Capitals confirm signing of Grabovski: one year, $3 million


The Washington Capitals have confirmed that Mikhail Grabovski has agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with their club.

“Mikhail adds speed and offense to our lineup, and we are very pleased to have him sign with the Capitals,” said GM George McPhee. “We believe he will be an excellent addition to our club.”

Grabovski surpassed the 50-point milestone in back-to-back seasons going into the 2013 campaign, but he fell in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ depth charts last season and ended up with just nine goals and 16 points in 48 contests while averaging 15:34 minutes. That led to the Maple Leafs using a compliance buyout on him with four seasons left on his five-year, $27.5 million contract.

After that move, Grabovski had some choice words for Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle.

“He makes me [expletive] play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again,” Grabovski said last month. “Yeah, I don’t score goals. I need to work more about that. I know that. But if you feel support from your coach [you’ll find success]. I don’t feel any support from this [expletive] idiot.”

Grabovski’s agent, Gary Greenstin told the Canadian Press that he expects his client to surpass his career-high of 58 points in Capitals coach Adam Oates’ system, provided that Grabovski is used as a top-six forward. He should get that kind of opportunity following the departure of Mike Ribeiro.


Should the Caps try to sign Grabovski?

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.