Report: Joel Ward expected to test free agency, seeking 4-year deal

Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports

Joel Ward could be exploring his options come July 1.

The impending unrestricted free agent doesn't seem likely to agree to terms on a new deal with the Washington Capitals due to a difference of opinion regarding contract length.

From Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post:

Both (Ward's) camp and the Capitals have interest in staying together, but the 34-year-old is looking for a four-year contract, which (general manager Brian) MacLellan has already identified as an issue.

The sides haven't discussed much beyond expressing their disparate desires and, at least between now and July 1, it's unlikely the Capitals would change their intent to re-sign Ward for one or two years rather than agreeing to a contract that will take the winger into his late 30s.

The 34-year-old has appeared in all 164 games for the Capitals over the past two seasons, averaging 21.5 goals and 20 assists per year in that span.

Ward signed a four-year, $12-million contract with Washington back in 2011, and while he appears to be a good fit as a depth player for the Capitals, they're apparently reluctant to commit to multiple years once again.

Report: Joel Ward expected to test free agency, seeking 4-year deal
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