- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2001

No one can ever say Trent Whitfield didn't take advantage of an opportunity when it was presented.

The Washington Capitals announced yesterday that the club re-signed the center iceman to a one-year contract that will pay the 25-year-old $440,000.

Whitfield was an emergency call up Thanksgiving Day last season when center Jan Bulis sustained a thumb injury that prevented him from playing. Bulis missed nearly two months with the injury, giving Whitfield more than enough time to make a favorable impression. Whitfield did not miss a game after his debut Nov. 23; Bulis was later traded to Montreal.

Whitfield was used mainly as the fourth-line center last season until his role expanded as the playoffs approached. The coaching staff then inserted him on higher lines to use him as a mucker to dig the puck out of corners and feed it to teammates. But his forte is playing hard-nosed defense; he was an even or plus player in 54 of the 61 games he played last season.

He scored only twice, but his first two NHL goals came in back-to-back games. He had his first March 9 against the New York Rangers and two nights later got his second against Ottawa.

At the time of his recall last season he was the leading scorer for the Caps' top affiliate in the American Hockey League with nine goals and 20 points in 19 games for the Portland (Maine) Pirates.



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