The Capitals announced on Sunday that they have re-signed defenseman John Carlson to an 8 year, $64 million contract. Carlson would have been a free agent once the league year began on July 1. 

The new contract makes Carlson one of the NHL's highest-paid defensemen, putting him on par with the Sharks' Brent Burns. P.K. Subban, the NHL's highest-paid defenseman, averages $1 more annually on his current deal, an eight-year, $72 million pact. Although Carlson would have gotten paid wherever he went, only the Capitals could offer the eight-year max.

Carlson was a huge part of the Capitals' run last season, and was one of the best blue-line scorers in hockey last year. He led all NHL defenders with points (68), and his 15 goals were tied for eighth in the NHL (three players tied for the league lead with 17). Carlson was also a huge part of the Capitals' outstanding power play, which was seventh in the league in scoring percentage at 22.5 percent. Four of his 15 goals came on the penalty.

In the postseason, Carlson set a team record for defensemen with 20 postseason points, including five goals. Four of those points -- and two of the goals -- came against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. Three of his five goals were on the power play throughout the playoffs.

The contract places Carlson behind Alex Ovechkin as the Capitals' second-highest paid player (Ovechkin's contract is worth slightly under $10 million per year). To make room for Carlson's contract, the Capitals traded defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goalie Philipp Grubauer to the Avalanche on draft night. Orpik's cap hit was $5.5 million, and he'll likely be bought out by the Avs. Grubauer, meanwhile, has reportedly signed a contract worth $10 million after starting in the postseason for the Capitals last year before being replaced by Braden Holtby.

According Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Carlson's contract will also include lockout protection with a $2 million signing bonus for the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons. Per The Washington Post, there's also a stipulated no-trade clause. Carlson can submit a list of 15 teams he can't be traded to for the first four years and 10 teams for the last four.

A first-round draft pick in 2008, Carlson has played his entire career with the Capitals. In that span, he has 77 goals and 256 assists. He would have immediately become the best defender on the market had he hit free agency, but Capitals GM Brian MacLellan had no intention of letting him get there.

"John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL,'' he said, per ESPN. "Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our league and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime. As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team's success on the special teams. We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement.''