One of the biggest questions facing the Caps this season has been what will the team do with defenseman John Carlson? Carlson is on the final year of his contract and, as his current deal pays him just under $4 million, is due a significant raise. But the Caps already have over $58 million committed to 12 players next season, according to Cap Friendly. That is approximately 77-percent of the current $75 million cap ceiling. While the ceiling is expected to rise, the fact remains that Washington already has a significant amount of money committed to players for the 2018-19 season. Further complicating the situation was the fact that no one knew the direction the team would take in 2017-18. With so many key players leaving in the offseason and an aging core, Washington could have taken a significant step back in the standings this season suggesting it was time for a rebuild. Committing more term and more money to a core that is need of an overhaul makes little sense. Now halfway into the season, it appears MacLellan has some clarity on where his team stands and what he wants to do with Carlson going forward.