Caps Get Their Man

Knuble signs for two years

The Caps got their man. Winger Mike Knuble has signed a two-year, $5.6 million deal, and he'll give the Caps one of the things they lacked last season: a guy who's not afraid to drive to the net, stand there and get pounded, doing a whole bunch of dirty work.

The Caps expect the winger to play alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the team's top line. sums up his role perfectly: "Knuble’s role on that line is essentially the same as it has been for the better part of this decade: to take the shortest route to the net, arrive in ill humor, and show little respect to the goaltender upon arrival."

Even though the Knuber isn't as young as he once was (but then who is?), he's still an impressive goal scorer, averaging over 25 the last few seasons, with no evidence of a scoring slowdown. His particular style -- stand and bang -- doesn't require graceful pivots or blazing speed, so there's reason to think age-related decline won't affect his game as much. (At least as long as he wears lumbar padding for all the sticks to the back he's sure to get.)

He'll help improve the powerplay. His big body will require more attention, giving Ovie and the others more space to work with.

Knuble gives the team just a little bit of extra grit... perfectly filling a hole the Caps have.

George McPhee has indicated that the team is done shopping for high-priced guys, so barring a trade the core of next year's Caps team is set.

It's not a perfect roster -- there are still questions about the depth at center -- but it's a better one today than yesterday.

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