When the Capitals waived Michael Nylander last week, it was clear that they had a plan of attack for how to make his $4.875 million cap hit disappear once again this season. Last year, they were able to pawn him off to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as well as off to Finland. This time around, they’re sending him to Rochester of the AHL as the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Kevin Oklobzija reports.
“He’s coming here to help our young guys,” Panthers assistant general manager Mike Santos said. “He’s not coming here grumbling. He wants to resurrect his career for one more shot.”
A year ago the Capitals decided they didn’t need Nylander and he was loaned to Jokerit-Helsinki in the Finnish League 3-4-7 in 14 games) and also played for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL (2-16-18 in 24 games) on Washington’s dime.
In 2008-09, his last NHL season, he scored 9-24-33 in 72 games for the Capitals. For his career, he has 209-470-679 in 920 NHL games for the Whales, Flames, Lightning, Blackhawks, Capitals, Bruins and Rangers, as well as 12-22-34 in 47 Stanley Cup playoff games.
“He’s a quality person and a proven player,” said Mike Santos, assistant general manager of the Panthers. “I don’t know him personally but I know him from watching him score against my teams.
“I need a guy who can play in that No. 1 center role. He’s the best guy out there.”
It’s strictly a cap move for the Capitals and for the Panthers, they get to have a guy play on their minor league team that will help their young players out. After seeing Nylander play during the World Championships in Germany, he still has solid skills although one thing I noticed about his game is that he seemed to not want to pass the puck much at all, leading to turnovers in the offensive zone and missed opportunities.
That said, getting a guy like this to lend some veteran know-how to an AHL locker room can be a big get and for a Panthers farm team that’s very green and very young, Nylander will help out there. For the Capitals, they’re just happy to have someone take their financial mistake off their hands for them.