Capitals assign Nylander to Grand Rapids, get salary-cap relief

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 14, 2009

The Washington Capitals have assigned center Michael Nylander to the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins on a standard loan, the Capitals announced Sunday night.

Under the arrangement, Nylander, who has not suited up for the Capitals since last season's playoffs, will come off Washington's 23-man roster and his $4.875 million cap hit no longer will count against the club's salary cap figure.

Even with Nylander off the roster, the team still would be responsible for paying his $5.5 million annual salary this season. But the move gives Washington the salary-cap flexibility it needs to make an addition at the NHL's trade deadline or call up touted prospect Karl Alzner.

Nylander cleared waivers for the second time this season on Thursday, which cleared the way for him to be loaned to the Griffins.

Nylander's patient style of play does not mesh with Coach Bruce Boudreau's system, and because of that, the Capitals had been attempting to trade or loan the 15-year NHL veteran since the start of last season. The team had been unable to trade Nylander to another NHL club, and numerous attempts to loan him to a team outside of the league had unraveled in recent months.

On Oct. 21, Nylander was assigned to Grand Rapids on a two-week conditioning stint. In five games with the Griffins -- the minor league affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings -- he amassed six points (a goal and five assists) and a plus-minus rating of plus-1. The Griffins went 5-0 during that stretch.

Soon after being recalled from the conditioning stint, Boudreau said Nylander would not be returning to the team and "we just felt Michael wasn't going to be a fit for our team."

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