A once-promising first-round pick is now on his way out of the Capitals’ organization. The team placed Anton Gustafsson, son of ex-Caps player Bengt Gustafsson, on unconditional waivers Wednesday.
Unconditional waivers are used to give a player his unconditional release.
“It’s basically something that we’ve all agreed on,” Gustafsson’s agent, J.P. Barry, told The Washington Times. “They’re gonna terminate his contract and just allow him to be free.”
Barry said Gustafsson may have come to North America too early and plans to continue playing hockey in Europe. Because the young Swedish center ran into some “developmental blocks,” Barry said it could be interpreted that Gustafsson lost some desire to play on this side of the Atlantic.
“He needed to find his passion again to play,” Barry said.
Gustafsson, 21, played just 11 games last season for Langnau in Switzerland. He had one assist, two penalty minutes and registered a minus-4 rating. Barry said Gustafsson has dealt with some groin injuries but nothing too serious and that his client needs to find a comfort zone in Europe.
The plan is for him to play one more season in Switzerland and go from there. Any NHL team could claim Gustafsson off unconditional waivers for $125 but Barry does not expect that to happen.
“For him to continue to play, it needs to be in Europe,” Barry said.