Laich scored 16 goals and added 32 assists in 82 games for the Caps last season. Since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators in 2004 along with a draft pick and future considerations in exchange for Peter Bondra, Laich has 100 goals and 137 assists in 475 regular season games. Laich has played in all 82 games for the Caps in three of the last four seasons.
Laich's future with the Caps seemed murky at best. A relatively weak free agent propelled Laich to the top of the class along with the Dallas Stars' Brad Richards and he had been mum in recent weeks. Yet, Laich never intended to test the market:
"It wasn't very stressful at all," says Laich of the negotiating process. "Washington was easily my first choice. I gave my agent instructions that I fully intended to return to Washington and that was my only choice. I wasn't looking to test the market."
Laich's return now gives the Caps eight remaining "regulars" to negotiate with. Monday, the Caps extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Karl Alzner, Semyon Varlamov and newly-acquired Troy Brouwer.