What should Caps do with Grabovski, Erat?

What should Caps do with Grabovski, Erat?
February 26, 2014, 3:45 pm
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Backstrom adjusts after Olympic disappointment

Veteran center Mikhail Grabovski is working for the Capitals under a one-year, $3 million contract with a no-movement clause. He is due to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

So the question facing the Capitals is this: If they cannot re-sign Grabovski before the NHL’s March 5 trade deadline, do they ask him to waive his no-movement clause and trade him?

Or, do they continue talks for a contract extension and run the risk of losing him to free agency on July 1?

“I don’t think much about that stuff because I don’t want it to hurt my game,” said Grabovski, who is expected to return to the Caps’ lineup Thursday after missing the previous eight games with an ankle injury. “I don’t want to look at the numbers and years. I’ll let my agent do that stuff. I just want to play hockey and win the Stanley Cup.”

Grabovski’s agent, Gary Greenstin, began contract talks with the Capitals in January but did not return a message left for him on Wednesday.

In 49 games with the Capitals this season, Grabovski, 30, has 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points. He’s also a team-best plus-4.

If you recall, the Capitals were in a very similar situation last season with second-line center Mike Ribeiro, who turned down a contract offer by the Capitals and signed with the Phoenix Coyotes as a free agent.

[RELATED: All things considered, Backstrom deserved better]

Grabovski, who spent the first part of the Olympic break in Denver with his wife and two children, said he likes Washington and is focused on getting the Capitals into the playoffs.

“I really like this team because they’re all positive,” he said. “Everybody is not stressed out about making the playoffs. I think if we do the right things and play harder we’ll be fine.”

Meanwhile, Capitals left wing Marty Erat said nothing has changed with the trade request he made back in November. Last week, Capitals general manager George McPhee said he would try to accommodate Erat with a trade if that’s still what he wanted.

Erat, whose family remains in Nashville following the birth of his daughter, still has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $4.5 million per season.