and all the way through the NHL playoffs. Tried to give it our best and I think we handled it pretty well for the most part. That’s going to happen when we’re that young and they’re that good.”
While the Washington Capitals still have the option of sending him back to Plymouth, he’s pro ready and joining the Hershey Bears would be the best decision for his development.
Matthew Speck covers the Washington Capitals organization for The Hockey Writers. He provides coverage of both Washington at the NHL level and prospect related content. Matthew also covers local sports for the Lebanon Daily News in Central Pennsylvania. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.