MIKHAIL GRABOVSKI'S long free-agent summer is over.
The former Toronto Maple Leafs forward has signed a one-year, $3-million deal with the Washington Capitals, where he figures to be their second-line centre. That substantial role was only part of why Grabovski chose Washington.
"We were impressed, very much impressed with Washington coach Adam Oates," agent Gary Greenstin said in a phone interview Friday morning. "I remember as a player he always was an honest player during his hockey career. We talked with Adam, and most importantly he talked to Mikhail. And his enthusiasm, Adam's enthusiasm to work with Mikhail, convinced us it was right."
Grabovski became an unrestricted free agent when the Leafs bought out the final four seasons of his five-year, $27.5-million contract.
At centre, they re-signed Tyler Bozak to a five-year, $21-million deal and traded for David Bolland from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Capitals had their own hole down the middle after letting Mike Ribeiro leave to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes.
"Mikhail adds speed and offence to our lineup," Capitals general manager George McPhee said in a statement. "We believe he will be an excellent addition to our club."
McPhee said last month that the plan was for Brooks Laich to be the second-line centre, something that likely changes with the addition of Grabovski.
Grabovski played in all 48 games last season for Toronto under coach Randy Carlyle, putting up nine goals and seven assists in largely a bottom-six role. Previously under Ron Wilson, the Belarusian was an effective scorer, recording 51 points in 2011-12 and 58 points in 2010-11.
-- The Canadian Press