The last week has brought little in the way of hard news, but plenty of rumors, agent talk and innuendo surrounds the Washington Capitals as the Free Agent period is set to start tomorrow. Let's take a look at what we've heard over the last few days.
--First off, we know Brooks Laich will be back. He re-signed Tuesday before testing the open waters. Laich's new contract immediately sparked debate about how it would affect the construction of the rest of the roster, and the team's ability to chase after free agents, both their own and any available on the market
--Wednesday we spent all day reading about how oft-injured goalie Semyon Varlamov was eschewing the NHL to go home to his motherland and play for rubles in the KHL. Of course, his agent and his father spent much of the interview trashing the NHL, the Caps, and American doctors. Oh, and by the way, there is no hard evidence of a contract yet. Just sayin'.
--Thursday brought us some actual news and some quality independent reporting. After hearing that he cleared waivers, the Caps bought out the final year of D Tyler Sloan's contract, thus reducing his cap hit to a mere $233,333, according to reports. Sloan will be an unrestricted free agent Friday at noon.
--A little later on Thursday, our friends and fellow independent media folks at Russian Machine broke a story quoting Matt Bradley's agent saying that "there's been no [contract] offer and we're not expecting one." This comes as bad news for the #needmoreBradley crowd, but with the 33-year old winger's drop in production last season and Matt Hendricks new contract to fill essentially the same role for less, the writing was on the wall for the fan favorite.
--And in other RFA news, Karl Alzner's agent says the sides have "a gap to work on." I think Caps fans have very little worry that Alzner won't be rockin' the red next season, but his contract certainly will impact the cap space and ability to chase free agents.
--Oh, and in news pertaining to former-Caps, Jaromir Jagr is still missing (link includes gratuitous full-mullet shot).
All in all, a busy week for hockey in the middle of the summer. When the free agent signing period opens Friday, that's when the real fun begins.