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Posted at 07:48 PM ET, 06/28/2011

Washington Capitals GM George McPhee discusses Semyon Varlamov, NHL free agency

General Manager George McPhee met with reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Tuesday afternoon to discuss signing Brooks Laich and also a number of other items. So with the hope of not being too repetitive, here are few of the subjects McPhee discussed:

— This week, Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov reported that restricted free agent Semyon Varlamov is unlikely to re-sign with the Capitals. Varlamov received a qualifying offer from the team, which means Washington has the right to match any other NHL offers he might get or receive draft pick compensation should he sign elsewhere in the league. But if he were to leave for the Kontinental Hockey League, the Capitals would get nothing.

On Tuesday, McPhee said Varlamov’s future in Washington remains murky.

“We’ve negotiated. I don’t know any more than you do at this point, whether it will happen or not,” McPhee said, adding that the competition for who will be the Capitals No. 1 netminder next season is “wide open” and that Varlamov would have a chance to compete for the position if he were to return.

“Certainly like the goalies we have but who gets number one is up to them,” McPhee said. “It’s been explained to Varly that Tim Thomas didn’t perform the way he expected last year and it didn’t go the way he wanted but he came back and won the Vezina, won a Cup this year. Not bad. The opportunities are there.”

Regardless whether Varlamov does re-sign, though, McPhee said the Capitals remain committed to the young goaltenders that they’ve drafted and developed.

“It’s either the three that we have or the two that we have,” he said.

— There are five roster players from 2010-11 set to become unrestricted free agents at noon on Friday: Jason Arnott, Matt Bradley, Boyd Gordon, Scott Hannan and Marco Sturm. When asked about their future with the Capitals, McPhee said that the team hasn’t made those decisions yet.

“It’s hard to do it until after the draft because there’s so much going on at the draft you just don’t know which way it can send your team in terms of construction,” McPhee said. “That’s why I like to have as much flexibility as possible to do whatever’s best for the team, so we’ll make other decisions this week and see where things go. That sort of cuts both ways. I wouldn’t want to sort of go way down the line with a player and now something changes and now I can’t do his deal. In fairness to the players and to us, I like to wait until this week to see what’s going on, and there’s a lot of activity right now, there’s a lot of talk around the league.”

— In regard to how much trade discussion the Capitals are involved with, McPhee said he has talked to teams but added: “I don’t see anything happening right now. I can’t say that we’re close on anything or really trying to make trades, but you have see what’s out there.”

— Here’s your injury update for the last week in June: Dennis Wideman, who suffered a hematoma late in the regular season, has “100 percent” of his flexibility back in his leg McPhee said, and that it’s just a matter of the defenseman rebuilding his strength.

Also, Eric Fehr’s recovery from shoulder surgery is progressing well and McPhee said the winger is expected to be ready for training camp. McPhee didn’t have an update on Tom Poti, though, who was limited to 21 games because of a lingering groin injury.

— Defenseman Tyler Sloan cleared waivers earlier on Tuesday and it’s possible the Capitals will buy out his contract. The NHL deadline to buy out player contracts is Thursday and if the Capitals were to buy out Sloan it would result in a salary cap hit of $233,333 in each of the next two seasons.

McPhee only said that he will see what happens in the coming days when asked about Sloan’s future.

By  |  07:48 PM ET, 06/28/2011

 
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