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Reports: Capitals indeed sign Grabovski for one year

Aug 22, 2013, 9:48 PM EDT

closeupgrabsgetty Getty Images

It appears that the rumors are true: the Washington Capitals signed Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year deal on Thursday, TSN’s Aaron Ward reports. The official confirmation might come a little later, however.

(Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov also reports that it’s a one-year deal.)

Bargain shopping?

Belorussian sports outlet Pressball pegs the contract at $3 million, but it’s unclear if that will end up being the final amount.

If that is true, the Capitals got a steal of a deal. The Toronto Maple Leafs bought out Grabovski’s previous deal, which was worth $5.5 million per season, so it’s hard to look at this as anything but a discount.

Yes, it’s easy to imagine a player taking less money on top of the money he’s getting paid not to play for a different team, but Grabovski is younger than other buyout victims at 29. (Example: Vincent Lecavalier is 33 and suffered far more injury problems.)

The Caps could very well be signing a guy who could be a part of the mix if he passes what serves as a cheap “audition.”

Mixed reviews

Toronto fans will likely give a wide variety of assessments regarding Grabovski. “Advanced stats” inclined onlookers tout Grabovski as a versatile player who was used improperly by Randy Carlyle in 2013. Others will bash him for his unkind words for his former coach and will give him less benefit of the doubt in general.

However you might feel about Grabovski, it’s tough to blame the Capitals for taking a relatively low-risk shot at him, especially if the price is $3 million.

Replacing Ribeiro

That’s some nice savings compared to last season’s second-line center, Mike Ribeiro. Perhaps Grabovski won’t average close to a point per game like Ribeiro did last season, yet many would argue that he’ll better help Washington win more puck possession battles and give them a more versatile option. (It’s also possible that Ribeiro wouldn’t be able to maintain that level of play in 2013-14 and beyond.)

He also allows Brooks Laich to settle into a more comfortable third-line center position (depending upon how head coach Adam Oates assesses the line situations).

This signing reminds some of the Capitals grabbing Tomas Vokoun for a cheap deal in 2011. While that didn’t work out as well as some expected, it’s still a potentially shrewd move for Washington.

If nothing else, it should be fun to watch the Capitals visit Toronto on Nov. 23.

  1. ravenscaps48 - Aug 22, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    Oh this is SWELL! LETS DO THIS!!!

  2. operwapitsai - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    mmmmm finally! caps are contenders once again my friends ;)

    • jpelle82 - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      yup because THIS is THE year. THIS guy is the one to bring it home for ya. FINALLY!!!!!

      in all seriousness though, its a good pickup and it fills the need.

  3. ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    There still sht

  4. afrancis55 - Aug 22, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Shouldve signed with nashville

  5. channelguy - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    They got him at a slight discount. He’s a 3-4 million dollar player. The $5.5 million contract was a bad one, which is why a different Leaf GM from the one who gave it, bought it out.

    He will help the Capitals, but will still frustrate most of their fans, and here’s why. His skill level is pretty high, and he will have these stretches of a week or two where he plays like an All-Star, and you figure YES, he’s finally broken through to that higher level. And then he will go three weeks where he disappears, and can’t even hit the open net with the goalie out. He teases you just enough to think he’s about to be a solid first line center, but he turns 30 this year, when most players are in decline, so it’s not likely to happen now.

    He was used as a checking center much of last year, so his numbers aren’t good. But he did start the year as the second line center, and lost his second line center job to Kadri, when the light went on for Kadri during one of Grabovski’s cold stretches. So it’s not like he was just “misused”

    He’s not a good checking line center anyway. He’s pretty physical for his size, which is a nice plus, but really makes more mistakes than someone you want in that role. But if Washington keeps him in the second line role, and doesn’t bench him during his disppearances, he will help them.

    • sunderlanding - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      I’ve always said Grabo was a good finish a way from being an all-star. He’ll stickhandle through the whole team, fake-out the goalie, and miss the open net. That being said he’s fun to watch and I’ll miss him in Toronto.

    • dueman - Aug 23, 2013 at 7:14 AM

      He also tends to hang on to the puck too long, which is why he never worked out as a set up guy for Kessel, but it does explain the great puck possession statistic that the “advanced stats” geeks are all worked up about. He did pass the puck well for a season with Kulemin as a linemate, but that faded quickly. One thing that is a big plus with Grabo is that he plays with heart, sometimes to the point of reckless abandon, but like sunderlanding said, that makes him fun to watch and easy to like. I’ll miss the guy wearing the blue and white too.

  6. 950003cups - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    So, this kid gets signed and Brunner is still unsigned? Something is weird. The kid, even with just a one year stint, should’ve signed somewhere. The GM’s are basically saying they could care less about him.

    • dueman - Aug 23, 2013 at 7:19 AM

      I haven’t heard anybody say they could “care less” about him. It’s probably more about Brunner wanting too much money.

    • hockeydon10 - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Brunner has also mentioned wanting to let the Wings figure out their cap situation so he can sign there again. Similar to what Cleary is doing.

      It may be unrealistic at this point, with Detroit so far above the cap coupled with his asking price (even if it comes down some).

  7. nickathens27 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    He’s not the playmaker that Ribero was, I would say (since they didn’t do anything else this offseason) that the caps have gotten worse over the summer.

  8. panicatthedistrict - Aug 23, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    I have to say I like this signing. He may not have the playmaking ability of Ribeiro, but at least he fills the void as the second line center. Not to mention he’ll be motivated to play hard especially after what happened to him this offseason.

    He and Oates should get along just fine, and with that said, Let’s Go Caps!

    • blackfoot11 - Aug 23, 2013 at 9:07 AM

      Agreed. Despite the relatively quiet FA this summer and focusing on depth signings, the Caps made a good roster and cap move in filling the 2nd line center position. I look forward to seeing how Oates utilizes his talents on the 2nd line and maybe PP.

  9. capsfan19 - Aug 23, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    This will be interesting. To jump to say we’re contenders is a little much, but it will be good to fill that void with a talented center.
    Ribeiro was excellent at the start of the season, pulling the team in points. Towards the end of the season his production froze, he would over-handle the puck, couldnt make the big plays, and had the semin syndrome of committing penalties at the worse times. He had alot of heart and was probably great to have in the locker room, but with someone who wanted way too much money im glad we let him go. Whats even funnier he wanted to go to a contending team and went to phoenix? Are you kidding me?
    If this is true grabo will provide alot of relief for that 2nd line role. Because face it laich and mattie p arent 2nd line centers.

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