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Capitals not expected to re-sign remaining UFAs

Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk, Justin Williams exploring other options

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

With the Washington Capitals focusing their resources on other needs, defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner and right wing Justin Williams are preparing to move on when they become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Alzner's agent, J.P. Barry, said Wednesday that general manager Brian MacLellan informed him before the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas in Chicago on Friday and Saturday that the Capitals didn't have the salary cap space to re-sign Alzner.

"He said they had to allocate their money in a different direction toward some other contracts and that they couldn't keep everyone," Barry said.

After the Capitals re-signed potential unrestricted free agent right wing T.J. Oshie to an eight-year, $46 million contract on Friday, MacLellan said, "I would imagine we're done," as far as re-signing the team's potential UFAs. That group includes Alzner, Shattenkirk, Williams and right wing Daniel Winnik.

According to CapFriendly.com, the Capitals have $17,556,560 in remaining salary cap space with potential restricted free agents Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov and Phillip Grubauer yet to be re-signed and expected to receive significant raises. While at the Quicken Loans Pro-Am golf tournament at TPC Potomac in Potomac, Maryland, on Wednesday, Alzner told CSN Mid-Atlantic he was told, "it was pretty much 100 percent that I wasn't coming back."

Alzner, who will turn 29 on Sept. 24, has spent his entire career with Washington, which selected him with the No. 5 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft, and has played in a Capitals record 540 consecutive regular-season games dating to the start of the 2010-11 season.

Video: OTT@WSH: Alzner blasts one-timer over Condon's glove

He has 117 points (19 goals, 98 assists) and a plus-61 rating in 591 regular-season games and three goals and eight assists in 64 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Barry said "upwards or close to 10 teams" have contacted him about Alzner since the unrestricted free agent interview period opened on Sunday. Alzner spent Tuesday visiting with one of the teams.

TSN reported the Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens are among those interested. Alzner also reportedly spoke with the Vegas Golden Knights during the three-day period before the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft on June 21. Golden Knights GM George McPhee was the Capitals GM when they drafted Alzner.

"We're just trying to sift through each [team] on the opportunity and he's talking to them about where he fits on their team," Barry said.

Shattenkirk, who was acquired by the Capitals as a rental player from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 27, has been going through a similar process. The 28-year-old had a career-high 56 points (13 goals, 43 assists) in 80 regular-season games with the Capitals and Blues this season.

He struggled in the playoffs (one goal, five assists, minus-4 rating in 13 games), but his value remains high as a right-handed, puck-moving defenseman who can play the power-play point. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres and Golden Knights are among the teams who have reportedly expressed interest.

Shattenkirk's agent, Jordan Nuemann, declined to discuss specific teams, but said Shattenkirk is looking for a team where he thinks he'd fit well and "has a great chance to win."

"We met prior to this window opening and set an outline of what we think is a really good game plan and we're just methodically going through the process and making sure that we're contacting all the teams that are on his list," Neumann said. "I would just say we're listening to everybody at this point."

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

As for the Capitals, Neumann said, "The only thing I will say is I have not spoken to Brian MacLellan."

Williams' agent, Thane Campbell, wouldn't say if he's had any recent conversations with the Capitals.

"I've talked to them once," Campbell said. "They've been nothing but class in how they've dealt with Justin and myself and he had two good years there. I guess until Justin signs somewhere else they're still Justin's team."

Williams, who played in the Quicken Loans Pro-Am, told CSN Mid-Atlantic he was unsure of his chances of staying with the Capitals.

"We haven't had very in-depth discussions with Washington so far, so we'll see," Williams said.

Williams, who will turn 36 on Oct. 4, tied for third on the Capitals with 24 goals and also had 24 assists in 80 games this season. Over his two seasons with the Capitals after signing as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2015, Williams had 100 points (46 goals, 54 assists).

Williams won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014, when he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy. His playoff experience would make him an asset for any contending team.

"We've had a significant amount of interest and we're trying to narrow it down as far as the teams that Justin is interested in," Campbell said. "Justin's focus is on finding the right fit for him and a team that has a chance to win a Cup in his mind. So that's sort of what we're doing right now."

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