Before negotiating his two-year contract extension with the Capitals, CNSWashington.com says center Mathieu Perreault made it known he wanted more ice time than he received in his first full NHL season.
It was a reasonable request when you consider no Capitals forward who played in 50 or more games averaged less ice time than Perreault’s 12:01 a night.
Once he had that assurance, Perreault and his agent went to work on negotiating a two-year, one-way deal worth slightly more than $2 million.
“They told me I was part of their elite forwards on the team and they see me on the top lines and they think I can do good things for them,” Perreault, 24, said after signing the first one-way contract of his career. “Hopefully, with a new coach [Adam Oates] coming in I’ll get more ice time than last year.”
The Caps acquired center Mike Ribeiro at the NHL draft last month. With Backstrom, Ribeiro, Brooks Laich, Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks, the Capitals are overloaded with centers and that could force Perreault to play on the wing, assuming the Caps don’t move one of their centers to acquire a right wing like Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan.
“I told them last year if they put me at wing I can do that,” Perreault said. “I have enough speed to play on the wing. If it means more ice time I would do it.”
A native of Drummondville, Quebec, Perreault was the only French-speaking player on the Caps last season and he said he’s looking forward to playing with Ribeiro, who is from Montreal.
“I’m excited,” he said. “He’s a good player and he’s going to fit real well in the system in Washington. I won’t be the only French guy next year. It will be nice to talk French with him and I’m sure I’ll have a few things to learn from him.”