As the Capitals added one free agent after another this offseason and inched over the salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million for the 2011-12 season, General Manager George McPhee has remained confident that the team won’t have problems complying with the limit.
Part of Washington’s flexibility comes from the team’s expectation that veteran defenseman Tom Poti, 34, won’t be ready for the start of the season. McPhee has stated numerous times that Poti, who was limited to 21 games in 2010-11 because of a lingering groin injury, may be fighting for his career and could start the season on the long-term injury list. If that’s the case, it would free up Poti’s $2.875 million hit and make it easier for Washington to comply with the salary cap.
While the Capitals are preparing for Poti to be unavailable, Paul Krepelka, the defenseman’s agent, said Poti is still hoping to be ready for training camp in September.
“He is working with his trainers throughout the summer with the intention that he will be ready to fully participate once training camp begins,” Krepelka said in an email. Krepelka declined to comment further on Poti’s health or future plans.
Poti has two years remaining on his contract, which he signed early last fall, with an annual salary cap hit of $2.875 million.
--In other news, former first-round draft pick Anton Gustafsson cleared unconditional waivers Thursday and his contract has been terminated by the Capitals. Gustafsson intends to play in Switzerland, according to agent J.P. Barry.