As NHL free agency looms July 1, several members of the Washington Capitals are about to become either restricted or unrestricted free agents. Perhaps the most interesting case - the one involving RFA Semyon Varlamov - might have become even more interesting based on a recent Russian report.
Via Sport-Express' Slava Malamud, Varlamov confirmed that the Caps made him an offer months ago, but it was not to his liking, so negotiations are ongoing. This is where things get more complicated:
- Varlamov also confirmed that the KHL has shown interest in him and his KHL rights are owned by Lokomotiv. Yet, Lokomotiv does not have the financial stability to make an offer.
- Another KHL team (which Malamud hints at being SKA St. Petersburg) has apparently offered to buy Varlamov's rights from Lokomotiv, which will complete the deal if Varlamov wants them to.
- Despite all of this, Varlamov told Malamud that he would prefer to stay in Washington and would take less money if that meant staying put. He was reportedly inspired by Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who went from winning the Vezina Trophy in 2009 and losing his starting position the following season to winning both the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy last week. Varlamov is confident that he can reclaim his starting spot from Michal Neuvirth.
The day after the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Caps out of the playoffs, George McPhee told the media that if Varlamov wanted to go to the KHL, "let him go." Injuries plagued Varlamov yet again this season and Neuvirth and Braden Holtby shined in his absence. Perhaps this "glove triangle" will be resolved sooner rather than later.