5 things to know about new Capitals forward Michael Raffl

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Kevin Brown
·3 min read
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5 things to know about new Caps forward Michael Raffl originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals acquired veteran left-winger Michael Raffl from the Flyers before the NH Trade Deadline on Monday in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Though the trade was quickly followed by Washington's blockbuster move sending Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik to the Detroit Red Wings for Anthony Mantha, Raffl's addition will help shore up the fourth line. 

Peter Laviolette can rely on Raffl's veteran presence in the locker room and on the penalty kill. The 32-year-old forward's role with the Flyers was to be a consistent performer for around 13 minutes per game over eight seasons and 504 games. His scoring touch has lost a bit of an edge in the last few seasons, as Raffl hasn't scored double-digit goals since the 2017-18 season. 

With Raffl headed to the nation's capital, here are five fascinating facts about the new Washington Capital:

Raffl scored his first NHL goal against a current Caps goaltender. 

On December 9, 2013, Raffl managed to score his first NHL goal against the Ottawa Senators. On a nice heads-up assist from Wayne Simmonds, Raffl slotted home the opening goal of a game the Senators eventually won, 5-4. Starting in net was a 31-year-old Craig Anderson, who's currently on the Caps taxi squad behind goaltenders Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek go down. 

Despite not having the biggest role, Raffl also has found a way to score 20 game-winning goals over his NHL career in Philadelphia. He's scored two of them this season, but his first came just a month into his Flyers career when he helped Philadelphia to a win over the Oilers

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Raffl will become the Capitals' first ever Austrian player

From the United States and Canada to Europe and Russia as well as everywhere else in between, the Capitals have had players from all over the world play for the franchise since joining the NHL in 1974. Even countries like Belarus and Lithuania have been represented on the Caps, but until now, no Austrian has even laced up the skates for Washington. 

Raffl is the NHL's third all-time scoring Austrian with a balanced 160 points (81 goals, 79 assists). The lefty scored eight points for the Flyers in 34 games this season. 

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He's from a hockey family 

Born in Villach, Austria, Raffl has the sport running through his blood. His father, Peter, played professionally in Austria and even competed for the national team in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. Raffl's older brother, Thomas, also competes professionally for Austrian powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg. 

Raffl himself started playing for his hometown team at just 16 years old, starring at EC Grand Immo VSV for 10 seasons before playing a couple of years in Sweden. He's also played in six world championships and at the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

The Caps' roster remains the NHL's oldest with Raffl addition 

Washington came into the 2021 campaign sporting the league's oldest roster with an average age of 29.7, which was a full 1.1 years on average less than the second-oldest roster, Toronto. At 32 years old, Raffl likely helps the Capitals keep that title. 

His first game with the Caps will come against the only NHL team he's ever played for

After playing a season for the Flyers AHL affiliate, Raffl has played his entire NHL career for the Philadelphia Flyers. Now after his first move, Raffl's first game with the Capitals will come against, you guessed it, the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. 

Though it has not been confirmed Raffl will be active for his Capitals debut against the team that traded him, it's quite the scheduling coincidence that Raffl could already get to prove to the Flyers that he still has plenty of meaningful minutes to contribute. 

Tune in to NBC Sports Washington on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for pregame coverage of the Capitals' 7 p.m. game against the Flyers in Capital One Arena.