McPhee on Morrison, French and Gustafsson
GM George McPhee spoke to reporters on a variety of subjects earlier today. Here's some of what he had to say:
*On newly-acquired center Brendan Morrison, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal on Friday: "He was the right player at the right price. We're playing a hunch that he's got a couple of good years left in him. He could be in for a big year this year. He hasn't played as well as he's been capable the last couple of years, and there's a reason for it. He's had a couple of injuries that forced him to rehab instead of train in the summer.
"He turned down offers for more money to come here," McPhee added. "So he's coming here for the right reason."
*On new Hershey Bears Coach Mark French: "We like promoting from within because you really know the person. Based on the information from [Bears GM] Doug Yingst and Bruce [Boudreau] and Bob Woods, they are really high on him. He's ready for this opportunity."
Familiarity "is a big part of it," McPhee added. "To bring someone in from outside the organization that doesn't know the players as he knows them and doesn't know what they are capable of and what we've been all about the past four years in Hershey, there's risk in that. So continuity was important to us."
*On Milan Jurcina and whether he thinks the team will settle with the defenseman ahead of his arbitration date on July 28: "We'll keep talking and see what develops. We have a little time before things have to be decided there."
*On whether any of the forward prospects have a chance at cracking the opening-night roster: "We wanted to have a little room for kids to come in and compete for a spot. The season is three months away and there's a lot that can happen between now and then."
With the signings of Mike Knuble and Morrison, the Caps have 13 veterans up front (including RFAs Eric Fehr and Boyd Gordon). So there's maybe one spot available for a prospect, and given the team's proximity to the salary cap ceiling, I'm not so sure they'll carry 14 forwards.
*On the possibly making another move in free agency: "Not necessarily. But I'm not worried about the cap situation," he said. "There's lots of ways to work with the cap in the summer and during the season without circumventing it."
On Anton Gustafsson: "He wants to try to play here. In our minds, if we think he's ready and he thinks he's ready, he will [play in North America]."
Gustafsson's contract in Sweden gives him the option to play in Hershey or Washington next season, I'm told.
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