Caps prepare to buy out Schultz

Caps prepare to buy out Schultz
July 2, 2013, 3:15 pm
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In what seems like a sensible move for both parties, the Capitals have ended their ties with defenseman Jeff Schultz by placing him on unconditional waivers with the intent of making him a compliance buyout.

Schultz was placed on waivers at noon today and if no NHL team claims him at a fee of $100 by noon on Wednesday the Caps are expected to use one of their two compliance buyouts on him, removing his $2.75 million cap hit.

As part of the rules governing compliance buyouts, the Caps would be forced to pay Schultz $1 million in each of the next two seasons to erase his $2.75 million cap hit.

Schultz, 27, played in just 26 games for the Caps last season, registering no goals and three assists and a minus-6 rating. His agent, Jarrett Bousquet confirmed Schultz asked for a trade in March.

“It wasn’t that Jeff didn’t want to play,” Bousquet said. “He wanted to play and wasn’t playing. It’s time for him to move on and get a fresh start. He can play in the NHL and he definitely feels he can contribute.”

After leading the NHL in plus-minus [plus-50] and setting career highs in goals [3], assists [20] and points [23] in 2009-10, Schultz was rewarded with a four-year, $11 million contract. His playing time has significantly been reduced since then.

In 54 games under Dale Hunter and Bruce Boudreau two years ago he appeared in 54 games and recorded one goal, five assists and was a minus-2. He fell to eighth on the depth chart at the end of last season under Adam Oates.

“It was a fair contract,” Bousquet said. “The people they brought in [Hunter and Oates] didn’t really know Jeff or develop him and he didn’t get the opportunity to play and we look at this as a positive.”

Once Schultz is bought out, the Caps will have just over $9 million in cap space.

They will need every bit of that to re-sign restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson and attempt to fill the hole created by second-line center Mike Ribeiro, who is expected to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.

Capitals coach Adam Oates made a sales pitch to Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier at the NHL draft over the weekend. Lecavalier is being bought out of the final seven years of his contract with the Lightning, receiving $32.6 million over the next 14 years [$1.761 million per year].

There are reports that Lecavalier could fetch between $4.5 million and $5 million a season on a three-year contract. Along with the Caps, the Red Wings, Canadiens and Maple Leafs are also believed to be among the dozen teams interested in signing the 33-year-old veteran.