|22's biggest goal of the year came in March against Chicago.|
With this deal in place, the Capitals lock up a solid veteran player who can play a nice complement to Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the top line for another season. Knuble is a leader in the locker room and his skill set isn't yet entirely diminished, so this deal has merit, but it also certainly raises some red flags.
One, Knuble is old for a hockey player, and questions arise about his ability to maintain this level of play as the physical tolls of NHL hockey catch up to him. Two, he had a pretty brutal first half, as we all know, but he has turned it on in the second part of the year, so I do give him that. Finally, he plays a position the Capitals are very deep at in wing; i.e. his void could be more easily filled than, say, a Jason Arnott. Which brings us to...
My primary issue with his deal is not with Knuble himself, but how his signing will impact the Capitals' ability to re-sign other critical players this offseason. Knuble is only taking an $800,000 pay cut, which is not much when you have to re-sign unrestricted free agents like Brooks Laich and Scott Hannan, who have been critical to the Caps' defensive success this year. Those are just key free agents; there are others, like Jason Arnott, and Semyon Varlamov, who is a restricted free agent. Regardless of how far Washington goes in the playoffs, we do not want to see the Capitals have to pull a Chicago and blow up the team because of a salary cap crunch. Ew.
The full effect of this deal will not be felt until the offseason, so it's hard to pass judgement on it just yet. But be wary - this could not turn out to be all roses.
What do you think?