- CSNwashington.com - Saturday, January 11, 2014

The agent for Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski said Saturday that he has begun contract negotiations to keep the 29-year-old veteran in Washington.

“We’ll see what’s happening,” said Gary Greenstin, who is visiting with Grabovski and was at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Saturday. “Most likely he’ll stay here, OK? Of course, other teams we’re not allowed to talk. It’s not in my mind to talk to them. We have time.”

Grabovski is on a one-year, $3 million contract with the Capitals and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

In 42 games with the Capitals, Grabovski has 12 goals and 20 assists, putting him on pace for 23 goals and 61 points. He’s currently playing on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Eric Fehr. 

Grabovski was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer, which means he will be paid roughly $1.8 million in each of the next eight seasons, on top of whatever he makes on his next contract, which easily could be in the $5 million per year range.

“He’s very comfortable in Washington,” Greenstin said. “His wife likes it a lot. They have great family, beautiful children. Good coach, good organization. We’ll see.”

Does Grabovski and his wife like Washington enough to make it their long-term home?

“Why not?” Greenstin said. “It depends on management. Coach likes him. We just begin talking about future contract. It’s not easy process. It will take some time, I believe.”

Greenstin said it’s important for Grabovski not to jump from one NHL team to the next.

If you’ll recall, Mike Ribeiro and the Capitals were in a similar predicament last year, with Ribeiro in the final year of a contract that paid him $5 million. When the two sides could not come to an agreement, the Caps let Ribeiro walk and he signed a four-year, $22 million contract with the Phoenix Coyotes for a $5.5 million cap hit.

In other news, reports have surfaced that the Capitals and Coyotes could be involved in trade talks involving Marty Erat. Former NHLer and player agent Brian Lawton tweeted that he believes the Coyotes are interested in trading defenseman Rostislav Klesla.

Klesla, 31, has one goal and three assists in 22 games for the Coyotes, who placed him on waivers in November. He is in the final year of a contract that pays him $2.975 million.