Mike Knuble has played a huge role in the team’s resurgence since the Winter Classic, and the Capitals management rewarded him with a one-year, $2 million extension on Monday. Knuble has meant more to this team than just about any other player over the course of the second half of the season, and it was critical for the team to lock him up for another season.
The 38-year old has played some of his best hockey in a Capitals uniform in recent weeks, scoring big goals and providing the team with a big body on the power play. If the Capitals are going to do any damage in the playoffs beyond the first two rounds, Knuble will have to be playing well. His signing shows that the Capitals’ coaching staff and management have seen enough from the veteran winger to commit to him for another season, and rightfully so.
While his 24 goals aren’t overwhelming, consider that 16 of his goals have come in 2011, and seven have come with a man advantage. Knuble has probably been the team’s most consistent player on the power play, which should come as no surprise. If there’s one word that sums up Knuble as a player, it’s consistency. Knuble has posted at least 20 goals in each of the last eight seasons, and he’s been a model for younger players on the Capitals to look up to.
Knuble is also a very valuable player to the Caps because of the intangibles he brings to the table. He’s clearly one of the most respected guys on the team, and leads by example night in and night out. His presence in the locker room was shown in HBO’s “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” series, when he challenged his teammates to dig themselves out of their 8-game slump…which they did the following game in Ottawa.
Welcome back for another year #22, and here’s hoping this one ends with the second Cup of his career.