The Washington Capitals and newly-acquired defender Nick Jensen have come to terms on a four-year contract extension worth $10 million, the Capitals announced Friday. The deal came just hours after the Capitals acquired Jensen and a fifth-round draft pick from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Madison Bowey and a 2020 second-round pick.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 22, 2019
The 28-year-old Jensen has been a solid two-way defender in his three NHL seasons and has proven to far exceed the fifth-round draft grade he was given when the Red Wings selected him 150th overall in 2009. Though it took him some time, including three seasons at St. Cloud State and parts of four seasons in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Jensen made his debut in 2016-17, scoring four goals and 13 points in 49 games in his rookie season.
Jensen would be held without a goal in his sophomore season, though he did set a career-high in games played (81), assists and points (15) and penalty minutes (27). This season, Jensen has scored two goal and 15 points in 60 games and is having arguably the best season of his entire career on both ends of the ice.
The Capitals needed a significant upgrade on their bottom-pairing and Jensen looked like the perfect option to step in and play a role during the playoffs and a potential Stanley Cup run. Before ever suiting up for the Capitals, however, the team decided that he was enough of an upgrade that they wanted him to be a part of their immediate plans as well as their plans for the future, signing him to this deal.
Jensen is coming off of a two-year contract that carried a cap hit of $812,500. This new deal will pay him a sizeable raise of $2.5 million per season which is roughly three times the yearly earnings for Jensen.
Capitals, Red Wings and Bowey Benefit From Trade
For the Capitals, the trade to acquire Jensen made sense on paper and the return looked good even when he was just considered a rental. A second-round pick next season isn’t the worst bargain. Though Bowey was once a highly-touted prospect in the Capitals’ system, he’s struggled to crack the lineup consistently and his future with the team was filled with uncertainty.
Capitalizing on his value and upgrading in the immediate future, the Capitals opted to move Bowey as the main piece of this trade which was beneficial to all parties. The Capitals got their new defender, the Red Wings got a high draft pick and a player who was once considered a very good prospect while Bowey gets a chance to prove that he’s more than the player he was in Washington.
The Capitals are now primed to make a strong push out of the Metropolitan Division, especially after shoring up their bottom-six forward group and penalty kill with their acquisition of Carl Hagelin earlier this week.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.