The first day of NHL free agency came and went Friday without so much as a depth signing by the Washington Capitals, who continue to have a quiet offseason after failing to advance past the second round of the playoffs for a sixth straight season. General Manager George McPhee makes his dislike of the inflated contracts that are a trademark of NHL free agency well known, and given that the Capitals still have to sign restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson, their inactivity wasn’t unexpected. But every member of their new division made some type of lineup addition this week — whether through free agency, re-signing a roster player or a trade — and the Capitals only had subtractions. Free agents Mike Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks left for Phoenix and Nashville, respectively, where they both received lengthy contract terms and salaries that the Capitals weren’t willing to offer. Ribeiro, 33, signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Coyotes. While Washington would have liked to bring Ribeiro back, they didn’t want to commit to more than a three-year deal in part because of his age. Salary cap constraints prevented them from offering an average annual salary of $5.5 million without restructuring their roster and salary cap management strategy. In an interview with TSN, Ribeiro said Washington “didn’t come close” to what he agreed to with Phoenix. Ribeiro’s departure leaves Washington without a second-line center once again. Barring an offseason addition — Mikhal Grabovski and Derek Roy are among the unspectacular group of free agent pivots remaining — the Capitals will likely turn to Brooks Laich to fill that role. Hendricks, 32, had hoped to return to Washington, but given that this summer was his prime opportunity to land a significant contract for the first time in his career, the numbers never worked out. He landed four-year, $7.4 million contract with the Predators and is excited to play a more defensive, gritty style.
Ribeiro, Hendricks bid adieu to Capitals
Washington Post | Jul 6