According to multiple reports Thursday night including Yahoo’s Dmitry Chesnokov and TSN’s Aaron Ward, unrestricted free agent center Mikhail Grabovski has agreed to a one-year contract with the Capitals.
Grabovski, 29, was bought out by the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this summer and always seemed like a potential fit in Washington, where center depth is a concern following Mike Ribeiro’s departure.
A three-time 20-goal scorer and consistent offensive producer for much of his career, Grabovski (94 goals, 123 assists in 367 NHL regular season games) saw his numbers decline after he fell out of favor with Toronto Coach Randy Carlyle last season. The two never saw eye to eye and after being bought out Grabovski called his former coach an “[expletive] idiot” in an interview with TSN. Still, the center has a track record of driving possession and would undoubtedly add skill and necessary depth down the middle in Washington.
Thursday night Grabovski’s agent, Gary Greenstin, said “tomorrow will be big announcement” but declined to elaborate further.
Grabovski will likely slot into the lineup as the second-line center. In July, General Manager George McPhee dubbed Brooks Laich the heir apparent to that spot but circumstances can obviously change based on what players are available and for what price. (Case in point: Remember when the Caps unexpectedly signed goaltender Tomas Vokoun on July 2, 2011?)
Belarusian television station ONT first reported Thursday that Grabovski and the Capitals were close to a deal.