Capitals ‘needed’ Grabovski, says Backstrom

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In the eyes of one player, Mikhail Grabovski is exactly who the Washington Capitals needed to acquire this off-season.

On Friday, the Capitals announced they had signed Grabovski to a one-year, $3 million deal.

“It’s great. I think we needed him,” Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post.

“He’s been really good in Toronto, I think, so we’re excited to have him come in. He’s a great player, he brings a lot of speed and skill. He can score goals too. He’s a smart centerman that hopefully will do a lot for this team.”

The 29-year-old center struggled this past season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, producing only nine goals and 16 points in 48 games.

He had eclipsed the 50-point plateau in each of the previous two seasons.

The Leafs used one of their compliance buyouts on Grabovski – who had four years remaining on his five-year deal with the Leafs, at an annual cap hit of $5.5 million – in early July prior to the opening of free agency.

Despite his struggles during the 2013 lockout-shortened campaign, he can still add a scoring punch to a Capitals team that surged late in the regular season and finished fourth in the league in goals-for, averaging 3.04 goals per game.

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