Capitals sign former captain Jeff Halpern, lose Boyd Gordon to Coyotes

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The Washington Capitals’ remake of their third and fourth lines on Friday included welcoming back an old friend and saying goodbye to a guy who was a crucial role player down the middle.

Around 1 p.m. EST — an hour after free agency opened — the Caps announced they had signed former captain Jeff Halpern, a center with good faceoff skills, to a one-year deal. It’s worth $825,000, his agent, Mike Liut, told The Washington Times.

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“They called right away,” Liut said in a telephone interview. “Jeff liked the idea of going back to Washington and playing at home.”

Halpern spent six years with the Caps from 1999-2000 to 2005-06 — the same season he was the team’s captain. The 35-year-old has spent time with the Stars, Kings, Lightning and Canadiens since. Halpern made $600,000 last season, recording 26 points for Montreal.

Liut said the Caps were “the first ones through the door” in regards to signing Halpern. The Canadiens were interested in bringing him back, but Washington beat them to it.

“It just made sense to him,” Liut said.

Bringing in Halpern also meant bidding goodbye to center Boyd Gordon, who signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes. It’s worth $1.3 million next year and $1.35 in 2012-13, his agent, Brad Devine, confirmed.

Gordon was known as the Caps’ best penalty killer and faceoff specialist. He made $800,000 with Washington last year. Gordon had been with the Caps for seven seasons.

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