It appears George McPhee will hold onto all his young talent.
On Monday, the Washington GM said he would match any offer sheet made to his restricted free agents — forward Marcus Johansson and defenseman Karl Alzner — and said he had “no interest” in trading goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Johansson, 22, had a solid 2013 campaign in which he often played on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, scoring 6G-16A-22PTS in 34 games. He’s in the final season of a three-year, $2.7 million deal.
Alzner, 24, set a career-high for average time on ice per game (20:57), upping it to 22:18 in the playoffs. The former No. 5 overall pick finished second on the team in blocked shots last year (85), fourth among all defensemen in hits (45) and is in the final year of a two-year, $2.57 million deal.
Finally, there’s Neuvirth.
He spent 2013 in the same position he spent the 2011-12 playoffs — in a backup role behind Braden Holtby.
Neuvirth, 25, only played in 13 games to Holtby’s 36, and didn’t get a sniff in the postseason as Holtby was the goalie of record in all of Washington’s seven opening-round games against the Rangers.
What’s confusing is that, in April, Neuvirth signed a two-year, $5 million extension with the Caps — making him the higher paid goalie.
Holtby signed a modest two-year, $3.7 million extension back in February.
For McPhee, there’s no confusion. He feels those deals give Washington what he wants — solid goaltending depth.
“We’re not interested in trading [Neuvirth], McPhee explained. “Why not have as many good [goalies] as we can?”
Update: McPhee also announced that video coach Blaine Forsythe had been promoted to assistant coach, replacing Tim Hunter.