The Washington Times - May 26, 2009, 02:13PM

The Caps signed forward Jake Hauswirth to a three-year entry-level deal today. Hauswirth is a pretty unique case. He’s a big kid (listed at 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds) and he’s an undrafted guy.

He’s also 21 years old and has been playing in the USHL the past two seasons. He had committed to Michigan Tech, but opted to sign with the Caps instead. Hauswirth would have only had three years of eligibility at Tech because of his age. He had nice numbers for Omaha of the USHL, but remember he was playing against kids that could be 3-5 years younger than him.

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Still, he’s participated in the Caps summer camp and obviously George McPhee and his staff like what they see.

Hauswirth is the eighth new contract that will kick in next season for the Caps, joining forwards Anton Gustafsson, Stefan Della Rovere and Trevor Bruess, defensemen John Carlson, Joe Finley and Zach Miskovic and goalie Braden Holtby. The Caps also have to make a decision this summer on 2007 picks Brent Leffler and Justin Taylor, and 2008 pick Dmitry Kugryshev could also warrant a contract if the organization decides another year in the QMJHL isn’t going to help him.

Teams are allowed to have 50 players under contract, and Washington had 50 this season, so that means at least eight guys aren’t coming back.The Caps do have 23 free agents among the 50 with 2009 deals, so there could be a pretty large roster overhaul for the Hershey Bears once this run is complete.