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T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk have different free-agent plans

Forward says he'd like to stay with Capitals; defenseman will explore other teams

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Forward T.J. Oshie, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, said Friday his preference is to stay with the Washington Capitals. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said he'll explore the market.

"Right now, I'm a Capital, and I feel like that's where I'll be," Oshie said. "If something changes, it changes."

The 30-year-old right wing was speaking before his exit meetings with Capitals coaches and general manager Brian MacLellan.


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Shattenkirk, also speaking two days after Washington's season ended with a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round, said he plans to become a free agent.

"I think I do have to weigh out a lot of my options, I have to talk to some teams and see who else is interested," the 28-year-old said.

Oshie, who was acquired by the Capitals in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on July 2, 2015, scored 33 goals this season, seven more than his NHL career high of last season. He had 56 points in 68 regular-season games this season after getting 51 points in 80 games last season.

"This group of guys, [the] organization, coaches, it's been a great fit for me," Oshie said. "It's been a great fit for my family. So, I'd like to come back, yeah."

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Oshie finishes tic-tac-toe PPG

Defenseman Karl Alzner, and forwards Justin Williams and Daniel Winnik also can become unrestricted free agents. NHL salary-cap space likely will be tight for Washington with potential restricted free agents Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt also likely to get significant raises.

Oshie said his agent, Matt Oates, spoke briefly with MacLellan during the regular season to gauge his interest in returning, but there's been no talks beyond that. MacLellan, who did not speak to the media Friday, said in late February that he'd like to re-sign Oshie.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz echoed that sentiment Friday.

"He's what you look for in a Washington Capital," Trotz said. "You talk about someone who's passionate, T.J.'s passionate. Someone who plays with joy, he plays with joy. Someone who's got creativity in his game, T.J has that. Someone who's got a lot of competitive spirit in his game, T.J. has that. Can he play and be a productive player for us? T.J. can do that. 

"All those things he's saying is all the things that we're saying. I think [MacLellan] and him will probably discuss that and hopefully we get something done."

If Oshie reaches July 1 without a contract, he will be among the most highly sought forwards available. Shattenkirk, who was acquired by the Capitals in a trade with the Blues on Feb. 27, will be among the most popular defensemen. He had 56 points (13 goals, 43 assists) in 80 regular-season games but struggled during the playoffs, when he had six points (one goal, five assists) and was minus-4 in 13 games. 

Shattenkirk did not rule out returning to the Capitals.

"I'd like to see what [MacLellan] has in his mind, and if it fits with what I have and how I view myself as a player and the role I want to assume," he said. "I said it when I left St. Louis, that I have plans to hopefully assume a bigger role somewhere, and if it winds up working out here and we're on the same page, this is a great city for me and I feel like I really enjoyed my time here, enjoyed the group of guys."

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Shattenkirk nets PPG for OT win

Alzner has played nine seasons with the Capitals after being selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. He's getting used to the idea of exploring unrestricted free agency.

"I'm curious how it's all going to happen, but I don't like the feeling of not having [a contract]," the 28-year-old said. "It's strange. I'm sure there'll be a lot of people that are going to try and help me walk through it, and I've got a lot of guys here to talk to about it. We'll see how it all goes down. It's my first real taste of what the NHL is like, so we'll how it happens."

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