Defenseman requests a fresh start elsewhere
Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz has requested a trade, according to his agent, Jarrett Bousquet.
Frustrated by a lack of playing time for the second year in a row and limited communication from two separate Washington coaching staffs -- former coach Dale Hunter and current coach Adam Oates -- Schultz wants a fresh start elsewhere.
The trade request was initially made in mid-March, according to Bousquet. Schultz was hoping to be moved by the April 3 trade deadline, but that didn't happen.
"Jeff would love to be there. He loves his teammates and the Capitals have been good to him over the years when they drafted him," Bousquet said. "It's just that now it's to the point where playing in the National Hockey League takes precedence over not playing for [the Caps]. We feel for Jeff, if he's not going to be utilized in Washington, that there are other teams that can utilize his talents elsewhere."
Schultz, 27, was drafted by Washington in 2004 and has spent his entire career with the organization. But he hasn't figured much in the team's plans the past two seasons. Schultz was routinely a healthy scratch during this past lockout-shortened season. He appeared in just 26 of 48 games and none after March 31 or during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The year before, Schultz appeared in 54 games out of 82 -- though he did play in 10 of the Caps' 14 playoff games in 2011-12.
"I think Jeff's always made it known if he's gonna be healthy scratched that he would like to play in the league," Bousquet said. "He does have a good relationship with [McPhee] and has spoken with him, and George has told him he wants to do what's best for him. But saying and doing are two different things."
Schultz counts $2.75 million against the salary cap for next year, a lot for a player who is a consistent healthy scratch. It doesn't help that the NHL salary cap is dropping to $64.3 million next season. Washington also has two pending unrestricted free agents in forwards Mike Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks and two restricted free agents due raises.