Over the summer, general manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates worked together to land arguably the most talented player on the free-agent market, Mikhail Grabovski.

Grabo, who was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs because they don’t understand teh corsis, signed a short, cap-friendly deal with Washington: one year for three million dollars. He did so, presumably, to maximize his value as a free agent heading into the 2014-15 season.

We knew all that coming in. Let me repeat: we knew this already. But, like finding a lost puppy in the woods and feeding him, it’s now hard to think of parting company from him. We want to keep Grabo forever and ever and dress him up in cute outfits.

Washington Capitals’ senior writer Mike Vogel broached the whole re-signing thing to Grabovski on Sunday. The Belarusian’s answer was telling.

How has your change and adaption been to Washington on and off the ice? And are you happy enough in Washington to stay past this season?

That’s a good question. Yeah. I like everything. I like it here. A lot of funny guys in the shower right now laughing at me. I enjoy… I hope I can make this team better and give something from me to this team then we fight for playoff.

I know it’s only been a half a season, but do you feel on the ice like your role is more important here. Are you happier with your situation and your role here than you were last year in Toronto?

Yeah for sure, 100 percent, because I feel more comfortable play games. It’s much easy to play when people trust in you and support you. So for me I just try to work hard every night and feel better about that and a little bit more relaxed and just enjoy to play.

Is it just me or does Grabovski dodge the question altogether? I don’t blame him one bit. Uh, something, something. Let’s make the playoffs.

After being promised by the coaching staff an opportunity to showcase his offensive talent, Grabovski has flourished in D.C. while playing on the second and third lines. In his first game as a Capital, he scored a hat trick. He is currently the team’s third leading scorer, averaging nearly a point per game (30 points in 37 games).

Grabovski is also currently the fourth-leading scorer among unrestricted free agents heading into the 2014-15 season and at 29-years-old, could be considered the best value for a team looking for a long-term solution at center.

If Grabovski wants to cash in, this summer is the time to do so. After being bought out and humiliated by the Leafs, he has positioned himself perfectly for another big pay day.

You would have to think that if Grabovski reaches the free-agent market, he could demand a five-year deal or longer making $5 million-plus per season.

With Evgeny Kuznetsov targeted to make his NHL debut either later this season or next, that creates a conundrum for Caps management. Do you give big money and a long term to a talented player beginning to leave his prime? Or do you depend on younger players like Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Tom Wilson to fill the void in the top six?

It’s a big decision and one that will impact the team for years to come. And judging by this interview, it appears the Caps are at the very least, interested in an extension.

P.S. – Grabo needs a haircut.


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  • Lenin

    In soviet Russia contract signs you

  • Chittagong

    You sign Grabo you can’t depend on Marge because he is too soft, kuz isn’t coming, and Wilson needs more time to develop. McPhee will probably give laich and Tbro extensions and let Grabo walk though…

  • Marky Narc

    Ian, you read my mind – I was thinking about this during the less exciting parts of last night’s game (i.e. the entire game). The salary cap is going up up up for next season and I think we still have one more amnesty buyout we can use. Keeping Grabo seems realistically doable and it seems like it could be done without having to let assets elsewhere go.

  • Ben Reed

    Dope shirt, got one myself.

  • Jack Conness

    BRING HIM BACK! End of story!

  • VeggieTart

    Re-sign the guy. Please!!

  • It’s doable and if you’re going to back-up the Brinks truck to somebody’s house, it’s Grabo’s because not only is he talented, but he is a possession master. I love the guy. The problem ultimately ends up being, this franchise lately has valued the older/more proven/more expensive commodity (Erat, Erskine, Chimera, etc) over developing their younger players for those roles (Forsberg, Perreault, Orlov in the beginning of the year). They are very close to the top limit of the salary cap currently, their core is kind of old, and they aren’t a great possession team, which is not a good place to be at.

    Kuznetsov should be a top six player immediately whenever he gets here. Tom Wilson should already be off the fourth line. Marcus Johansson appears capable of even more responsibility in the future, such as centering the second line. I think it’s time to start bridging towards the future a little bit, but if they find a way to keep Grabovski here (even for long term + big dough), I would not be against it (like I would have been with Ribeiro).

  • araporrada21

    Oates won’t play Kuznetsov this season unless the Caps are in the dumps

  • capsfansteve
  • Why do you think so?

  • Shaun Phillips

    Resign Grabo 4-5 yr @ ~$5 mil, buy out Laich (Beagle as 4C much cheaper) and send Volpatti back to Hershey. This should give leave money to resign guys that are up after next season (Ward, Mojo, Fehr, Beagle, Green, etc). Use next season to give Wilson, Kuzy, and Burakovsky (maybe?) time to mature with split time between Hershey and Caps (ie lots of ice-time, no need to be healthy scratches/4th line). Think Mojo stays at wing due to depth down the middle (Nicky, Grabo, Kuzy, Beagle), unless one of them switches to wing.

  • JoeA

    I would hope the Caps re-sign Grabo. We really have no idea how Kuznetsov will adapt to the NHL, and I would be somewhat reluctant to pin hopes on such a young player who is developing a bit of a history with injuries. Besides, if Kuznetsov pans out then the Caps could perhaps have depth down the center – something they traded away to Anaheim.

    A fading Grabo would still project as a better option as a 2C than an unknown quantity in Kuznetsov, a center who has played 1LW for 2 seasons in Mojo, and a winger who has some years to go before being trusted as a top six player in Wilson.

    A Russian speaking veteran center may be just the thing that could help Kuznetsov adapt quickly to the the North American game.

  • dylan wheatley

    he most certainly does not need a haircut

  • Myan

    Ian, how could say that Grabo needs a haircut?? He is absolutely ROCKING that flow. Cmon!

  • Cthulu’s Alarm Clock

    If it’s at all possible: Yes, we really need to resign Grabo. 5-year, $25-million would put him at 34-35 at the end of it, and even though that might be a bit old for an NHL player, he’s a proven NHL talent that has absolutely made this team better by being here. Only reason I would be reluctant is the possibility of Grabo getting injured, but you could make that argument for any player. He certainly doesn’t have the history of injury that Kuzya does, so…

  • FredDupuis

    Grabo didn’t understand a word the interviewer said!

  • Putin

    Grabo won’t sign for less than 6M a year. 3 for 20 M, 4 for 25 M or 5 for 30 M will be a deal.

  • araporrada21

    Just a though, Oates may have went to see him back home during the lockout to keep contact but I don’t see him jumping in after the Olympic break.

  • pixiestix

    i like that photo. his eyes are twinkling & i’m imagining the secret thought bubble above his head saying “why…YES, i WOULD like very much like to re-sign with the Caps”

  • Matt

    Don’t forget the cap is up to 71 and change next year. Per capgeek, Caps should be 10 mil under before accounting for Kuzya. Orlov and Latta are RFA’s. In all likelihood one of the 4.5 mil guys (Brooks, Erat) is gone too. There seems to be more than enough room for Grabo and Kuzya money wise.

  • You’re going to have to explain your logic on how Laich will be gone. Compliance buyout? The chances of that happening are very, very, very low.

  • If he’s unable to play a regular schedule, I’d think it’d be more likely he would do the LTIR into oblivion thing like Pronger in PHI.

  • Exactly. And he may get a jersey this week.

  • Matt

    That’s two reasonable explinations made for me. He is taking up 6-7% of the cap to penalty kill WHEN he can get on the ice. And yes, a Laich at < 100% is better than Volpatti, the stats clearly show a wadm corpse might be as well. But, you wouldn't rather have that money shore up the blue line?