Brian MacLellan says Capitals do not plan to use final compliance buyout


Brooks Laich’s agent said, ‘I’ve never heard his spirits so high’ as during their conversation last week. (J. Pat Carter/Associated Press)

Though speculation has run rampant about the Washington Capitals using their second and final compliance buyout to ditch an unwanted contract, rookie general manager Brian MacLellan said Monday that he does not intend to head that route.

“No I’m not,” he said. “I’m not. I don’t think it would make sense for any of our players that we pursue that path.”

Beginning 48 hours after the Stanley Cup (so, Monday) and extending until June 30 at 5 p.m., teams can drop contracts without future repercussion on the salary cap, similar to the amnesty buyout in the NBA. Last season, the Capitals used their first of two compliance buyouts on defenseman Jeff Schultz, who was making $2.75 million.

Forward Brooks Laich had emerged as a possible candidate, though little inside the organization since MacLellan was promoted from assistant general manager indicated the Capitals would actually go that route. Last week, Laich’s agent Roly Thompson said there had been “no discussions” about buying out Laich and his $4.5 million annual cap hit through 2016-17.

Rather, Thompson said Laich, who has endured plenty of health issues over the past two seasons, was pain-free and eager to play.

“I’ve never heard his enthusiasm and his spirits so high,” Thompson said then.

Of course, if MacLellan has a change of heart and wants to use his compliance buyout, whether on Laich or someone else, that option still exists until the window closes later this month. He also indicated that Washington would be open to pursuing another bought-out player on the free agent market, much like the Capitals did last season with Mikhail Grabovski.

On Monday, Dallas defenseman Aaron Rome became the first buyout of this current period, according to Bob McKenzie. The 31-year-old played in 25 games for the Stars and made just $1.5 million.

“We’ll look at it,” MacLellan said about searching for bought-out players in general. “We did it last year with Grabovski. We’ll definitely keep aware of a good fit and who’s being bought out.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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