In a brief press conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Tuesday, Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee was pleased to have Brooks Laich, who signed a six-year contract extension Tuesday, back in the fold.
"We certainly always wanted him back," McPhee said. "We had a great conversation at the end of the season. Obviously, he told us that he wanted to come back, but you never know in negotiation how it's going to go. Once we got our head around the term and the salary and everything else and got to that sweet spot, it was done. You realize that this a guy that we'd like to have and this is the right number, let's do it."
McPhee mentioned that he sees Laich playing more at the center position next season than in years past and wants to use his versatility to the Caps' advantage. But McPhee shot down any notion that a possible move for Laich to center meant that unrestricted free agent center Jason Arnott would not return.
Speaking of free agents, McPhee was also mum on the status of negotiations between the team and restricted free agents Karl Alzner, Semyon Varlamov and newly-acquired Troy Brouwer.
"We've negotiated and I don't know anymore than you do at this point whether it will happen or not," McPhee said in regards to re-signing Varlamov. "We certainly like the goalies we have, but who gets No. 1 is up to them. We don't make that decision, they do by the way they play. The opportunities are there. It's either the three that we have or the two that we have."
What McPhee did provide updates on were the respective injury statuses of Eric Fehr, Tom Poti and Dennis Wideman. McPhee said that Fehr will be ready for training camp after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. McPhee saw Wideman last week and that he has "100 percent" flexibility now, but continues to rehab from a leg hematoma suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes in March that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, McPhee said that he hasn't heard anything from Poti, who suffered from a groin injury and missed most of last season, but still believes that he is fighting for his career.