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Columnist: Grabovski could make Caps a legitimate contender

Sep 1, 2013, 6:17 PM EDT

grabovskigetty Getty Images

The Washington Capitals seem eager to embrace new center Mikhail Grabovski, and the feeling seems mutual.

If that amounts to the former Toronto Maple Leafs forward being handed more of the offensive role that he enjoyed under Ron Wilson rather than Randy Carlyle, then the Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg believes Grabovski could be just as explosive as Mike Ribeiro was.

In fact, Greenberg goes as far as to say that the 29-year-old could make Washington a “legitimate Cup contender.”

There’s no doubt that much of the free agent market seemed as tepid about Grabovski as the Buds became, but Greenberg points to the old age: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Perhaps this pickup will indeed help Washington to truly fight for the most treasured trophy in sports, then.

  1. gocaps8 - Sep 1, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I’m as big a Caps fan as there is, but until this team plays effective D in front of Holtby, they will be lucky to make the playoffs in the new alignment.

    Best hope for the Caps is that the new division forces them to raise their play and Kuzya arrives in time for playoff push.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Sep 1, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    They are not legit contenders IMO, far from it.

    • lowenni - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      Is there something in particular you have against the Caps? I, just like you, check this site daily and generally I see you have insightful and well thought out opinions. But on nearly every Caps article I see you always finding something to pick at about them–are you a Pens fan? There’s always something for you to ridicule buddy.

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Sep 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        No it’s just an opinion, I don’t think they have a good enough team on paper. I have nothing against Washington, in fact, Alex Ovechkin was the sole reason why I got into hockey. I’m a sharks fan btw

  3. dglelite - Sep 1, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    As much as I would love that to be true, this team is pretty much the exact same team as last year.

    The only changes will be Erat for an entire year, Laich back from an injury and Grabovski replacing Ribeiro.

    If they weren’t a contender last year, not really sure how they suddenly become one this year.

    Its not as if they were one player away.

    This is a good team and should be in the playoffs, where I guess anything can happen…But not seeing them as an early favorite or contender. Maybe things will change as the season progresses.

  4. millertime1101 - Sep 1, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    not enough defense still a playoff team I really like Erat he is a big key to there winning

  5. lowenni - Sep 1, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    I honestly think they have the POTENTIAL to be a top team this year. I’m not saying they will be, because it’s the Caps and anything can happen. Like some of the above people said, this is essentially the same team as last year. And, last year, they were arguably the hottest team in the NHL and many had them pegged as contenders or at least an elite team. Oates has rejuvenated the offense, our defense is young and developing (Orlov, Schmidt, Kundratek could really break out this year and steal the 4th D spot), Holtby has elite ability in goal, and the new division change will toughen the team and will force them to gain the killer instinct that they have lacked for so many years. Anything could happen, but I think this is the strongest team, when looking at all aspects of their roster, that the Caps have had in a while.

    • dueman - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      In what world were the Capitals the hottest team in the league? League wide they finished 10th, which isn’t horrible, but don’t get carried away! They were still 20pts behind Chicago in a 48 game season. That makes them far from being anywhere near the hottest team in the league! Now I realize that you are a Caps fan, but you really need to lay off the word “elite” because, other than Ovie, there’s not another player on the Caps that you can honestly use the word “elite” to describe them. Backstrom is the next closest player to that “elite” level, but where would he be points wise without Ovie? Now you have Grabo (who I like) replacing Ribeiro, which in all honesty, is a downgrade. Ribeiro was more than a point per game and the caps just let him walk. Grabo had 16pts last year, which is a third of what Ribeiro got, plus he had the worst plus/minus of all Leaf forwards. Sorry buddy, but this is not an improvement.

      • lowenni - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:30 AM

        First of all, I admittedly made a mistake and a typo and meant to say that they were arguably the hottest team heading into the playoffs and in the final few weeks of the regular season. My justification of this is the fact that they went from nearly last in the conference to first in their division (and Ovi was undeniably the hottest player in the league in the final month). Also, I was not, and will never, compare them to Chicago. I wasn’t saying they were going to win the cup. IF they play this year the way they did at the end of last year, then they will be a very good team. That is not opinion, that is fact and statistics. Their turnaround last season was remarkable.
        As for Backstrom, he is elite. He has had some down seasons recently, but is turning around and is a player who has had a 100 point season. You can’t deny that he is one of the best passers in the league. Of course his numbers would be down without Ovechkin, but as many Caps fans know, Ovechkin actually struggles more without Backstrom than Backstrom does without Ovi. Martin St. Louis would not have led the league in scoring without Stamkos. It’s a partnership.
        Also, Ribeiro’s image was distorted last year because of a strong start and luckiness with the puck. His numbers were inflated because of early play with Ovi and a powerplay that was running at a pace that can’t be kept up over a whole season. By the end of the season Ribeiro was a turnover machine, and Grabovski is an improvement even if he doesn’t have as many points. We have the same key players as last year PLUS a healthy Brooks Laich and Martin Erat. It’s an improvement, whether or not I’m a biased Caps fan.

      • dueman - Sep 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Oh buddy, first off, when admitting a mistake you should do it a little less cocky in the future because what you originally wrote, and what you wrote as a reply are two TOTALLY different things my friend! As far as Backstrom being an “elite” player? I did say that he was the closest you’ve got other than Ovie, but I will also say this to you, I think that he is close enough that you can create an argument about him. I hope that’s better for you.Now where you are completely wrong is with Ribeiro, and Grabo. Grabo has never even been close to being a point per game player. He plays with heart, but he hangs on to the puck for far too long and takes a lot of low percentage shots, as well as being guilty of being a “turnover machine”, which you will get tired of pretty quick. He’s going to have a good start because he’s got something to prove, but I think that by half way through the season he’ll be your third line center. Ribeiro on the other hand has been at, or close to a point per game player his whole career, minus his rookie years of course. I’m not sure what the problem was between him and your new coach, but I’m sure he’ll have another great year in Pheonix. Again, sorry buddy, but Grabo in, and Ribeiro out, is definitely not an improvement! But hey, keep your fingers crossed and have a good day!

  6. capsfan19 - Sep 1, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Ha i love my team but i’ll believe it when i see it.

  7. icelovinbrotha215 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    D is the name of the game in our (us Americans that is) nation’s capitol. Gabby will give the Caps a more potent offense but they have struggle defensively in the playoffs. And you need D to win a Cup. No way around that.

  8. withseidelinn - Sep 2, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    This guy is good, but he isn’t a Ribeiro and he certainly doesn’t have the puck distribution skills that Ribeiro has. Grabovski is pretty feisty and not bad physically considering his size, and he also has the ability to pot 20-25 goals in a really strong year if given a good set up guy. However, from seeing him play for TOR, he always leaves something more to be desired because you can tell the skill is there, it just isn’t being utilized properly. Overall good hockey player, hope he clicks in WSH and finds his niche but he isn’t the type of guy who is clutch or can change the outcome of a game. More of a complimentary guy.

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