- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When the Washington Capitals selected Anton Gustafsson with the 21st pick in the 2008 draft, it looked to be a nice father-son story in the making. Bengt Gustafsson played nine seasons in Washington and was considered among the best Swedish players to put on a Caps uniform.

Now, less than three years later, Anton Gustafsson is on his way out of the organization. The Caps placed the 21-year-old center on unconditional waivers with the intention of releasing him.

“It’s basically something that we’ve all agreed on,” Gustafsson’s agent, J.P. Barry, said. “They’re going to terminate his contract and just allow him to be free.”

Gustafsson is on waivers for $125, which means any NHL team could claim him for that amount. He’s expected to clear, Barry said, and continue playing in Europe.

Gustafsson’s fall as a prospect came as a result of some injuries and problems adapting to life on this side of the Atlantic.

“You’re talking about a player who came to North America, maybe came over too early,” Barry said. “He needed to find his passion again to play.”

Gustafsson played just one game with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League in 2009-10 before returning to Europe. He played 11 games for Langnau in Switzerland last season, and Barry said Gustafsson will be there for one more year before deciding on a future path.

What we do know is that future won’t be with the Caps.

“He’s doing better [in Europe], and he wants to continue developing there,” Barry said.

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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