The Caps just announced that they have re-signed Brooks Laich to a three-year contract extension. Laich, 25, had a career-best 21 goals and 37 points last season. Before it started, he had gone to arbitration with the team and “won” a salary of $725,000. He had elected salary arbitration again this year. His agent Roland Thompson told me a few weeks ago that he liked having his client go through it once, but wasn’t sure more than once was a good idea because of the hard feelings the hearing can cause.
Laich’s versatility both in position and role on the team is quite valuable, plus he’s one of the most-liked guys in the room (by teammates and reporters alike). More on this later.
UPDATE: The deal is for $6.2 million. He will make $1.7 million this year, $2.1 the next and $2.4 in 2010-11 with the cap hit being $2.067 million each season. By signing him to a three-year pact, the Caps were able to buy out one year of unrestricted free agency.
I just talked to Laich’s agent, Roland Thompson, about the deal. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Were you happy to avoid arbitration?
Thompson: Arbitration is there for the player’s protection if he can’t get a deal done. Then an outside party can determine the player’s value. We filed, and would have done it again, but no one really likes going through it.
Q: How did you end up on a three-year deal?
Thompson: [Assistant GM] Don Fishman and I had been working on a three-year deal for a while now. The further out you go in term the more there is a risk for both teams. If Brooks continues to play well and get better, then he’ll probably be underpaid in the third year. If he doesn’t play as well, then maybe he’ll be overpaid.
Q: Are you happy with the money?
Thompson: Well, everyone always wants more money. It is a fair deal and it is within Brooks’ market value. There is some term there so there is some certainty for Brooks going forward. He is happy to get the deal done because he sees the team as an exciting, up-and-coming team and wants to be a part of it.