Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nylander Rumors Resurface

The constant presence of the Capitals' offseason is the white elephant that is Michael Nylander's $5.5-million contract, which despite months of rumors that it would be paid in rubles next season, is still Washington's property at the moment.

According to Capitals Insider, another rumor has surfaced about interest in Nylander from a KHL squad, a report that his agent denies is true.

"For a year I've been hearing the [rumors]," Bill Zito told me earlier today. "Michael called me a couple times and asked, 'Have you talked to these guys?' In the past it's been Yaroslavl, then it was Moscow, then it was St. Pete. We haven't spoken to them, and anyway, he has a contract with Washington."

Despite falling out of Bruce Boudreau's favor during the playoffs where he spent more time in the press box than on the ice, it's clear Nylander wants to return to the NHL and will use his right to veto a deal to another club - in North America or otherwise.

Despite George McPhee's public support of his signing, the Capitals certainly could use the money in cap room to upgrade the team's roster, but is hamstrung for this season to do anything without Nylander's approval. Compounding the problem is that no other NHL team would take on his contract, especially since the player that Nylander meshed best with - Jaromir Jagr - is now plying his trade in Russia.

So, as much as fans would like to see Nylander's deal wiped off the books, the odds that the team won't have to find a role for No. 92 besides munching on press box popcorn appear very slim, leaving the team with some decisions to make before the puck drops on Oct. 1.

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