Latest on the Capitals and Kings – July 24, 2013.

Could the Capitals have interest in Mikhail Grabovski? Are Kyle Clifford’s days with the Kings numbered? Read on to find out.

Could Mikhail Grabovski be a good fit with the Capitals?

Could Mikhail Grabovski be a good fit with the Capitals?

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Chuck Gormley reports Brooks Laich is slotted to be the Capitals second-line center, but he could be moved over to left wing (where the Capitals are weaker) if they opt to add a center. Gormley noted former Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski remains available, and apparently three teams are interested in the 29-year-old. Capitals GM George McPhee earlier this month claimed he had little interest in this summer’s UFAs, preferring to see his team in training camp before making any further roster decisions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once the Capitals re-sign Marcus Johansson, they could have nearly $4 million in available cap space. Grabovski was bought out of a $5.5 million per season contract, and could be an affordable signing (perhaps between $2 – $3 million), though other interested teams could push up his price. Grabovski could be a good fit with the Capitals, but if McPhee remains uninterested, he could be passing up a good, affordable opportunity to bolster his depth at center.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Mike Halford speculates the LA Kings re-signing of Trevor Lewis to a one-year, $1.325 million contract could spell the end of teammate Kyle Clifford’s time with the Kings. Clifford is also a restricted free agent but unlike Lewis lacked arbitration rights.  Halford notes the Kings are pressed for cap space and Clifford is likely seeking a raise over the $870K he earned last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings now have just over $250K in cap space and 24 players under contract for next season. Something’s gotta give, and it could be Clifford. Still, it’s possible they could re-sign him, or wait for further word on Willie Mitchell’s injury status. If he’s still plagued by a knee injury, they’ll place Mitchell on LTIR, allowing them to be over the cap if they decide to re-sign Clifford. Another option is demotion, as center Tyler Toffoli is on a two-way contract. The other option, of course, could be trading Clifford.


  1. Grabovski will either go to the Washington Capitals or the Buffalo Sabres.

    • Go west young man!

      Guy will be a Leaf killer

      • Which is why he’ll go to Washington or Buffalo, to prove the Leafs wrong and do it in a fashion that gets back at Carlyle. He would be a man on a mission.

        • Up to date Tetanus and Rabies shots will be a standard part of the Leafs training camp medical evaluations this year

        • Im not so sure if I would want Darcy to sign Grabovski, although there was an interesting editorial about the belief that Ennis should move back to wing. I believe part of the reason why Grabovski has not signed with a club is because of his lack of control with his temper – makes me think if I really want this guy in the clubhouse to mentor our youth.

          If the Sabres need a centerman – I would rather have Darcy submit an offer sheet to Stepan as I don’t think the return to the Rangers would be that much. He would be a good addition to the team. Or at least sign a mentor like Morrow.

          • Steve, Darcy will do squat. He will sit on his thumbs until all his options have dried up and then tell everyone this was the best he could do because there was nothing available. Forget about an offer sheet, he’s to vanilla to do that. Get ready for another looong season.

          • Grabovski isn’t signed yet, because he is waiting till August. He just got married and likely a honeymoon, he and his agent are putting the NHL on the back burner.

    • I don’t see how he benefits the Sabres, who are rebuilding and want hardworking vets to help teach the kids.
      I would be surprised to see this happen in Buffalo.

      • Im not much of a Grabo fan but the one thing I would say about him is that he does seem to be hardworking and we have always heard he has a great work ethic, now would I want a guy who in his past 2 stops has seemed to have a bit of an attitude problem with teammates and now coaches, around my young guys??….Id probably pass unless I was desperate for some depth up the middle.

        • can’t argue here. the guy is notorious for his work ethic, and his cry-baby attitude. total double-edged sword.

        • There are always problems on teams with teammates and coaches, just we rarely hear about it. For those that know Grabovski (Leafs fans or knowledge in general), know that he works very hard. The only downfall with him, is he is not very good at faceoffs. If you want a hard working, gritty, grindy, feisty, speedy and playmaking centerman, he’s your guy. As for Buffalo, why not get him? Sure you’re rebuilding, but they wouldn’t be giving anything to acquire him. On top of that, if they get him cheap, they can get more building block in return via trades. On top of that, he is a very loyal person to his team. If Buffalo or Washington can have him for like $2M – $2.5M, snag him!

          • Lol Grabo is going to get north of 3 mill

    • Grabovski should sign with NJD. He has opportunity to challenge Nonis decision to buy him out vs signing Clarkson to that crazy contract.

      Devils may have a decent team too: Elis, Ryder, Clowe, Jagr, Zajac, Henrique and young kid Loktinov. They added Schenider and still have old veteran Brodeur. They went to SC finals with basically the same D.

      Their 4th line is decent too.

      • Clarkson wasn’t the reason why Grabo is gone.. Kadri is.

        • The reason Grabo is gone, is because of Bozak and Bolland…mainly Bolland, as Bozak was brought back to be our #1, while Grabo was made our 3rd C, and $5.5M being on our 3rd line, is way too much.

        • @ Rob Then where is Kadri’s contract? And if this is the case why was the Grabo buy out so last minute you think Dave forgot he had Kadri to sign? No Grabo is gone because they needed the money to sign Clarkson and were more comfortable with Bozak playing center on the first line which in turn eats up some of the money available for Kadri true but to say they bought out Grabo because of Kadri is not the case at all.

          • Kadri is restricted with no arb rights so there isn’t a rush to sign him. Grabbo wasn’t a fit in the 1st line center role. Nonis elected to bring back Bozak to play with Kessel for that purpose, Bolland got the 3rd line role which he is well suited for. That leaves the 2nd line center left to fill and Kadri is less expensive (today) with more upside. So you’re both correct to some degree. Clarkson was brought in to fill a different need and Grabbo was over paid and no longer fit into the Leafs plans. If they didn’t get Clarkson, Grabbo was still displaced and likely trade bait all season.

        • What do you mean not how media will look at it? How else could they

  2. I posted on July 19th that I thought Grabovskis best fit would be with Washington, for between 3 and 4 million. I believe quality ice time and a secure second line centre opportunity will be the biggest factor in his decision where to play.

    The centres in Washington, after Backstrom are Perrault, Beagle and Johannson. Grabo is better than all of them for the # 2 spot. As for Laich, the Caps are better served keeping Laich as a Winger, they need that depth.

    For those suggesting Buffalo, Grabo would face the same situation as he had in Toronto. Leino is their first line centre, Steve Ott is their version of David Bolland. So that leaves Grabo competing with Cody Hodgson and Mikhail Grigorenko for the # 2 spot. I do not think the Sabres are interested in having Hodgson or Leino as their 4th line centre, so respectfully, I think that takes Buffalo out of the mix.

    • How is Leino anybody’s 1st line C?

      • We got Bozak…cant really make fun of any first line centers

        • Only by default man, by default! LOL

      • Slim pickings of average centres, but I would prefer Hodgson over Leino on the first line.

      • I see Hodgeson as Bufo’s 1st line center, I think we can use a 2nd line center but we do have Leino, Ennis and Ott who can play Center, but I think are more comfortable playing wing. But either can put into the C position and it’ll work. I can see Gregorenko as the 3rd line center and Flynn/Porter as #4. Again, I would like to see Darcy target Stepan, not only as a Center mainstay, but I think he has leadership capabilities.

    • Correction. #1 Center is Hodgson, #2 is Ennis, #3 is Grigorenko, Girgensons, or Ott, #4 is Ott or Porter. Leino is a wing. Adding Grabo would be an improvement no matter how you break it down, and probably push Ennis back to wing.

      • Leino, Ott and Ennis are more comfortable playing wing – Girgensons is only 19 and needs time to develop – Grigorenko’s time is now and I would rather see Flynn/Porter as #4. Thing is Grabo would be a good addition – if he can control his attitude – maybe that is just part of maturity, but he would have something to prove and I’m sure he would play with a chip.

    • Wow guy you really need to beef up on your Sabres knowledge. Leino isn’t our #1 center. He’s not even #2. He’s going back to the position that made him alll that money the wing. Hodgson is #1 and Grigorenko is #2. Girgensons or Ott (can play wing) can take the #3 and Porter will be #4.

      • thank you for clarifying… that didn’t sound right.

  3. Rob,

    I agree but that is where he is on the their depth chart. Regardless of where you slot Leino, the other centres they have are Ott, Hodgson and Grigorenko. I do not see a spot for Grabo in Buffalo unless one of them are moved.

    • Grabo is not going to Buffalo agreed….Washington or Calgary with a slight chance to the Peg

  4. Just read Damien Cox says Leafs are close to signing Paul Ranger to an NHL contract….bye bye Franson perhaps? After arbitration

    • After arbitration? Are you saying Leafs will walk away?
      I do not think you can trade a player after arbitration.
      You can only sign him or walk away (I think).

      • No more walking away unless its over 3 mill…but you can trade him its not like matching an offer sheet, anyway we or will have 9 d signed to nhl deals if they resign Fraser and Franson….someones got to go Franson would probably be the easiest to move and get the biggest return unless maybe Dion (but the salary for Dion kind of limits his value) Ranger plays a similar style to Franson so I cant see him taking Frasers spot as a more physical D…tough call but with our cap situation and all these D-men something has to give.

        • That’s the thing…. you can not trade him once arbitration was rulled. You either accent it or let him walk. Remember a few years back.. Sabres let PJ walk because he got too much in arbitration…

          • Meant to say *accept

          • I think you are talking about Kennedy who went to won in arbitration- $1M, he was waived by the Sabres the next day, cleared and Bflo bought him out.

        • Franson has one heck of a smoke-show of a shot from the point.
          He also likes to cough up game winners to the other team in his own end.
          Tough call.

        • Agreed..something will have to give. I suspect they will trade Liles with little return to make room. I can’t see them letting Franson go and Phaneuf is more likely to move closer to the trade deadline when his cap hit is greatly reduced.

          • I don’t see why Leafs would trade Phaneuf? Aren’t you guys looking to make the playoffs twice in a row for the first time in a very long long time? Phaneuf IMO won’t be traded, only way he is traded is if TO is out of playoff contention by a long shot or around the draft. I see him resigning.

          • Wont keep Phaneuf and Phil it will tie up way too much money if they bring in a big physical d who can play some minutes it will be cheaper then keeping Dion, the Leafs system is pretty deep with good defencemen, they have very few if any top line type forwards in the system signing Phil is way more important then Dion. Phaneuf is not going to take a pay cut and next years ufa market for D is kind of weak, Dion is going to get a huge contract somewhere.

    • I’d say that Franson is too valuable to walk away from, I’d say Nonis won’t re-sign Fraser, as players like Fraser are a dime a dozen. I’d say Ranger for $750K

      • Cant see them letting Franson go for nothing by walking away from a 3.5 or so 1 or 2 year deal you can be over the cap till training camp they would sign him and move him or someone else Id think

        • I can see Franson getting either $3M or $3.25M per. Then letting Fraser walk and signing Ranger for $600K to $750K per.

    • Signing is official, 1 year at $1Million. Good addition, now make sure Franson and Kadri get in and they’re looking good for next season

      • Both TSN and Sportsnet are saying “around $1 Million”. I’d say the amount will be about $900K or $950K per.

    • They actually did just sign him, for 1 million, could be good move. Franson will be signed, he did not apply for salary abitration so that is not a concern. Me thinks that Nonis has some sort of deal in place for Liles. They only have just under six million left in cap room with Franson, Fraser, and Kadri to sign. They will sign all three and go over the cap a little. They have the rest of the summer to get under the cap. Like I said they could move Liles, they just might not sign Fraser after arbitration or perhaps Phanuef is moving(but I doubt it), who knows. I’m quite sure they know what their doing. So far I am liking what Nonis has done.
      I agree with Rob, Leino a first line center? Hodgson will be the guy if they can ever get him signed. What is it with Hodgson and his negotiations, is he or his agent that hard to deal with? Buffalo is not going to the sabres. He is needed in both Calgary or Washington but I believe the capitals will outbid the flames for about 3.3 per on a two year deal. Laich is a good player but his biggest asset is being a pretty good checker therefore will stay on the third line where they could leave him on the wing if need be. Who knows maybe Grabovski really clicks with Ovechkin on the PP.

      • Sorry, got ahead of myself, Grabovski is not going to the sabres.

        • Likely not, but HDYK YDK!

          • By after arbitration what I meant was Frasers arbitration depending on what he gets is what is going to determine what is available for Franson they wont be able to walk away from Fraser its going to be under 3mill so walking is not an option…just to clarify if Fraser gets 1.5 or more they could still probably sign Franson for 3-3.5 to a 1 or 2 year deal making him a pretty nice trade piece to some teams, deal him for a decent pick or prospect then insert Ranger in to play with Fraser or Gardner with Gunnarson and Phaneuf leaving Liles or one of the Marlies drawing in and Rielly as the 7th d…Franson would be moved much easier then Liles if they cant move him Franson will go and bring in a nice return

  5. Can’t believe Kombardi has any interest in moving Clifford. He’s a great character player that can chip in big goals now and again. And the Kungs have too many defenders under contract which makes me believe Lombardi will resign Clifford this summer, when going over the cap is allowed, and then wait on Mitchell. If Mitchell is still ailing he’ll go on LTIR if he’s fit to play they’ll move out another blueliner.

  6. Grabo to the Caps, 1-yr, $3M contract makes sense to me. He should then rack up some points with that lineup and that much ice time, and then sign a longer contract for $4.5-$5M after next season. Basically following Ribeiro’s footsteps on that one.

    (I say this because I don’t think he can make $4.5-$5M/yr this off-season, due to current cap situtation for all teams that might be interested)

  7. Do people thing that Liles has trade value? He is signed for the next 3 years at almost 4M a year.

    • With what other dmen getting $4M+, he is tradeable. Nonis (if he trades him) will get a 2nd rounder. Which is not much for teams that are in need of dmen.

    • You guys signed Streit for 5 million he is older and just as bad defensively …do I think Liles contract is a good one no, but he can be useful to some teams he moves the puck well and skates pretty good, he could be on a second units pp… if you could package Liles and Kulimen or Liles and a prospect you may get a second or third round pick yes he is a little overpriced but not by much if you look around the league.

      • Right now Streit is a better player.
        Any Flyers fan will admit that this was a risky contract.

        • All I am saying is I believe Liles has a bit of value even tho his contract is a little over priced its not much when you look around the league and see how much money these type of D men are getting in contracts, Streit is an example. Liles lost his job to a couple younger D who do the same thing as him in Gardiner and Franson not because he is losing skill and foot speed like Komisarek. If you look at the season last year Franson Gardiner and Liles all spent some time out of the line up I think that the coach isnt really sold on using all of these type guys all at the same time. Liles just ended up being the odd man out or drawing the short straw more then it was a reflection of poor play. Might not get much for him in a straight up deal but packaged right or if you were just looking to drop salary someone would pick him up.

          • If it gets desperate and they cant move Liles (I think they will) they will be able to trade Franson now that Ranger is signed they have some options to get under the cap.

  8. I think Liles has value but to a select number of teams looking for a puck moving D. I think Colorado, Calgary and the Islanders are teams that could definitely use him. Neither one has great depth IMO. Leafs could put Liles on waivers whereby a team could pick him up and not have to give anything back in return. Leafs could also eat a million of his salary in a trade which makes him more reasonable at 2.875 million. I would look for nothing more than picks in exchange. That 2.8 million cap space makes a big difference in signing Kadri, Franson and Fraser.

    I could see Leafs D pairs being Phaneuf, Gunnarsson, Franson, Fraser, Gardiner and Ranger. Depending on cap space or development decision, your 7th D is Morgan Reilly or Korbinian Holzer. If Reilly makes the team send Holzer and Brennan to Marlies. If Reilly goes back to his Junior Club, keep Holzer or Brennan and send the other one down to the Marlies. Leafs also need to add a 14th forward once Kadri is done too.

    • OK, you do know that Liles played for Colorado before he played for Leafs…

  9. Lyle, my pet peeve is people who tell you the Bronze winner w/o giving you the Gold and Silver winners! This is pretty much the same as telling you three teams are interested w/o telling you who they are!
    I’ve been wondering why noone has signed Grabo, yet?

    • “I’ve been wondering why noone has signed Grabo, yet?”

      Nobody has signe Grabo yet, because he just got married, partied and likely is still honeymooning. Then he and his wife will likely want a couple of weeks of privacy/quietness. His agent said any signings won’t happen till sometime in August.

  10. Ok Puckgod, the gold medal winner is Washington!