Washington Capitals Re-Sign Five or Six?

Allen PopelsCorrespondent IJuly 15, 2009

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11:  Jeff Schultz #55 of the Washington Capitals looks on during the game against the New York Rangers on February 11, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals announced the re-signing of five players Wednesday, but the interesting development is in regards to defenseman Jeff Schultz.

According to TSN and sources close to the Washington Post's Tark El-Bashir, the 23-year old Calgary native did return his qualifying offer to the team.  However, Don Fishman, who is Washington's assistant general manager, has denied receiving anything from Schultz.  This is definitely an odd development in a scenario that should be cut and dry.

What Schultz would gain from declining his qualifying offer remains to be seen.  The young blueliner had a solid but unspectacular season recording 1 goal, 12 points, and a plus-13 rating in 64 games. 

His most memorable moment of the season is one he'd like to forget.  In game one of the eastern conference quarterfinals, Schultz fell down in a one-on-one matchup with the Rangers Brandon Dubinsky in a play that conceded the game-winning goal.

The Capitals went on to defeat the Rangers in seven games.  However, Schultz did not play in the rest of the post-season because of an injury suffered in that game, leaving many fans to debate whether or not he was simply benched.

Obviously, this would not be the most opportune time for him to be asking for more than his qualifying offer.

The players we do know that are confirmed to have re-signed today are defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and forwards Chris Bourque, Eric Fehr, Kyle Wilson, and Steve Pinizzotto.

Morrisonn, 26, signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Capitals.  He recorded 3 goals, 13 points, and a plus-4 rating in 72 games last season as part of the team's top pairing with Norris Trophy nominee Mike Green.

Fehr, 23, finished up his first full season with the big club totaling 12 goals, 25 points, and a plus-8 rating in 61 games.  He will make $771,750 next season as part of a one-year, two-way deal; however, the Capitals would have to pass him through waivers if they wanted to send him to the minors.  Fehr also had offseason surgery on both of his shoulders and most likely will not be ready for the start of the upcoming season.

Bourque, 23, recorded his first NHL goal this past season in limited playing time over the course of eighht games with the Capitals.  The undersized son of hall of fame defenseman Ray Bourque, continued to put up big numbers in Hershey, recording 21 goals and 73 points in 69 games in the AHL.  He signed a one-year, two-way deal and will be looking to make the jump to the NHL full-time.

Pinizzotto, 25, started last season with South Carolina of the ECHL.  He tallied 4 goals and 10 points in 11 games before he was promoted to Hershey for the remainder of the season.  With the Bears, he totaled 4 goals, 11 points, and 61 penalty minutes in 45 games.  While not a traditional fighter in the Donald Brashear sense, Pinizzotto would be better described as a pest that gets under his opponent's skin and knocks them off their game.  He was called up to the Capitals on March 24th but did not appear in a game before being returned to Hershey the following day.

Thursday Morning Update:  According to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, Jeff Schultz did sign his qualifying offer and will make $715,000 next season as part of a one-year, two-way deal.

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