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Capitals sign Neuvirth to two-year extension

by Ben Raby

ARLINGTON Va. -- The Washington Capitals announced Saturday they have signed goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $5 million contract extension.

Neuvirth will earn $2.4 million in 2013-14 and $2.6 million in 2014-15.

"We have been talking for some time and I was really happy to get the deal done," Neuvirth said as the Capitals prepared for their regular-season finale Saturday against the Boston Bruins.

"The Capitals are the top-class organization and a very good team and we have a great team, a chance to win a Cup every year and I'm extremely happy to extend my contract here."

Michal Neuvirth
Michal Neuvirth
Goalie - WSH
RECORD: 4-5-2
GAA: 2.74 | SVP: 0.910
Neuvirth is 4-5-2 with a 2.74 goals-against-average and .910 save percentage in 13 games this season. The Capitals' second-round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft emerged as Washington's No. 1 goalie during his rookie season in 2010-11, appearing in a career-high 48 games and posting a 27-12-4 record.

Neuvirth has since battled injuries and was passed on the depth chart last spring when Braden Holtby took over the starter's job just before the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Neuvirth has served as Holtby's backup this season and started  five of Washington's last 36 games.

"I don't feel as a backup," he said. "I feel I'm better than that, and that's why they offer me more money than the backups in the League."

Holtby is signed through 2014-15 and will earn $1.7 million next season and $2 million the following year. The Capitals are the rare team that will pay its backup more than its starter -- a fact that likely has more to do with the experience of each than anything else. Neuvirth's extension represents his third NHL contract; Holtby will be working on his second.

"I knew it was going to happen sooner or later so it's great to have him back," Holtby said. "We've been together for a long time and hopefully a long time in the future as well.

"I've always admired Michal's play. I got to play behind him a lot in Hershey [of the American Hockey League] and I've watched his game a ton. He does some things that are better than anyone else in the world. It's great to have him here. He's a great attribute to our team and it's great to have him here for as long as we can."

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