Capitals Sign Joey Crabb to One-Year Contract

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

As the first day of NHL Free Agency wound to a close, it seemed certain that the Caps would let July 1st pass without signing a single player. It would have been only the second time that would have happened since the lockout, but then around 10 PM, a surprise signing finally came: former Toronto Maple Leaf Joey Crabb inked a one year, one-way contract with the Capitals.

Crabb is undoubtedly a depth player, a third or fourth line right winger. But judging by his past performance, he may fill that role splendidly.

Crabb seems suited for fourth line duties on the Caps roster. That might allow Joel Ward to play the more aggressive deployments that McPhee intended for him. Crabb isn’t a slouch on offense either, shooting a very respectable 11.3% over the last few seasons. He’s a penalty kill mainstay as well, sucking up tons of PK time in Toronto and scoring 4 shorthanded goals to boot.

Hockey Abstract’s Robert Vollman classifies Crabb as a shutdown forward, taking on tough minutes (good quality competition with lots of defensive zone starts). Behind the Net‘s player chart for Crabb’s 11-12 season confirm that, but also tells us that he performed pretty well considering the assignment.

If Crabb and his line are assigned lots of defensive-zone starts against good competition, they can free up the more productive lines to do more damage in the offensive zone. Joey isn’t a liability in his own zone, and he may even generate some goals from time to time.

David Johnson at Hockey Analysis provided some good intel on Crabb back in April:

He is a hard worker who will chip in offensively and seems to be at least reasonably defensively aware and perfectly capable of playing on almost any line as an injury fill in as needed. I am not sure he is the kind of guy I’d write in as the permanent second line winger or permanent third line winger, but rather I’d continue to use him as he has been used the past couple seasons – the ideal 13th forward that actually plays a lot as he is the primary injury fill in regardless of which line the injured forward plays on though one could see him as a third line regular too.

Hoping that Crabb gets used as a fourth line winger, Johnson’s anxieties may not apply to the Caps. We may be looking at a dependable checking line forward, the kind of guy who doesn’t soak up the spotlight but sets up his teammates to do so. I’m excited to see what he can do under the Oates’ administration.


Crabb’s first goal as a Leaf, a 1-on-2 shorthanded goal

Crabb skates in 1-on-2 short-handed and scores on Ryan Miller.

Crabb uses a power move to score against the Wild

Crabb scores short-handed against the Islanders

Crabb fights Joe Corvo

Crabb drops the mitts with Wayne Simmonds

The Maple Leafs Year-End Sit Down with Crabb

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  • Tommy C

    I’m liking what I see from this guy. He’s gonna be a solid grinder alongside Hendricks and Beagle. Underrated signing for DC.

  • Andrew S

    Looks like a tough guy who can put up some tough minutes. And he’s got a kickass nickname.

    The Alaskan King Crab.

  • Ditto. I think we can trust him and Beags to eat up a shedload of time against good players– freeing up might see Ovi’s and Backy’s line(s) to do some real exciting stuff this year.

  • A Fine Messi

    Not to boot, he looks a bit like Channing Tatum from Magic Mike. Amiright? Ladies? Back me up on this one.

  • Rhino40

    And he is also awesome in the dot: has won 100% of his face-offs last 5 games played…I said “face-off”–hehe.

  • theoutregirl

    I’m happy to take a guy who can get a shorty on Miller AND is willing to drop the gloves with Simmonds. Bring on the Cr0b!

  • Josh

    Hockey and Crabb-cakes, thats what DC does!!!!

  • Let’s hope he’s tough and not… *puts on sunglasses*


  • J

    Toronto blogger already said not to expect any defense out of Crabb. Going to defer to their judgment as someone who has actually seen the player.

  • Don’t trust bloggers. Those guys are idiots.

  • J

    Here we go, from Felix Potvin:
    For Caps fans: Joey Crabb isn’t a good two way guy. He’s a 4th liner who will score some pretty goals, but he’s a fourth liner.

  • That’s precisely what I slotted him as in the article directly above the comment you have left.

    Ward and Brouwer and someone else should occupy the wing on the top three lines.

  • gg

    Not quite Channing Tatum, but definitely not hard on the eyes. He’s going to give Laich a run for his money! But really, I’m thinking he looks like a combo young Gary Busey and the bad guy from ‘Karate Kid’…