September 1, 2018 at 10:51 AM
The Washington Capitals have signed Russian winger Sergei Shumakov to a two-way, one-year contract that carries a $925,000 cap hit, the team announced Saturday.
The 25-year-old Shumakov scored 17 goals with 23 assists in 47 games for CSKA Moscow of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League last season, and he was holding out from the club’s training camp to force the termination of his contract. He became a free agent on Monday and agreed to terms with Washington shortly after.
It’s unclear where Shumakov, a skilled right-handed left wing, fits in the Capitals’ plans for this season, especially because the defending Stanley Cup champions are returning 11 of the 12 forwards who played most of the postseason for them. The only training camp competition appears to be at fourth-line center, and a two-way contract — meaning Shumakov gets paid less if he’s in the American Hockey League — could indicate that the team projects him in the minors next season.
The Capitals have roughly $1.75 million in salary cap space for a projected 22-man roster, according to CapFriendly.com, so the team could comfortably afford to incorporate Shumakov if he impresses in training camp later this month. Some forwards have thrived in the transition from the KHL to the NHL, such as Columbus’s Artemi Panarin, who tallied 82 points last season, but others have struggled with the smaller North American ice surface and a more physical game. With an affordable cap hit, Shumakov is a low-risk signing for Washington, but there’s potential for significant reward if his KHL production translates.
Shumakov will be a restricted free agent when this one-year deal expires, and he won’t have to pass through waivers to be sent down to the AHL this season.
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