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Should the Caps try to sign Grabovski?

Jul 29, 2013, 1:27 PM EDT

Mikhail Grabovski Getty Images

Free-agent center Mikhail Grabovski has reportedly narrowed his choice of teams to three.

Which three teams? That we don’t know — except that Winnipeg apparently isn’t one of them.

The question we’re asking here is, should Washington be interested?

According to a good number of Capitals fans, the answer is a resounding yes.

Washington, of course, did not re-sign Mike Ribeiro this summer; he ended up with the Coyotes.

Ribeiro had 13 goals and 36 assists during the regular season. His 49 points were the second most, behind Alex Ovechkin‘s 56, on the Caps and tied for 10th overall in the NHL.

So you’ll excuse Caps fans for wondering/worrying how their team will do without him.

According to Washington general manager George McPhee, however, the team already has Ribeiro’s second-line center replacement in Brooks Laich.

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.

But Grabovski is also a decent two-way player. In fact, one of the reasons his offensive numbers were down in Toronto this year was that he was given a decidedly more defensive role by Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle, as described here by the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle.

Whether the Caps can afford Grabovski depends on his asking price. According to CapGeek, they’ve got almost $6 million in cap space with 20 players signed. (Restricted free agent Marcus Johansson still needs a contract, too.)

Bought out by the Leafs, Grabovski will be paid $14.3 million over the next eight years by Toronto, plus what he earns on a new contract. If he’s serious about wanting to “win something,” he could do worse than signing with the Caps. (For example, he could sign with the Calgary Flames.)

It’s possible McPhee is hoping to get Grabovski for a bargain, a la the contract he convinced Tomas Vokoun to sign in the summer of 2011.

McPhee may choose instead to go into the season with a bit of cap space.

“It’s never a bad thing to have,” he said recently. “We don’t know what develops, but it’s nice to have some flexibility to do things if we have to.”

Again, so much depends on Grabovski’s asking price. If it’s reasonable, the Caps make sense as destination. If not, they’ll likely pass and hope Laich can stay healthy and Johansson and/or Mathieu Perreault can take their games to another level.

  1. capsfan14 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    This would be a good sign by the caps. Laich I don’t think will be able to go up skill wise against some of the second line centers out there, he is a great third liner, one of the best, but still not second line material, especially not when considering that he is coming off an injury.

    • govtminion - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Tend to agree. Laich is a bit fragile at times, and while he’s a very good player there’s never a situation where having another talented forward around is a bad thing. The Caps have plenty of cap space, after all- might as well use it. Not like this is going to be an easy season- there’s no Southeast Division to sneak into the playoffs with anymore, now they actually have to work for it. Grabovski might not be the key, but he can’t hurt the cause either.

  2. Tyler - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: Absolutely.

  3. sunderlanding - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Sign in the west! I know he’ll light up Toronto every time he comes to town, so the less times that happens the better.

  4. pr0jecktpat - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    The issue is they still need to sign Mojo, and unless they magically create more cap space I don’t see them being able to sign Grabovski and Mojo. But to play devil’s advocate perhaps they are weighing their options and considering who would be better for the team, Mojo or Grabo? Either way it would have to be an absolute steal on one of those guys to be able to sign both of them.

  5. capsneed2points - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I think if possible Grabo needs to be signed because we are thin on the left side and could use Latch there much more than center. But its gonna be hard to resign MJ90 and sign Grabo.

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