McPhee speaks as Caps face goalie dilemma
When Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz came to general manager George McPhee before the NHL trade deadline and asked to be moved, McPhee tried to accommodate him with a trade but couldn’t.
In all likelihood, McPhee will try again at this weekend’s NHL draft in Newark. But he’s not making any promises.
“We’ll try to accommodate him,” McPhee said Monday. “We’ve told our players over the years that if you don’t want to play here, we’ll move you. It’s that simple. This is a great place to play. Great place to live and work, great fan base. If you don’t want to play here that’s fine. We’ll move you on. We’ll accommodate.”
Schultz’s stock has fallen dramatically in the past two years. After leading the NHL with a plus-50 rating while playing alongside Mike Green in 2009-10, Schultz’ playing time dropped significantly, from 54 games last season to just 26 games this season under Adam Oates.
That’s why Schultz quietly went to McPhee to ask for a trade.
“I have no issues with that,” McPhee said. “I respect a player when he comes and sits down in the office and tells me face-to-face. I don’t want to hear from an agent. If you want to be traded, come tell us.
“I don’t like when a player says, ‘If I’m not playing here I’ll play someplace else.’ It’s not that easy. If you were playing better you would be playing here. It’s sort of a lack of loyalty in some respects, that if you’re not getting what you want here you can just pick up and leave.
“It’s not that easy. We’ve invested time and money to develop you. But when you get to a point where you’re not playing and it’s not a fit in your life we understand. Most of the time when players are asking for a trade they’re not playing much and that’s why it’s hard to trade them, because they’re not playing much.”
If he cannot trade Schultz McPhee might be forced to use one of his two compliance buyouts, eating two-thirds of Schultz’s $2.75 million contract for next season.
“It’s probably not something I would talk about,” McPhee said of the possibility of buying out the final year of Schultz’s contract. “I just don’t think it helps to discuss those types of things.”
McPhee said he planned on meeting with Capitals owner Ted Leonsis on Monday to discuss, among other things, compliance buyouts and whether he would use one or both of the two every NHL team is allotted.
“Ownership can view it different ways,” McPhee said. “Some owners don’t like it and some owners say, ‘Boy, this is exactly what’s needed. Let’s move this guy out and use that money to get somebody else.’
“People view it different ways. I wish we didn’t have [compliance buyouts]. I think in a lot of cases teams have done some real bad deals. They cheated a little bit and they shouldn’t be able to get out of them.
“But because we haven’t done a lot of bad deals here; we haven’t cheated on contracts; we haven’t had the backdiving deals; we just never did that. We didn’t think it was the right way to do business, but other teams did and they can get out of it. That’s life.”