The Washington Capitals ended the season with seven unrestricted free agents and that number has been whittled down to three as Alexander Semin, Dennis Wideman and Keith Aucoin remain unsigned.
While it seems that both Semin and Wideman are unlikely to return to Washington, Aucoin is currently in talks with the Caps in regards to negotiating a new contract, according to his agent, Jerry Buckley.
“We’re still in contact with the Capitals with regards to Keith potentially re-signing with them,” Buckley said in a phone interview Friday. “We’re continuing conversations. We’re working on potentially doing an extension.”
Aucoin, who has spent the majority of his professional career in the American Hockey League, earned consistent playing time down the stretch for the Caps, appearing in 22 of the last 23 regular season games and all 14 postseason games and finishing with 13 total points (three goals, 10 assists) in a bottom-six role. His 41 total NHL games this season were nearly double the amount he had played in the NHL since joining Washington in 2008 (22).
Through most of his four-year stint in the Washington organization, however, Aucoin has been a linchpin of the Hershey Bears. In four seasons, Aucoin has won a scoring title and a MVP award while leading the Bears to two Calder Cup championships.
Buckley did not comment on what Aucoin is looking for in a new contract with Washington, such as a more prominent role with the Caps or a one-way contract. Yet, considering that the team chose to notify both Mike Knuble and Jeff Halpern – also unrestricted free agents – early on that they would not be returning next season, the odds that Aucoin will continue to be a member of the Washington organization next season seem to be high.
“If we can strike a deal that makes sense, that’s great,” Buckley said.