Craig Billington

Date of Last Contract:June 29, 2000

Signed Through: 2000-2001 Season



Caps Sign Billington To Three-Year Deal

Jason La Canfora
The Washington Post
Friday , June 30, 2000 ; D09

The Washington Capitals completed their third free agent signing in as many days, agreeing to terms with backup goalie Craig Billington on a three-year deal worth $2.48 million. Billington, 33, was eligible to file for unrestricted free agency Saturday.

Billington's signing leaves Washington with two potential unrestricted free agents -- enforcer Jim McKenzie and depth defenseman Rob Zettler. Sources said negotiations with those two role players have not gone as smoothly as talks with Billington and recently re-signed Joe Sacco and Joe Murphy. McKenzie and Zettler may file for unrestricted free agency Saturday and begin negotiations with any NHL club, though there is expected to be minimal interest in both.

Billington proved to be a strong backup behind starter Olaf Kolzig after being acquired from Colorado for $1 last summer. Billington worked with the Capitals' top goalie throughout the season and helped Kolzig to a record campaign in which he won the Vezina Trophy as top goalie, was named to the first all-star team and finished fourth in MVP voting.

Billington appeared in 13 games with Washington last season, going 3-6-1 with a solid 2.75 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. Billington also posted two shutouts and single-handedly kept the Capitals in some games; Washington produced just 19 goals in Billington's 10 starts and played some of its worst hockey in front of him.

"It was important for us to keep our goaltending tandem intact," General Manager George McPhee said. "Billington knows his role and he battles hard in games and practices but he realizes Olie is the number one guy and does whatever he can to help make Olie as good as he can be."

McPhee held an organizational meeting yesterday to determine if the club would be pursuing any free agents next week, but it seems unlikely the Capitals will attempt to sign anyone.

"There isn't much out there this summer," McPhee said.