Cause For Concern?

Posted on June 17, 2014 by Adam Stringham

Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Capitals' General Manger Brian MacLellan had a conference call with the press on Monday to discuss the promotion of Ross Mahoney to assistant general manager; Mahoney has been the Capitals' director of amateur scouting for the past 16 seasons. Some big questions were answered during the call, but the fate of Mikhail Grabovski is yet to be decided. If the Capitals don't re-sign Grabovski they will likely look for a proven top 6 center in the free agent or trade market.

If this sounds familiar, it's because we heard something not so different from the Capitals last off season. Last July George McPhee announced that the Capitals were happy with Brooks Laich centering the second line. 

The Capitals have been trying to find a consistent second line center for years. Neither Johansson nor Kuznetsov are strangers to the position, both players were listed as centers at the time of their draft. In recent years Johansson has spent the majority of his time playing on the wing, likely due to a perceived lack of defensive ability. Johansson hasn't shown any real progression over the last couple of seasons, so it's unclear why the organization would be willing to give him a spot they penciled Brooks Laich into last year. Laich hasn't been a member of the Capitals' roster with any consistency over the past couple of seasons, so gambling on him playing a full season is a big risk.  Kuznetsov has the potential to be a top 6 center in the NHL, but is he ready to have such a heavy load on his shoulders? Even if Kuznetsov was ready, would he (or any of these other options) be a better fit than Grabovski?

Photo Credit: Adam Stringham
In his short time with the Capitals Kuznetsov struggled in regards to puck possession, hopefully those numbers were the result of him being unfamiliar with the NHL. Grabovski was the one of the Capitals' best forwards at 5v5 when the score was close. His possession statistics where high, relative to the rest of the team, and would likely improve under Barry Trotz. Grabovski is reportedly seeking a deal worth around 25 million dollars over 5 years; the Capitals can afford that contract comfortably

Mikhail Grabovski is the best fit for the second line center position here in Washington. It is possible that all of this talk about using a player from in house is nothing but a ruse...

I am in agreement with Japers' Rink's Becca H. The Capitals are likely attempting to not appear desperate for Grabovski to return, but in reality they very much are. So don't worry too much.

Follow me on twitter @Stringhama and @TalkTheRed

Special thanks to Andy Hom. 

Posted in: Washington Capitals
next up:

Another Brick in the Wall

June 16, 2014

Is new goaltending coach Mitch Korn simply a comfort hire or will he help improve the netminders for the Caps?

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