In the end, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said he didn’t want to sign Derek Roy to a free-agent contract and three weeks from now see him sitting in the press box as a healthy scratch.
“I thought he had a good camp,” MacLellan said of the 32-year-old center. “I had a lot of discussion with our coaching staff with what role he would have if we decided to sign him to a contract and in the end we decided flexibility in our bottom six is going to be important for us moving forward and we couldn’t really find an established role for him.”
By having Stanislav Galiev on their opening roster the Capitals have the flexibility of assigning him to the Hershey Bears once center Nicklas Backstrom returns from offseason hip surgery, which could be sooner than originally expected.
“It looks like he’s progressing very well and it might not be 10 games,” MacLellan said. “It might be four or five games. That played into it, too.”
MacLellan said his coaching staff could not decide whether Roy would fill a role as a fourth-line center, a wing or a 13th forward.
“There was no definite answer on everybody’s part, so we made a decision to move away from him.”
The Caps currently roughly $600,000 under the NHL salary and theoretically would have roughly $1.1 million of cap space if Galiev is sent to Hershey following Backstrom’s return.
“We have some flexibility,” MacLellan said. “We’ll see what we have and we can address a more certain need in the future.”
As for Brooks Laich and his $4.5 million salary this season and next, MacLellan said he’s hoping to get the most out of the 32-year-old forward.
“Every team has similar situations, where you want more out of a plyer,” MacLellan said. “I think the only thing we can do is keep working on it and if it’s not working we’ll find a solution.”
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