- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2007

There might be some restless nights forthcoming for a few Washington Capitals players, but don’t count Jeff Schultz among them.

The Caps dropped a 2-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators last night at Verizon Center. It was the final preseason game on the schedule, and the players will trade hockey sticks for golf clubs tomorrow to participate in a charity event in Springfield.

Twenty-three man rosters must be set by 3 p.m. tomorrow, so players who need to pass through waivers will find out today if they have made the team or not. Because Schultz is on his entry-level contract, he does not need to be put on waivers to be sent to Hershey of the American Hockey League, but he is confident he’s not going anywhere.

“They told me to get a residence here, so I did that,” Schultz said. “That’s a good sign for now, but I’ve just got to get better and better as the days go.”

Should Schultz make the team, it would be a bit of an upset because of his contract status. The Caps must decide if they are going to keep seven or eight defensemen, and there are eight in camp now.

If they keep eight, it means there will be 13 forwards on the roster Friday night, when the Caps open the season in Atlanta. There are 12 with one-way contracts, and Nicklas Backstrom isn’t going anywhere. Tomas Fleischmann and Dave Steckel have had strong camps, but a veteran (or two) may have to be waived or traded to make room.

Fleischmann needs to sign a contract to be on the team and if he does, Steckel would be battling with Brian Sutherby, Brooks Laich, Ben Clymer, Matt Bradley and Jakub Klepis for the final three or four forward spots.

“I’ve talked to Coach [Glen Hanlon], and I think I am a versatile guy who can play left wing one night and right wing the next,” Laich said. “He said he likes having a player like that and it is a luxury for him. He trusts me on the ice.”

If Schultz is correct and the Caps decide to keep seven defensemen, then one of Steve Eminger, John Erskine or Mike Green would be the odd man out. Green would not have to be put on waivers, and Erskine cleared near the beginning of last season before rejoining the team after four games in Hershey.

Schultz said he did buy a car after living in a hotel the past couple of weeks and taking cabs for transportation, but he is still playing it safe.

“I’m just renting for now,” Schultz said.

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