Milan Jurcina is officially back as a member of the Washington Capitals after he was awarded a one-year deal through arbitration late Thursday.
The 26-year-old defenseman was given a salary of $1.375 million for the upcoming 2009-10 season. According to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, he had been seeking $1.55 million while the team countered with an offer of $1.05 million.
His agent Allan Walsh released this statement from Jurcina through his twitter account Thursday night. "Milan is very pleased with the result and looks forward to contributing to the club's success next season."
"It's a great result for Milan and the process was handled well by both parties."
At 6-foot 4-inches and 233 pounds, "Juice" as he is nicknamed, has the physical tools to be a force on the blueline. Combine those skills with his laser of a shot, and there's a lot to like about his potential to put it all together and become an impact player in Washington.
But he'll have a lot of competition this fall as the Capitals currently have eight NHL defenseman on their roster. Mike Green, Shaone Morrisonn, Tom Poti, Brian Pothier, John Erskine, Jeff Schultz, and Karl Alzner will all return in the fall to battle it out for a spot on the team's top six.
The team is also high on John Carlson, their 2008 first round draft pick, with many experts thinking that he could contribute as early as this coming season. Plus, Tyler Sloan and Sean Collins both re-signed with the club in the offseason after seeing their first taste of NHL action last year.
Jurcina made $912,500 last season when he totaled three goals and 14 points in 79 games. He also added two goals in 14 playoff games during the Capitals post-season run.
The Slovakian native is almost certain to be among the team's top six defenseman when the team opens up the season on the road in Boston on the first of October. But with a lot of depth on the blueline this season, the Capitals will have options should he or any other defenseman struggle.
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