Capitals Retain 11 Free Agents, Cut 4 Players

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Washington Capitals have extended qualifying offers to 11 players, thus retaining their rights for next season, and are in negotiations with team captain Jeff Halpern and backup goaltender Brent Johnson . The club also cut ties with four players.

The restricted free agents who received tenders (a one-year contract that, in most cases, includes a 5 to 10 percent raise over their 2005-06 salary) are forwards Kris Beech , Matt Bradley , Ben Clymer , Rico Fata , Boyd Gordon , Brooks Laich , Matt Pettinger and Brian Sutherby , as well as defensemen Shaone Morrisonn , Steve Eminger and Jakub Cutta .

The Capitals cut prospects Jared Aulin and Owen Fussey and veterans Mathieu Biron and Brian Willsie . The team wants to bring back Willsie, and it has made contract offers to the checking-line winger, but did not extend a qualifying offer because it would have made him eligible for arbitration.

Washington is in contract talks with Halpern and Johnson, both of whom are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on Saturday. Defenseman Ivan Majesky , also an unrestricted free agent, will not be brought back next season.

The Capitals' summer development camp will be held July 9-14 at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., home of the American Hockey League champion Bears, Washington's top minor league affiliate. Former first-round draft picks Jeff Schultz and Sasha Pokulok and local prospects Stephen Werner and Luke Lynes are among the players expected to attend.

-- Tarik El-Bashir

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