Free agent forward Paul Bissonnette, he of the mountaintop ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, remains in discussions with “a few teams,” among them the Washington Capitals, his agent said Wednesday.
On Tuesday night, ESPN anchor John Buccigross reported that Bissonnette was nearing a deal with the Capitals. Reached via text and asked to comment, Bissonnette’s agent Mark Guy said there was “nothing new” on that front.
During a telephone conversation several weeks ago, Guy declined to specify the value or length of a contract Bissonnette is seeking, but over five-plus NHL seasons the 29-year-old’s largest salary cap hit was $737,500. After their sizable free agency haul, the Capitals have just $1.1 million left in cap room and signing Bissonnette would inch them even closer to the ceiling.
“Right now he’s just looking for a good organization where he can contribute more than he’s been able to, to date, in the last couple years in Phoenix,” Guy said earlier this month. “He wants to be in a position where he can compete for a solid fourth-line position and be a great team guy. He wants to be in an organization where there’s a chance to win, as most guys do, and looking forward to showing how hard he’s worked to improve his skill level and skating over the last couple years.”
Bissonnette would arrive into a crowded wing situation, with nine listed on Washington’s active roster, though Bissonnette’s NHL profile has been well-defined. Though his fighting rate lessened last season — a career-low three with the Arizona Coyotes — he has still registered roughly one penalty minute for every three minutes on ice since cracking into the league with Pittsburgh in 2008-09. Adding Bissonnette would also alleviate the enforcing burden from Tom Wilson, who fought 14 times last season in limited ice time as a 19-year-old. Wilson, currently recovering from surgery on a fractured fibula, is also represented by Newport Sports Management, the same agency for which Guy works.
Last Friday, Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan reported, through an “NHL source” that the Capitals, Wild and Penguins were all “in the running” to sign Bissonnette. “Caps are thought to be leading,” Morgan added.
For now, here’s Bissonnette getting glacier water dumped onto his head from a hovering helicopter: