In what could be considered a surprising move, the Capitals announced that they re-signed backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $5 million contract Saturday.
Under the terms of the deal as announced by the club, Neuvirth, 25, will earn $2.4 million in 2013-14 and $2.6 million in 2014-15.
"We've been talking for some time and I'm happy to get the deal done," said Neuvirth, who will not start in Washington's regular-season finale against Boston Saturday evening at Verizon Center. "The Capitals are a top-class organization and a very good team. We've got a great team and a chance to win a Cup every year. I'm extremely happy to extend my contract here.
"I feel like it's a fair offer on both sides. I don't feel as a backup. I feel I'm better than that and that's why they offered me more money than the backups in the league."
Neuvirth, who made just his fifth start in Washington's last 36 games during Thursday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Senators, is 4-5-2 with a 2.74 GAA and .910 SV% in 13 appearances this season.
Since starting 48 games and all nine playoff games for Washington in 2010-11, he has been a victim of circumstance, having to contend with both injuries and competition from the likes of Tomas Vokoun and Braden Holtby. Neuvirth and Holtby, however, have been a tandem dating back to 2009-10, when both were a part of AHL Hershey's Calder Cup championship team, and the two push each other to excel.
"I've always admired Michal's play," Holtby said. "I got to play behind him a lot in Hershey and I've watched his game a ton. He does some things that are better than anyone else in the world, so it's great to have him here. He's a big attribute to our team and it's good to have him here for as long as we can."
With Neuvirth's signing, the Capitals now have 20 players under contract for 2013-14 and about $4.8 million to work with. With little room to maneuver under the salary cap ceiling of $64.3 million, Washington will have to make some tough decisions regarding the futures of unrestricted free agents Mike Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks as well as restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson.
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