His agent Gary Greenstin told me earlier this week that Grabovski wanted a short-term deal with “the right team,” putting ice time and opportunity above all else.
To that end, the Capitals appear to be that right team, after his buy-out from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Caps coach Adam Oates believes Grabovski can put himself in a position to earn a lucrative multi-year deal next summer with a strong season with the Caps in 2013-14. To that end, Oates made a trip to Los Angeles earlier this month to meet with Grabovski and his agent, a meeting designed to help sell the player on coming to the District.
“My pitch to him was not a hard sell,” Oates told me. “I kind of wanted to find out what happened in Toronto. I told him he was a good player in a unique situation because the league never had this buyout clause before. While emotionally it’s a tough thing, you’re in a unique position and you can consider any team that wants you. I gave him some information as to why he should consider ours.
“He fits into our puzzle. I talked to him about what a puzzle means to me, his skills set and where he’d fit.”
The essential question here is whether Grabovski gives the Capitals what Mike Ribeiro took with him to the Phoenix Coyotes – or something better – for a far cheaper cost.
J.P. believes he will, based on his possession numbers pre-Randy Carlyle in Toronto and the notion that he’ll be a better fit with players like Troy Brouwer and Martin Erat than was Ribeiro, with whom they never clicked 5-on-5. And it’s at even strength where the most glaring differences between Grabovski and Ribeiro are evident, to the Capitals’ benefit.
OK, that’s not the most glaring difference – that would be avoiding a $5.5 million cap hit and a long-term deal with a significantly older center.
GM George McPhee has given Oates a nice little toy chest of offensive weaponry to play with this season. Let's see if that's enough to hang in the Metrosexual Division.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mikhail Grabovski
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Adam Oates