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Pending UFA Riley Barber does not see himself re-signing with Washington

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Pending UFA Riley Barber does not see himself re-signing with Washington

HERSHEY, Pa. – As a pending unrestricted free agent, Hershey Bears forward and Capitals prospect Riley Barber will soon be in need of a new contract. That contract, however, will likely be with a new organization as Barber is prepared to move on from the Caps.

“I've been here for a long time and kind of know what Washington feels about me,” Barber told NBC Sports Washington, “So it'll be nice to see what other teams feel about me especially with the year I had and see how it shakes out in July.”

Barber, 25, is in the midst of the best professional season of his career. His 31 goals with Hershey are a career-high and led the team. He finished the season with 60 points, also a career-high, and has added another three goals and two assists in seven playoff games.

With the Caps being up against the salary cap this offseason, the team may lose some of its forward depth in the bottom six. Carl Hagelin, Brett Connolly, Andre Burakovsky and Devante Smith-Pelly are all free agents this summer and the team may lose any or all of them depending on how the offseason plays out. Washington is going to need cheap forward depth to fill out its lineup which could give a young, productive player like Barber a chance to compete for a spot.

Barber, however, when looking at his future sounds like a player who has already mentally moved on from the organization.

“I've spent a while here,” he said. “I know how [the Capitals organization feels] about me. Didn't get a lot of opportunity. I don't think I'd see myself coming back, but I never know.”

Barber was a sixth-round draft pick of the Caps in 2012. He made the jump to the pros in 2015, but has been called up sparingly and has only played in three NHL games.

As a UFA, Barber will be free to sign with any team on July 1. The Caps have the chance to negotiate with him prior to that, but otherwise they will have to get in line with the other 30 NHL organizations and bid for his services.

But, given his age, Barber is not interested in just signing on to stay in the AHL. He is ready to make a push for the NHL and is confident he can produce.

“I like where my game's at right now,” he said. “I just think that if I get the opportunity [at] the next level, I'll be able to produce.”

Should Barber move on, as it certainly sounds like he intends to do, that will be one less option for general manager Brian MacLellan to fill out his bottom-six for next season.

 

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Braden Holtby, Tom Wilson make strong statements in support of Black Lives Matter protesters

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Braden Holtby, Tom Wilson make strong statements in support of Black Lives Matter protesters

As protests have taken place in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to raise the issue of racial injustice in the U.S., Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and forward Tom Wilson have mulled how to use their platforms in order to help the cause.

On Wednesday, both veteran stars released statements voicing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been in the national spotlight since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in an arrest that was captured on video May 25.

Holtby, whose wife Brandi posted a message on Twitter from both of them Tuesday, encouraged protestors to continue spreading their message and ridiculed the country’s current climate for its “injustice and hatred infused power.”

Wilson vowed to donate to the East Of The River Mutual Aid Fund and the Fort Dupont Cannons, who are based in D.C. and known to be the oldest minority hockey program in the U.S. He closed out his statement by writing, “I am contributing to these funds today, but I am committing to learn, to listen and to support going forward.”

Holtby and Wilson were the latest Capitals to weigh in on the protests after defenseman John Carlson committed to being “a part of the solution” and forward Alex Ovechkin called for everyone to “respect and love each other no matter what we look like.”

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Former Capitals forward Brett Connolly offers options to take tangible action against racism

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Former Capitals forward Brett Connolly offers options to take tangible action against racism

The senseless murder of George Floyd has shed light on the racism that still exists within America. In the wake of his tragic death, there are many who want to take action but are not sure how. Brett Connolly is here to help.

The former Capitals forward tweeted out a heartfelt message on Tuesday in response to a Tweet from J.T. Brown.

Connolly then took the extra step of Tweeting out a number of ways to take tangible action against racism including organizations you can support and donate to, places you can contact and movies you can watch to learn more.

Connolly was largely a soft-spoken player in his three seasons in Washington, but he did decline an invite to the White House extended to the Capitals as Stanley Cup champions. Connolly would not go into detail on why.

Connolly left Washington as a free agent in the summer and is in his first season with the Florida Panthers.

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