A little more than nine months ago, Mattias Sjogrens days in the Capitals organization seemed numbered.
Signed to a two-year, 1.8 million free-agent contract last summer, Sjogren walked out on the Hershey Bears after 19 games, prompting Caps general manager George McPhee to say, If youre going to quit on us you might as well go.
Sjogren, 24, spent the remainder of last season playing for Farjestands of the Swedish Elite League, netting three goals and six assists in 28 games, before returning to Washington as a depth player during the playoffs.
After the playoffs, Sjogren and McPhee sat down to discuss his decision to leave the Bears and return to Sweden.
We had a good talk, Sjogren said. I told him I was going to come over and do everything to play here again. Im ready to play North American hockey.
Ironically, if there is an NHL lockout, Sjogren likely would begin this season where he began last in Hershey, making 67,500 a season. If he played for the Caps hed earn 900,000.
I dont want to go anywhere else, so Ill probably stay here and play in the AHL, Sjogren said of a potential work stoppage. You have to play somewhere. I think the AHL is going to be a good league during the lockout, so I think its the best option for me right now.
As for his decision to leave the Bears, Sjogren said hes ready to leave that behind him.
Its behind me, he said. I made my choice and I stuck to it. Whos to say it was the best choice for me? But I made a choice and thats the way it is.