TSN is reporting that the Washington Capitals have signed free agent forward Mike Knuble from the Philadelphia Flyers for two years at $2.8M a season. Knuble is a big forward who excels in front of the opponents net, something the Caps really need. In addition, TSN is reporting that former Capitals enforcer, Donald Brashear, has gotten big money, $1.4M a season for 2 years, from the New York Rangers.
I’ll have more on this as details come out.
We just finished the conference call with both Caps GM George McPhee and Knuble. Here are the highlights:
– It appears Knuble will be on the Washington top line as McPhee said that the Caps needed a player that can go the net with Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Ovechkin. George commented, “Mike has made a living there going to the net.”
– On the process and why he picked Knuble, McPhee said, “We had 4 or 5 wingers identified and we rank them internally. We went through everything and found he is the right guy for us and it was the right deal for him. We wanted to add a guy today and we replaced a 13 goal scorer (Viktor Kozlov) with a 27 goal scorer. All of the research we’ve done said this is a real ideal free agent signing for us.”
– When asked if the Caps were now done in free agency McPhee replied, “Probably, but if something makes sense then we’ll do it. We’ll probably talk over the next couple of months with other teams to see if there is anything else we can do.”
– George was also asked if because of the salary cap situation that Brooks Laich would now be the #2 center going into the season and he said that was the case and that Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau had discussed it with #21. McPhee also said that Laich had asked to play that position before with Washington.
– I asked McPhee about the Colton Orr (4 years at $1M per season) and Brashear signings and if you just need a tough guy/enforcer for the regular season and not the playoffs. Here are some of his quotes on that topic: “Those are good deals for those guys. Brash did a great job here for us for the last 3 years…salaries for tough guys have gone down…Sometimes in parts of the season, in about 10 games, you need them but most parts of the season, in the big games, you would rather have talent.”
– Mike Knuble indicated that he was negotiating right up until yesterday with the Flyers in the hopes of staying in Philadelphia. “The Philly thing didn’t end until yesterday so you just pick your head up out of the sand and look around. I wanted to stay on the east coast and [DC] is a good city, one of the teams in the Eastern Conference, and a team on the verge of something great, so Washington is a good fit.”
– Knuble, who has played on a line with the likes of Peter Forsberg and Joe Thornton, was asked about playing with the Great #8. “It is a great chance to play with that guy and there is no guarantee that I will mesh with him but I have confidence I can.”
– The 6’3”, 230-pound right wing, who will turn 37 on Saturday and has scored at least 21 goals in each of the last six seasons in addition to playing in 3 games for the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings in 1998, considers himself to be a young 37. He said that he has “low mileage because he really didn’t start playing on a regular shift in the NHL until he was 30.”
– Finally, when asked how he would fit in with the Caps he said, “I’m not a solution, just a piece to the puzzle. I’m really looking forward to a great season and I think the team is ready to take the next step.”