- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It has been a pretty good couple of weeks for Matt Bradley.

Not only did Bradley get married, he signed a three-year contract yesterday to remain with the Washington Capitals through the 2010-11 season.

“It’s been a great summer so far,” Bradley said. “I can’t wait for next year.”

Bradley, who will turn 30 on June 13, had seven goals and 11 assists for the Caps last season, his third year with the organization. The deal is worth $1 million a season, according to a team source.

It will be a nearly 43 percent annual raise for Bradley, who just completed a two-year, $1.4 million deal.

“I wanted a three-year contract,” Bradley said. “Not for the stability - not that there is any stability in hockey because you can’t take anything for granted - but I know if everything goes right where I am going to be. I really like it in Washington. I really like the guys, and we are a team on its way up.”

The rugged forward was a key component of the team’s grinders on the third and fourth lines. Their ability to wear down opposing defensemen with body checks and sustained offensive pressure helped open up the ice for the team’s top scoring threats.

His willingness to drop the gloves (Bradley’s 10 fights were second to Donald Brashear) and being one of the most-liked players in the dressing room were certainly factors in the Caps retaining him, but Bradley was also a solid all-around contributor and an underrated performer in the final few months of the season.

Bradley is the first of Washington’s free agents to sign with the team. It leaves trade acquisitions Cristobal Huet, Sergei Fedorov and Matt Cooke as the remaining unrestricted free agents (Olie Kolzig has said he will not return to the team), along with a group of six restricted free agents headlined by defenseman Mike Green.

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