Brooks Laich might’ve been the second-most sought-after free agent forward on the market this Friday. But he knew nothing of that.
“All along I didn’t pay attention to the buzz of going to this team or going to that team because I knew it wasn’t going to happen,” he said Tuesday in a teleconference about his new six-year, $27 million deal with the Capitals. “I knew all along that Washington wanted me back, and I knew I wanted to be back. It was just a matter of figuring out the details.”
Laich said Tuesday afternoon “there was never a serious consider to go anywhere else.” That followed comments from his agent, Roland Thompson, earlier that fell along those same lines – Laich wanted to stay with the Caps.
In fact, while the Caps announced the move Tuesday morning, the deal was agreed to before the draft, which started Friday night.
“I had no intention of going to July 1 or pushing Washington to the very edge,” Laich said. I wanted to get a fair deal and I wanted to get it done before the draft.”
There were some concerns Laich said he had about the team following its playoff exit. Those things remain private, he insisted, but pointed to more accountability in the locker room as something that needs to improve. Laich was convinced the Caps are “moving in the right direction.”
The destination in that right direction is a Stanley Cup. On Tuesday Laich sounded a lot like owner Ted Leonsis when he discussed how hard it was to win a title but admitted he and his teammates need to learn a lot about having success in the playoffs.
“I think our team is still growing,” he said. “People think we’re gonna win the Stanley Cup just because we had regular-season success. It doesn’t happen like that.”
While Laich knows he and his teammates have to be better to win a Cup, the 28-year-old forward pointed out that this contract won’t affect his game.
“The money, it’s fantastic and great that I can get it, but it’s not the reason I play the game at the end of the day,” Laich said. “It’s not gonna change how I prepare or how I play on the ice.”