Free agent forward Joel Ward signed a three-year contract with the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
"Originally when the season ended, my first thought was to maybe head back [to the Washington Capitals]," Ward said, "and just kind of more and more into the summer and free agency period, it just seemed unlikely.
"So I knew that was a possibility, and when I got a chance to talk to [Sharks coach Peter [DeBoer], that really helped me sway of being in a good situation."
The Capitals signed forward Justin Williams on Wednesday and traded for forward T.J. Oshie on Thursday, making Ward expendable.
His contract is worth $9.75 million, an average annual value of $3.25 million, according to Sportsnet.
"It was a group that wanted me and it's always good to feel loved," Ward said. "I embraced it, I loved it, and I thought it was a great opportunity."