Photo: Chris Gordon

I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Mikhail Grabovski is now a former Capital. Wednesday afternoon, Grabo signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Metropolitan rival New York Islanders. The talented center will be on Long Island until he’s 34.

Grabo’s deal is one year shorter and worth $7.5 million less than the contract Brooks Orpik signed with the Caps. I can’t wait to see how well that works out.

Last night, while discussing his new toys, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan admitted that he chose a second defenseman over re-signing Grabovski because the Belorussian was unrealistic with his contract demands.

“I’m not sure where [Grabovski's contract] is going to end up,” MacLellan told the gathered media. “At some point we had to make a decision whether we wanted to go two defensemen or one defenseman, and we made the decision for two.”

According to MacLellan, Grabovski was forced to lower his number on Wednesday. He also expressed disappointment that Grabo couldn’t present the team with a more realistic offer “two, three days ago.”

The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt spoke to Grabovski’s agent Gary Greenstin on Wednesday, and Grabo’s rep said that he never thought the Capitals were very serious in retaining their client.

Without Grabovski, the Capitals, with only $1.2 million left in cap space, must get creative to fill their not-at-all-new second line center hole. They can choose to find a cheaper option on the free market, make a trade (they have a lot of veteran options to deal at forward), or look internally.

A few weeks ago, MacLellan pointed at Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, and prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov as potential replacements, though each are not optimal solutions. Laich is injury prone and more of a defensive specialist. Johansson has played wing lately and is unproven. Kuznetsov has the offensive ability to handle the new position, but is very poor at face-offs and is still learning the North American game.

In the end, Grabovski will be a difficult player to replace. He finished the year as the team’s best possession player at forward and helped bring offense to both the second and third lines. He also had a ton of chemistry with Alex Ovechkin when he played with him. I’ll even go one further: if Grabovski would not have suffered an ankle injury mid-way through the season, his presence alone likely would have pushed the Capitals into the playoffs.

Instead, now he’s gone. It will be interesting to see what the team does to respond to his loss.

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  • dcr61288

    Maybe the caps trade mike green for grabo? A guy can wish can’t he

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland
  • Luke Anthony

    Got less money and term than Orpik did. That hurts. Hopefully Kuznetsov has a good year or we could be in trouble.

  • bggb

    How much was the discount for including Kulemin?

    Jesus, $5m/4 years seems very low.

  • Owen Johnson

    So we signed Orpik for more money, and Grabo was asking for “too much” So he probably asked GMBM for more money than he signed with NYI. Jesus, are the Caps less desirable to play for than the friggin’ Islanders?

  • dylan wheatley

    no but its ok we signed orpik for more money and longer term

  • Simonezero

    No no no no no no no

  • Barrett

    my bad.

  • Toph Love

    Good riddance WAY overrated missed almost 1/3 of the season last year was asking for over 6 mil but sat 2 days and realized he needed to discount himself

  • Luke Anthony

    He was also the Caps best possession forward.

  • Fletcher22

    *intangibles* hockey is nonsense. it’s not real
    —————————
    You wrote the above earlier and I’m trying to figure out what exactly you meant.
    Chemistry, leadership, culture etc…you’re saying none of exists? Just trying to understand your comment better.

  • Toph Love

    Read stats anyway that make you feel good USA had better possession than Belgium yesterday how did that work out?

  • Barrett

    Free agent options for center and what their 2013 cap hit was:

    Mike Ribeiro $5.5mil
    David Legwand $4.5mil
    Derek Roy $4.0mil
    Saku Koivu $3.5mil
    Steve Ott $2.95mil
    Michal Handzus $1.0mil
    Scott Gomez $900k
    Andrei Loktionov $725k

    Don’t think any of those guys are a solid 2C, however Handzus has played there for the Blackhawks and could actually fit in under the cap. The Niskanen/Orpik deals crushed any flexibility for building a team this year.

  • Jeff Yoders

    Ribeiro and his crack pipe are available!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    It’s like those deals are… prohibitive.

    http://media1.giphy.com/media/v9rfTQBNqdsSA/giphy.gif

  • Barrett

    He was also their best forward at the faceoff circle

  • Luke Anthony

    My vote is Loktionov. Kid has potential and should be able to put up decent numbers. Really best option with how close we are to the cap.

  • Luke Anthony

    I don’t know, I don’t watch or like soccer.

  • Zachary Adomanis

    I like my brothers idea. It might burn a bridge for GMBM but its worth a shot. Extend an offer sheet to Ryan Johansen of Columbus, go after Joe Thorton and then move Green and Mojo, Tada! Cup.

  • sargeantmofo

    well just stick my wanker in a hand-mixer and turn it on. this is deflating…

    trying to think positively… I’m guessing our top line will be MoJo or Kuznetsov with Backstrom and Ovi. Top line wasn’t great last year, but no way Ovi and Backstrom aren’t on the top line.

    For 2nd line… I think we should play the Chimmer/Fehr/Ward line as our 2nd line. They were clearly our best line last year and they have some sort of Sedin-twins-like chemistry that can’t be explained. But it is awesome, and they threaten to score on almost every shift. I can just hear Joe B and Locker saying “there goes that line again!”

    Then put MoJo/Laich/Brouwer or Kuznetsov/Laich/Brouwer or something as our 3rd line. Yes I get contracts and money and yadda yadda. But it should be about production, not your contract that gets you PT (unless your name is Ovi or Backstrom, of course).

    Then fill out the 4th line with Beagle, Wilson, and Latta/Volpatti/Conner. I kinda hate keeping Wilson down on the 4th line, but wtf else you gonna do with him?

  • Toph Love

    Ok then watch mike green highlights with best possession d turnover the puck for opps direct goal after at least 6 games last year

  • sargeantmofo

    I like your creative thinking. Johansen is a beast. I’d totally go from 6 to Midnight if we were creative enough to get him. It’s tough to see Thornton either waiving his NTC or accepting a move to the Caps.

    But we are never that savvy. So I won’t even waste the effort to get my hopes up.

  • Toph Love

    He was asking for over 6 mil, caps called his bluff and spent what they had. After he sat a day with 3 or more better c he realized he better take what comes next.

  • johnnymorte

    This is BS. This man had hard shots, sexy dekes, and bonafide jokes. Aside from the injury, he earned a 5 mil payday. We need Niskanen like we need a second butthole. I thought McLellan was GM,but now I realize that it’s Todd Reirden.

  • Barrett

    Time for GMBM to wheel and deal :

    1. Trade Joel Ward and his $3mil cap hit to the Calgary Flames for a draft pick. They are below the cap floor and currently only have two RW under contract.

    2. Trade Marcus Johansson and his $2mil cap hit along with John Erskine and his $1.96mil cap hit to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a draft pick. They lack depth at center and defense.

    3. Place both Aaron Volpatti and Jack Hillen on waivers to the AHL. That frees up $1.275mil in cap space.

    4. Trade Jason Chimera plus draft picks to Chicago for Patrick Sharp. This gets Chicago under the cap, adds back a veteran left winger on a closing contract and re-stocks their draft talent.

    5. Recall Michael Latta from the AHL.

    6. Sign free agent centers : Michal Handzus at +/- $1mil, Andrei Loktionov at +/- $1mil and Zenon Konopka at +/- $1mil

    Sharp – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Loktionov – Brouwer
    Laich – Handzus – Fehr/Wilson
    Beagle – Konopka – Latta

    Alzner – Carlson
    Orpik – Green
    Orlov – Niskanen

    Leaves $2.225mil in cap space with Handzus at $1.25mil, Loktionov in at $1.5mil and Konopka at $925k.

    Odds of this happening : 0.008%

  • CappyTal

    THIS is the money they wouldn’t pay? Less than they paid freaking Orpik?!

  • Owen Johnson

    Possession in hockey is measured by shot attempts. Possession in soccer is measured by how long the team actually has the ball. Two entirely different sports that measure possession in different ways. Also the possession was 51-49 last night. When measured in hockey terms, this was Belgium’s “possession.” It’s amazing that we even had a chance. I’m naming my first son Timothy Howard Johnson.

  • Barrett

    OK, then watch the actual games and you won’t see Green turning the puck over – his partners mostly did. That put him in numerous 2v1 and 3v1 scenarios that ended badly.

  • Toph Love

    Nope 6x green fumble it behind the net that lead to immediate goals by opps. Give me a couple of days and I will provide games and times.

  • Bilal

    Hopefully we can clear some space by moving say, I dunno, Erskine, and use the money to get someone cheap, like Legwand or something. Or maybe trade some of our right wingers, MoJo or some other assets, likes picks, for a good 2C? The guys I can see moving are Wardo and Brouwer because of there good seasons last year (sorry Brouwer Rangers). We can have Ovechkin and Tom Wilson as our top 2 RW

  • Austin

    he looks like a crack head, but is he actually a druggy?

  • Austin

    hmm. not to shabby, too bad the team looks completely different so its so hard to imagine it happening but like you said the chances of that happening are 0.008% (More like 0.000000000000000000000001%)

  • Toph Love

    You are correct sir, but my pt wasn’t so much the actual stat but more how meaningless they can be or how you can ( has Peter did the other day) twist them to reflect what you want. That’s great we took the most ( and weakest poor shots ) while he was on the ice. He is easily replaced

  • Barrett

    Don’t forget to look for the two GWG’s he had or any assists to a GWG.

  • Matt Lauer

    This is the ugly little cherry on top of the even uglier sundae that was this particular week of Caps personnel management.

  • Luke Anthony

    Don’t think Chicago trades Sharp and Konopka is suspended for the first 20 games of the season. I think we should definitely sign either Loktionov or Handzus though, need help at C.

  • Toph Love

    6>2

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    Trade Green, boom, they’re under the cap. Chill.

  • JenniferH

    Yeah, after waiting almost a day and a half and the frenzy died down it got that low. We know he was asking between 5.5 and 6 m originally and for how many years we don’t even know. *sigh*

  • Barrett

    good catch, thanks. completely forgot about that. i picked him based on his defense, penalty killing, toughness and faceoff ability so if there was a little more wiggle room with the cap we could chase another similar 4C. might even get him for even cheaper and use Latta/Beagle as the 4C until he returns.

    Sharp has been rumored as a cap casualty via trade for a while now. look at their depth at left wing. for his age and cost, he’s going soon.

  • Pete

    Last I heard he can’t find it, our management must have stolen it off him.

  • Diller M

    Since whoever plays second line center won’t be with the team next year, please not Kuzya… How about Laich, or Mojo I would be fine losing either of them next off-season.

  • Barrett

    here’s another potential target : Peter Mueller. He played for the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland after 6 seasons in the NHL. Looking to return to the NHL.

  • JenniferH

    Sigh. Obviously I’m not happy about this. But I think Grabo outpriced himself. Look, he didn’t go in the frenzy of Trade day. He didn’t go until later into the second day. We know he was asking for closer to 6 million and now we find out that he went for 5. That’s a lower asking price. Oh, and now his agent says that BMac was “all talk” and wasn’t serious, but pre-trade day he was all positive about how things were looking good and positive. Sounds like typical agent BS-talk.

    I’m not happy, but I am NOT going to crap all over BMac. He said the defense was priority. The same thing we’ve been saying for over a year. He said that he was going to shore up defense and a back-up goalie. And that is exactly what he did. He said it, he did it and he’s got a great, experienced coach who has great, experienced assistants who know these players. I am not going to worry about what is going to happen with open positions right now when we do have strong players, when we do have a great, experienced staff for the first time in forever who can whip this team into a cohesive kick-ass shape and development camp is yet to come.

    If we are a mess come the season, then I’ll be worried, then I’ll moan about it… but now? BMac addressed our biggest problems. And I am confident that we will be an awesome team that will have us all gobsmacked come this fall. Because we have the right people putting those pieces in play now. If I’m wrong, then I’ll admit it then, but things feel right now. And I’m not going to borrow trouble now especially when we finally have such a great defense, freaking Ovi, freaking Backstrom, the freaking GreenLine, freaking Holtbeast, and freaking Kuzya.

  • Barrett

    The team is going to look very similar next year when Ward, Volpatti, Fehr, Erskine and Hillen’s contracts expire.

  • Luke Anthony

    He’s a winger though, but he can play the left side. Could be another good value signing, hopefully B-Mac is smart and recognizes there is still value moves he can make.

  • Toph Love

    Very well said Jennifer ( much nicer and more tactful than me). Agree with all of it except the Greenline, but the article and comments on Jasper’s Rink have swayed my opinion of MG52, with the right pairings he might be back to his former self. I remain very optimistic!

  • CDizz

    Sign Tim Howard. He can do anything.

  • Igor Kleyner

    This collective freak-out over false Orpik v Grabo choice is absolutely hilarious. On June 30th Caps had 4 NHL defensemen. Today they have 6. Last time I checked, you need 6, and if you have fewer than 6, you are going to be screwed, unless one of them is Suter or Doughty. Yes, the money is a bit too much, and yes, the term is longer than what I would like, but $1M is not going to make or break the cap picture this year, and I am not going to worry too much about what happens in four years, or even two. Bottom line is, there wasn’t a single D-man on Caps roster 2 days ago who could handle a real NHL power forward in the crease; now there is one.

  • JenniferH

    You no love the GreenLine? Aww. I ♥ them. And unlike most, I think they will still do awesome-sauce.

    I also, unlike most, am quite glad that one Mr. Mike Green is sticking around because like so many others, I think that Oates’ “system” screwed with him too. I think he’ll be brought back closer to his former glory by Trotz. (I also already kinda ♥ Trotz.)

    Anyhoo, thank you, and I do hope that us in-the-minority optimists are right and the pessimists are wrong because GO CAPS! And I know that all the pessimists want us to be right too because GO CAPS!

  • JenniferH

    This. {Nods emphatically.} That’s what I keep saying.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Now, I am quite amused by “Orpik is a bad hockey player” contention… 6 months ago, David Poile gave Dan Bylsma none other than Brooks Orpik to put on the ice against the best forwards in the world – while more than a few very capable and eligible D-men (Johnson x2, etc.) were left behind. My question to the subscribers of the aforementioned contention is – did Orpik’s game really deteriorated so much in the last 6 months? Or are these two men – Poile and Bylsma – total hockey idiots?

  • Igor Kleyner

    Grabo’s agent is Russian. I suspect “all talk” came out a bit more dismissive than Gary meant for it to be.

  • Austin

    yea true but I meant this season

  • JenniferH

    It’s an agent, hard to give the benefit of the doubt, but OK, I’ll give you the benefit the doubt. :)

  • Austin

    Holy Sh&t why are we not trying to get Loktionov he is really good for the price we could get him for

  • Guest
  • Austin

    We should get this guy #Loktionov

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyGgTfTyymY

  • Luke Anthony

    He like just turned 24, would cost less than $1M, and is a center. Caps need to sign this kid.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Lokti already received an offer from KHL’s Lokomotiv. Took less than 24 hours. So you are not going to get him cheap. No bid is the right answer here :)

  • Luke Anthony

    Nobody will match it or even come close to it, if he wants to stay in the NHL (and he says he does) he will have to sign a cheap contract, rather it be the Caps or somebody else.

  • Jeff Yoders

    He’s not, I’m joking, buy his problem in Phoenix, supposedly, was missing several meetings, missing several team buses and getting into a locker room argument with Dave Tippett in front of the entire team. He’s clearly got some off-ice stuff going on because he was a model citizen the year before when he was a Cap.

  • Austin

    exactly i think he’s even underrated

  • H70

    The news just gets worse. And I can’t believe people were complaining that Grabo is to injury prone. What is Laich?

  • H70

    I can’t wait to see how every single player changes now that they are not under the “oates system.” :)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I think it’s a stretch to say he’s good at clearing the net. Chart is from this Neil post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fancy-stats/wp/2014/07/02/brooks-orpik-was-a-bad-signing-for-the-capitals-and-heres-why/

  • Pat Magee

    I’m sure Erskine was vastly superior……………..

    EDIT: Those are the areas that most goals are scored by anybody, regardless who’s on the ice. Let’s see Shea Weber’s chart?

  • Jack Conness

    Great video, but he is a very bad center. Since 2011-2012, Loktionov has had a 42%, 38%, and 41% face-off win percentage (298 won, 426 lost). Very bad. He does have very strong Corsi and Fenwick numbers. 53.7%, 59.5%, and 55.1% Corsi in the past three seasons. 51.3%, 59.9%, and 54.3% Fenwick the past three seasons. Take it for what it’s worth. I like numbers. There are some numbers to play with.

  • Pat Magee

    THANK YOU!!! Tired of all this gloom and doom that’s taken over RMNB…. Japers’ Rink is pulling positives out of this, at least.

    I’m more worried about who we trade for the 2C spot.

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    I agree with you…I was one of the few optimistic people about his signing and I think the subs were greatly influenced by the negative pieces that were written here as well. Everyone pretending that 2C was our issue, in my mind, wanted the Caps to do what they have been doing for the past few years – trying to get one guy on offense and ALL our problems were fixed. I am much happier with the Caps addressing what I find to be a horrible defense, Sure we may have overpaid but I hold that in order to even get mediocre (at worst rank) Dmen the Caps have to pay more (to Vets) because they know how bad the D is in Washington as well.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Oh, I am probably more doom and gloom than positive… But I would be nothing but doom/gloom if we had the same D today as we did June 30th

  • Igor Kleyner

    Statistics is indeed a very powerful and useful device. But, as a wise man once said, if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like nails.

  • JenniferH

    Me too!

  • Pat Magee

    I think about it this way: Would you rather have a great 2nd line center and no D, or Great D with no 2nd line center?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Funny. My college calculus teacher James T. Lo once said “Don’t shoot mouse with cannon” which is exactly what signing a slow, 34-year-old defenseman to a handicapping 5-year deal is.

  • 70Caps

    Lets trade brouwer and mojo for grabo and a draft pick maybe. Would that work..?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Oh, Igor. You all went and hurt his feelings.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Hurt whose feelings? And shouldn’t it be “Y’all”, since we are a South Of Mason-Dixon Line kind of blog?

  • Igor Kleyner

    “34 year old” is a fact. Slow? Yep, he is not the fastest skater, especially backwards, and that could be troublesome. You can compensate for that with a right pairing, and all 3 right-shooting D Caps have now are good skaters. But is he really that much slower today than 6 months ago? I doubt it, and do not recall a whole lot of “expert” voices yelling that he is a terrible selection for Sochi. As far as the whole handicapping thing goes – he is not handicapping anything this year. You wouldn’t find any reasonable alternatives much cheaper than him. Yeah, maybe this is the year his body falls apart – but short of that, he makes Caps better – THIS year.

  • Igor Kleyner

    I don’t think we are anywhere near Great D; more like legitimately NHL caliber albeit still with potential pitfalls, questionable depth, and expensive

  • Igor Kleyner

    Ah, now I see the picture! Well, I did say *NHL* d-man, so if his feelings are hurt, he must have sensitive skin or something

  • Barrett

    He cannot be any worse than MoJo or Kuznetsov.

  • Dave

    This article, written in February by Mike Colligan, questioned his spot on the US team:

    http://thehockeywriters.com/brooks-orpik-decline/

    Even that article didn’t predict the ridiculousness of the Caps contract:

    “he could command $5-6 million per year for three or four seasons (a raise on his current cap hit of $3.75 million)”

    The few comments from Penguins fans seem to be in agreement with the author about his decline.

  • Dave

    Man, I’m going to miss Grabo. Great player. Fun to watch. Made everyone better.

  • dylan wheatley

    what context did i say that in

  • Barrett

    Kyle Quincey : 2yrs at $4.25mil
    Willie Mitchell : 2yrs at $4.25mil
    Anton Stralman : 5yrs at $4.5mil
    Nick Holden : 3yrs at $1.65mil
    Stephane Robidas : 3yrs at $3.0mil

    Clayton Stoner : 4yrs at $3.25mil
    Dan Boyle : 2yrs at $4.5mil
    Tom Gilbert : 2yrs at $2.8mil
    Mark Fayne : 4yrs at $3.625mil
    Christian Ehrhoff : 1yr at $4.0mil
    ——————————————-

    Nikita Nikitin : 2yrs at $4.5mil
    Matt Greene : 4yrs at $2.5mil
    Andrei Markov : 3yrs at $5.75mil
    Dion Phaneuf : 7yrs at $7.0mil

    Bunch of cheaper and younger options there as well as some older and cheaper options.

  • dylan wheatley

    yes. they are total hockey idiots.

  • Barrett

    I’d trade Ward over Brouwer.

  • Igor Kleyner

    I was referring to the experts on NHL Network who unanimously picked Orpik’s contract as the worst of the crop. I remember Craig Button, for example, singing praises to Orpik-Martin as his perfect shutdown pairing. And the “ridiculousness” of the contract – well, in its last year, sure, I agree. But is he worth what he is going to get this season – in my opinion, it’s a definite maybe.

  • Igor Kleyner

    That certainly settles the whole debate then.

  • Barrett

    They actually had six NHL defenseman : John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Mike Green, Dimitri Orlov, Jack Hillen and John Erskine all under contract. Now they have eight including Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. They have $28,762,500 tied up in those defenseman. The top 6 looks good. They have to move Erskine and Hillen, right?

  • dylan wheatley

    i was hoping it would

  • Dave

    Ah, I see. I misunderstood. Thanks for clarifying.

    I’m skeptical he will even be worth his cap hit this season, but I wouldn’t rule it out completely yet. I would rule out his being worth the cap hit 5 years from now.

    Chances I’ll miss watching Grabo this season: 100%

  • Igor Kleyner

    I was referring to NHL-caliber d-men. Just because someone has an NHL contract… :)
    At $700K, Hillen is a reasonable press box ornament. I have no idea what they are going to do with Erskine; I can’t think of anything.

  • alchemistmuffin

    Let me guess…. The Caps situation is now in Grimdark……

    In all honestly, even though Grabovski is a good player, I believe Islanders overpaid for his duty. Sure he’s good at offense (just take a look at his number) but NO WAY IN HELL he’s worth that much.

    Will the Islanders be good now that Grabovski is in the team? Time will tell…. Will it bring back to haunt the team in the future? Potentially, yes.

    (PS: In all honesty, after looking through some numbers, I believe the media’s overreacting to Orpiks signing. Sure he’s lousy as hell and we overpaid him, but at this point, WE NEED DEFENSEMAN, and we need it now. We have the scoring power to some extent, but the defense was just plain absent last year. Anything that will bring good to defense is needed at this point. Beside, if it doesn’t work out well, we can always trade away Orpik in some fashion. (Unless there is a no trade clause, which then we can say BM was dumba**))

  • Barrett

    It’s bad because you are stuck paying him, and carrying his $5.5mil cap hit, until the 2018-2019 season when he is 38 years old. Players who play his style of game don’t last long into their late 30’s.

    The buyout on that contract is horrendous even if you wanted to get rid of him earlier : 2/3rds the cap hit each year for double the length of the remaining years left. If he is terrible at say age 36 (after three seasons with the Capitals) and the buy him out, they are stuck carrying that $3.63mil cap hit for 4 years.

  • dylan wheatley

    losing faceoffs and still driving play means the kid is a dynamo. hes gretzky if hes only winning 38% of faceoffs and still driving 59.9% FF. you’re describing the best player on earth right now.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Yeah, some of these would be of interest to me as well – but we have no idea if they as UFAs even wanted to consider Caps (apparently Ehrhoff had 1 team on his list)… I personally would have tried to go after Fayne, but he is a right shot (man, 2 years of Oates!) so then Robi instead of Niskanen maybe? Nikitin??? Just NO.

  • Barrett

    You sure? I thought he played center for the Panthers and Kloten Flyers. (not sure about his time in Phoenix or Colorado)

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    Yea, our coaching staff last year was beyond brutal, and we still almost made the playoffs with every player having a down year. Now with an actual NHL defensive corps and an amazing coaching staff, I can’t help but pencil us into the playoffs already.

  • Barrett

    Nikitin, Greene, Markov and Phaneuf were just shown for contract comparisons. They all re-signed before free agency.

    I agree on Ehrhoff. He had Pittsburgh probably as the sole team to sign with unless things were just way off.

    I’m not saying I wanted all those guys I listed, but you can obviously see that Washington over-paid for their two defensive signings. I wanted Brooks Orpik or Willie Mitchell to pair with Green, just didn’t think it was going to be more than $4.0mil per year and longer than 3 years.

  • InfernalDark

    So? We have D’s but we’re missing C’s again? LAICH TO THE RESCUE?

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    That would be a fun team to watch even though I’d be sad losing long-time Caps like Chimer, Ward, and MoJo.

  • Danny Lioudkevitch

    There were accusations of him doing coke. I wouldn’t be surprised. He has a temper and walks with the swagger of a 20 year old.

  • Igor Kleyner

    Yes, overpaid. That’s what happens when it’s a seller’s market, and everybody knows you MUST sign two D and you are not a tight budget team (not cap-wise, real $$)

  • Barrett

    I’d rather not rely on Kuznetsov, Johansson and Laich to fill the 2C and 3C.

    Can I pick a good D and a good center?

  • Barrett

    Thought so, but wasn’t sure. That’s how I feel about Erskine and Hillen at this point.

    I laid out my six step plan to success below.

    You can send Hillen to the AHL and put him through waivers.

    A team that is short on defenseman might take Erskine in a package deal. I sent him and Marcus Johansson to Toronto (they lack defenseman and centers) for whatever picks we can get.

  • Luke Anthony

    Yeah, maybe he played C for the Flyers, but wing in the NHL. Listed as LW/RW by elite prospects.

  • Eugene Chernov

    C’mon, use Green as 2C if you don’t need him as D. This should work.

  • HockeyGuest

    We could use Steve Ott, no joke either, he brings identity and he’s a center

  • Megan

    One of my favorite Grabo moments was when Al Koken repeatedly pronounced his name as Mikayel Grabovski during the game. Ahh we will miss you Grabo.

  • Cthulu’s Alarm Clock

    The main issue everyone has with the Orpik deal is the same reason we probably won’t be able to trade him: The $5.5 million a year for the 3-4 years left on his contract (assuming he lasts 1-2 seasons). No other team would’ve made that deal with a 33/34-year old player declining in play for the last two years, so if he continues to decline, no one’s going to take that deal off our hands…

    If we had signed that deal with, say, Ehrhoff or especially Stralman? Would’ve been a lot better.

  • tpr04

    Let me start this off by saying that I really like Grabo and would have liked to see him here on a three year deal. But I would not have given him what the Isles game him.

    The Caps need a long term solution at 2C, and Grabo, who may soon be entering the 2C/3C capability level, is really not a long term solution. After his opening night performance, he scored 10 goals the rest of the season. I know he got hurt, but his January total before the injury, was 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 games. There were factors that went into this, including his linemates and, of course, Oates, but after a very solid first couple of months, his production went into decline.

    If the Caps are looking to evenutally go for a long term 2C solution, which is clearly not coming this offseason, it might make sense to grab someone like Legwand to a shorter and less costly contract as a stopgap. Legwand, who is older than Grabo, has outproduced him in points over the past three seasons, despite spending most of that time on the Preds.

    Rumor is Toronto is trying to get Legwand, but there’s a Trotz connection, he’s a character guy, he would cost less than Grabo, and has exceeded Grabo production over the past 3 seasons. After two seasons, maybe Kuz is ready for 2C duties or someone else has been found for the long term.

  • jalabar

    “He finished the year as the team’s best possession player at forward”
    He also finished the year as the most sheltered Caps’ forward, with the most favorable zone starts against the weakest competition.

  • jalabar

    “you are stuck paying him, and carrying his $5.5mil cap hit”
    His NTC only lasts the first three years. After that you offload the contract on a team trying to pick up salary to get to the floor, as the Flyers and Rangers have done for years.

  • Barrett

    The trade market isn’t very high for a 36 or 37 year old defenseman that is past the downside of his career. Teams won’t take that contract.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I think the NYI contract is good for both parties. Grabo’s individual goal production last season doesn’t seem like a great measurement of his contributions. Grabo was used on a weak finishing second line and a middling third line for much of the year– and he still made every player he skated with better when measured by shots.

  • frowning

    Which more or less completely invalidates your opinion. Brouwer, he of 50% pp goals with more PP time than ward and little chemistry with anyone on the team. Brouwer of the constant bad turn-overs. I’ll give you a pair of glass-level tickets if Brouwer out-performs Ward this season, regardless of which team either is on.

  • tpr04

    I liked him too. I just don’t see him as a long term solution to 2C. Four years puts him in the long term category, IMO. If they can, I think Legwand is the better option at this point.

    Also, he didn’t make Laich and Brouwer better, but, in his defense, I don’t think anyone could have. He hit his groove when he centered Chimera and Ward. But that line also produced well after he left it.

    Sadly, the most obvious combinatoin – Erat/Grabo/Brouwer – was beyond Oates.

  • Barrett

    Ward is older and on the last year of his contract. I like Ward, this isn’t about getting rid of him because I think he sucks. Brouwer just still has more upside. It’s a move to create cap space.

  • Barrett

    I agree. He’s not there to score goals. He’s there to get his wingers goals (see Chimera and Ward the first few months last year). That team just got a lot better. Tavares, Okposo, Neilsen, Bailey, Grabner, Grabovski, Kulemin…nice top 6.

  • tpr04

    Most of Ward’s ES goals came after Grabo was off that line. He scored 10 out of 18 from January- April. Chimera scored half of his from January-April. Those two guys were consistent all season long, and their numbers were the same with and without Grabo.

  • whynotkuzya

    I want to see Kuzya at 2C, as was meant when he was drafted. I want Mojo to prove he is top 6 fwd or ship him off. I want laich on the 4th line, unless he proves healthy, the cut in ice time could help him stay healthy.

  • CityofOaksResident

    I’d extend Ward one more year to play with Chimera for the next two years when both would than become FAs. Those two are too good of a third line to break up. I think they each have a couple of years left.

  • CityofOaksResident

    Would much rather have Grabs at 4 years $20 million than Orpik 5 years $27.5 million. It’s easy to see Grabs will be better over the course of his contract. Caps are going to suffer a lot without a real 2C and really without a real 3C even though Fehr was fair last year.

  • Austin

    personally after reading jacks post as well as yours and just over the course of the history of reliability of the corsi and Fenwick it just shows you that they cannot always be completely relied on.

  • Austin

    Play wise kuznetsov might have done that cool pull back toe drag thing but Johansson would never have done that, personally I think Loktionov adds a little more skill as well ( just a small observation).

  • Cthulu’s Alarm Clock

    Agreed.

  • Mark Shrader

    That is the smartest thing I have ever read, people complain about Orpik and his deal but bringing in two dmen is better than just one and Grabo was injured all season

  • Chris Cerullo

    Sharp for that cheap would never happen even if they were having cap problems.

  • John M

    Wilson will get a shot on the first line next year, just wait.
    Regardless, you’ve Laich and Brouwer back together. They were all kinds of awful when together this year; I hope they are kept apart.

  • Barrett

    I think they would let him go, but it might cost us some picks and most likely a 1st rounder. I’m fine with that. I can almost guarantee they don’t want the penalties that can be levied for being over the cap during the season :
    1. Fines up to $5mil, that fine then becomes a cap penalty against the following year.
    2. Forfeiture of draft picks
    3. Forfeiture of games
    Don’t forget they need to clear room for resigning Toews and Kane. They have a bunch of young guys to replace Sharp : Saad, Bickell, Versteeg, Teravainen, Regin, etc.

  • John M

    One thing wrong with this article–I will predict now that Grabo doesn’t last the entire contract in NY. This is the Islanders we’re talking about; they are (a) usually not good enough to be in the playoffs, putting them in “seller” mode (b) not especially astute. So look for him to be traded by year 3 of this deal.

  • Donnie

    Agreed. the contract is now a ‘sunk cost’. It is what it is, and let’s look forward. How many of us will willing bite the bullet down the road if (if) we get to a couple SC finals and win one (or two). As mentioned elsewhere, bite the bullet and go for it.

    However, I did get a little twinge from the “Jagr” days of contracts and the results :/

  • Chris Cerullo

    They could deal him but not for Chimera and picks. They also have other contracts they would definitely unload before Sharp, Bickell included. The cap should go up again and they have money coming off the books. They’ll be fine IMO.

  • dylan wheatley

    this particular post was 99% a joke

  • Austin

    oh lol i guess I dont understand the stat side of hockey too well. What is your real opinion on Loktionov then?

  • Rhino40

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    (gasp, wheeze)

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rhino40

    this doesn’t begin to cover it

  • dylan wheatley

    he seems alright. playing for the kings and the devils will make anyone’s possession stats look good, but even then he seems to at least drive posession somewhat (everybody’s corsi numbers are better when he’s on the ice.)

    but…

    he’s bad at taking faceoffs (like jack said).

    i dunno, i would probably try to sign him.

  • OlietheGoalie

    I don’t know if we can call them “an amazing coaching staff” yet. Not a single preseason game has been played under Trotz system with the Caps. BUT I am still optimistic as all hell – what else is there?

  • summitwalker

    I agree, time to move Green. package him with Ward and a pick and something decent comes back. I like Green, but he is not the same anymore, I think he could use the change of scenery.

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    Nah, I’d keep Ward. Plays hard, scores game-changing goals. Steps up in the playoffs. I like him and Chimera a lot. They’ve never struck me as the problem on this team.

  • Jonathan Cribbs

    I dunno. No one got to see Hillen play. I don’t know how you judge it.

  • Jake Griffitts

    Has anyone considered pursuing Ryan O’Reilly? I’m thinking a package deal of Green + Mojo for his rights. Colorado has some decent depth at C & enough cap space for those two, and then their departure gives us enough space for at least the $7.25 mil/yr that it would probably take to sign O’Reilly. Colorado gets an offensive boost on the blueline and more depth at forward, and we get our 2C (and a premiere one, at that). It does hurt a little that he’d be making more per yer than Nicky, but I think there’s no doubt he makes us a better team, and we have enough depth on D to make up for Green (I’d also let go of Erskine and Hillen, then bring back Steve-O and Schmidt full time).

    Thoughts? Am I on to something or way off base? I admittedly still don’t know the advanced stats that well, but at face value, I’d make that deal.

  • jl9830a

    You didn’t need to spend 5/27.5 on the 6th of those defensemen, though. Orpik at that contract is laughably bad; everyone in the hockey world has been laughing at it since the second it was signed. They’d have been better off re-signing Grabovski, and getting d-man #6 on the cheap, or trading a F for a D, etc.