The Washington Capitals signed free-agent forward Mikhail Grabovski on Thursday, beefing up their lineup with a solid centerman. Grabovski stayed on the open market longer than most anticipated but perhaps the most surprising part is that Washington signed him to only a one-year deal worth $3 million. Judging by the numbers, did the Oilers miss out on the former Maple Leaf?
There was some debate as to whether or not the Oilers should have made a play for Grabovski when he became a free-agent back in early July. With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the shelf for an undetermined amount of time, the team is lacking depth up the middle. Talk of having Taylor Hall play center until Nugent-Hopkins returns has surfaced and while that’s a debate for another day, the team is still lacking centerman. Enter Grabovski.
He is a three-time 20-goal scorer over his six year career in the NHL and last season he won 50.6% of his faceoffs. To put it in perspective, that percentage would have led the Oilers with Sam Gagner coming in second at a distant 43.9%. Needless to say his faceofff abilities would have been an upgrade on this team, plugging him into one of the top two lines until Nugent-Hopkins is ready. After that, a third line role would give Edmonton depth up the middle, something that this club hasn’t had in years.
When you consider that it only cost the Capitals $3 million and just committed to one-year on Grabovski, the reward far exceeds the risk in this case. And while we may never know if the Oilers had interest in the 29-year old, the thought of inking him to the terms that he agreed on with Washington, let’s hope that Craig MacTavish at minimum kicked the tires on Grabovski.
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