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Holtby says he wants to re-sign with Capitals: report

Goalie can become unrestricted free agent after this season

by NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Braden Holtby can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, but the Washington Capitals goalie said he has no desire to play anywhere else.

"This is all I know here," Holtby told NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday. "I'd love [to re-sign]. I think that's pretty clear. But you don't worry about that stuff. I'm lucky enough to be here for at least right now so happy for that."

Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told NHL.com last week he will begin preliminary talks on a contract extension with Holtby and center Nicklas Backstrom, who can also become an unrestricted free agent after this season, after he returns to Washington from his summer home in Minnesota next week. 

 "I've checked in with both," MacLellan said. "It might happen the beginning of September, depending on the timing of me getting back. But it will happen right away (after he returns). We've got to talk and give both players what we're thinking, get their feelings on the situation and play it out from there."

Backstrom, like Holtby, said wants to stay with the Capitals. 

"Washington is all I know, and it's been great all these years, so I would love to stick around for a couple more years," Backstrom said last week. "I'm hopeful about it, but we'll see. It's out of my hands, so when the time comes, we'll sit down and talk."

Video: Braden Holtby takes the No. 7 spot on the list

Holtby, who turns 30 on Sept. 16, is entering his 10th season with the Capitals after they selected him in the fourth round (No. 93) of the 2008 NHL Draft. He has won at least 30 games in each of the past five seasons and was 32-19-5 with a 2.82 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and three shutouts last season.

Holtby said he took notice when 30-year-old goalie Sergei Bobrovsky signed a seven-year, $70 million contract with the Florida Panthers on July 1. But he said he also noticed how talk and stories about Bobrovsky's pending free agency hung over the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. 

"I'd like to handle it a little different throughout the year to try and just focus on our team and not let it be a media thing," Holtby said. "These things are a part of every year, different player or whatever, but the No. 1 thing is to not let it be a distraction and go out and win games."

Holtby's 197 wins over the past five seasons are the most in the NHL, but Ilya Samsonov, a first-round pick (No. 22) in the 2015 NHL Draft, is the Capitals' potential goalie of the future, as is goalie prospect Vitek Vanecek, a second-round pick (No. 39) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

MacLellan told NHL.com that the development of Samsonov and Vanecek could impact how the Capitals approach Holtby's contract.

"Obviously contract demands and what we feel [NHL salary cap-wise] we can handle in that position (are factors)," MacLellan said. "And Samsonov has to continue to develop and become the goalie we think he could be."

Holtby said he's not worried about his contract, instead focusing on getting the 2018 Stanley Cup champs back on top. 

"It's just one of those things, you let the business side of it take care of it and you focus on your job," he said. "I'm lucky enough to be under contract for another year to play hockey here, so it's pretty fortunate and I'm really looking forward to the opportunity with a great team coming back."

Tweet from @NBCSCapitals: As Braden Holtby enters a contract year, he is determined not to be a distraction.READ: https://t.co/0lLYC122z1 pic.twitter.com/4fYo6tA7Le

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