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McPhee says Laich will be Caps’ second-line center

Jul 8, 2013, 4:35 PM EDT

Brooks Laich AP

The Washington Capitals don’t need a new second-line center to replace Mike Ribeiro — they’ve already got one on the roster, according to general manager George McPhee.

And that guy is…Brooks Laich.

(So much for Mikhail Grabovski.)

Injuries limited Laich to just nine regular-season games in 2013, but the 30-year-old has put up good offensive numbers in the past. His best season was 2009-10, when he scored 25 goals and added 34 assists in 78 games.

“You need a good two-way player to play there,” said McPhee, referring to Laich.

Ribeiro, who signed a four-year deal with the Coyotes on Friday, finished 2013 with 49 points — one more than Washington’s top center, Nicklas Backstrom — but it doesn’t sound like McPhee was overly enthralled with Ribeiro’s defensively play.

Not that McPhee wanted to lose him. He told reporters the club made its best offer to Ribeiro, as well as Matt Hendricks (signed with the Preds), at the trade deadline.

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