While Alex Ovechkin has verbally committed to playing in Russia, Washington teammate Michal Neuvirth is the first Capital to sign with a European team.
The 24-year-old goalie has signed a one-year deal with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, according to CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley. The move is a reunion of sorts for Neuvirth, who played for Praha’s U-18 and U-20 teams before joining OHL Plymouth in 2006-07.
It’s not surprising Neuvirth signed overseas so quickly, as his career is at something of a crossroads — he lost the Caps’ starting gig to Braden Holtby and is in the final year of his two-year, $2.3 million deal.
Getting back on the ice and playing as much as possible is key, especially since he only appeared in 38 games a year ago, down from his career-high 48 in 2010-11.
The move to Praha also means avoiding any further discussion of his “Holtby’s the weakest competition I’ve ever had” comments from late August. Which is probably a good thing.