Caps working on Swedish deal for Gustafsson

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Just caught up with Caps general manager George McPhee in between periods to ask him about 2008 first-round pick Anton Gustafsson.

McPhee said he is working on a deal for Gustafsson to go back to Sweden to play this season, but he isn’t sure which team will agree to it yet. The Caps GM said the plan would be to assign Gustafsson to a Swedish team and have him play there this year (and hopefully for Sweden in the world junior championships) and then come back to Hershey at the end of the year.

Gustafsson has been a healthy scratch for Hershey in the first four games for the Bears. When he was drated, Gustafsson had said he wanted to play two more years in Sweden, but moved up his timetable for coming to North America a year because there wasn’t going to be room for him on his Swedish Elite League team, Frolunda, because of its depth at center.

It turns out their isn’t room for him with Hershey, either. The Bears are deep at center, and he hasn’t been able to crack the lineup (though an argument could be made that the Bears should make room for him — that’s part of the whole winning vs. development debate). The important thing is Gustafsson has to play somewhere, because sitting in the pressbox at the Giant Center i not helping his progress as a hockey player.

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