[Huge thanks (or "tack så mycket") to Ice Warrior and HD89 for translating from the original Swedish a couple of interesting reads on Michael Nylander. The first is an article from Aftonbladet (HD89's translation), the second a blog post from Swedish hockey writer Marie Hallman (Ice Warrior's translation).]
"He told me I wasn't good enough"
The Coach doesn't want him. And he doesn't want to stay. But no other team wants to take on his salary.
Michael Nylander finds himself in quite the pinch with the Washington Capitals, a team that just two years ago made it one of their top priorities to get the 36-year old Swedish-born center signed to a 4-year deal worth $18.5 million (dollars). The Capitals explained to Nylander they wanted him to be a big part of their plans moving forward and they were willing to give him a long-term deal to ensure that fact.
His time with the Caps though, hasn't turned out as expected. Nylanders first season in Washington was cut short due to injuries, and he only played 40 games. Last year the slick Swede got into 72 games, but in a much more diminished role under head coach Bruce Boudreau, who replaced previous coach Glen Hanlon just a few months into Nylanders tenure with the Caps.
According to Nylander, coach Boudreau has made his opinion clear;
"He told me he didn't think I was good enough. That's pretty straight-forward to me." [Ed. Note: Ice Warrior translated the same line as "He has told me that I am not good enough. A pretty clear message."]
What happens now is anybodys guess. The deal with Washington extends for another two seasons and Nylander has a right to refuse any move he doesn't like from GM George McPhee. The trouble is, no team will even take on Nylanders high salary. A salary that isn't changed by the fact that he's not playing.
"I want to switch teams, but it's not exactly easy. My deal is signed, I can't lower my salary. It'll be hard to fit in within the salary cap of some teams, and I want to make sure I'd fit in with the team as well. We'll see what happens, but at this point, I don't know."
Jagr has been in touch
For Nylander, there hasn't been any talk about being sent down to the AHL so far though.
"Haha, no. The clause in my contract prevents me being sent there, so I wont accept that."
One option that's been talked about a great deal lately, has been going to Russia - where former NHL star Jaromir Jagr is currently playing. Jagr has been in touch with Nylander on several occasions. Nylander and Jagr were teammates on the New York Rangers and formed a formidable one-two punch for the Blueshirts.
"He's called me many times to check on my progress. But I can't just break the deal with Washington, says Nylander."
Michael Nylander: "I could consider playing in Edmonton"
Here's talk number two from the Swedish Olympic Committee's NHL meeting. There has been a lot of talk concerning Michael Nylander and where he's going to play next season.
I took the opportunity to talk to the former AIK player (AIK a hockey club in Allsvenskan one level under the Swedish Elite League-ed.) and got this response:
"I have a contract for two more years with Washington but I want to get traded and I've discussed the situation with the club. It isn't difficult to understand that I won't play there any more. It's a mutual decision that both I and the club understand."
So what happens now?
"I don't know, it's difficult to get a trade. The salary cap will probably drop next season and then it will be very difficult for many clubs to fit me in. But I have a "no move" clause, which means that Washington can't trade me to another club without my approval. So I have some say in the matter."
It's been rumored that you are going to the KHL?
"It's not currently of interest-- I want to play in the NHL. We'll see where, but I can't stay in Washington in any case, not with the role that I have been in. With the role they've given me a change is necessary if I'm going to continue to play there."
What role do you think that you have now?
"Nah, I hardly played at all in the end. My coach is of the opinion that I am not good enough to play for the team in Washington. I have to play elsewhere. Until then, you just have to make the best of the situation."
Are there any dates that you need to keep track of? Any type of trade deadlines?
"No, not when you are under contract as I am. So it's no problem."
Is it hard to start the season like this?
"Ah, but I am already used to it. It's hockey. I know how business is over there. Sure, it's always better to know where you are going to play but I have the advantage that I have a "no move" clause. I can wait until I find something that feels good, I'm not particularly worried about it."
Any club that is high on your wish list?
"Uh ... hmmm .. I can't say that I have a dream team like that and it will be difficult to get into most of them now, given the salary cap. But it would have been fun to try Edmonton. Now, of course, I said no to them before. Instead I chose Washington because we had more friends and knew more people there. And it was perhaps a little better socially. But I would have liked to try Edmonton. I think that it would be fun now. I would like to try that now but it will probably be difficult for them to get me under the salary cap" concluded Michael Nylander.