While the Washington Capitals were very quiet this off-season they added small pieces to their lineup that will be key over the course of next season. One of the role players Capitals General Manager, George McPhee signed was former Toronto Maple Leaf right wing, Joey Crabb. Crabb, 29, earned his first one way deal in the NHL this off-season, inking with Washington on a one year contract worth $950,00.
Crabb’s role this upcoming season is somewhat in question however. He totaled 11 goals and 15 assists with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, averaging 13:02 minutes per game. Crabb played the majority of the 2011-2012 campaign on Toronto’s third line while earning some time of the Leafs penalty kill. Crabb’s agent, Kevin Epp spoke earlier in the off-season to the Washington Post about Crabb’s versatility. “When everybody’s happy and playing well he’ll likely be on the fourth line and killing penalties, but when the team is in search of different looks he’ll be able to step into many different roles. As he proved in Toronto, he’s versatile and can move up and down the lineup, wherever he’s needed.”
The big question is what will Crabb’s role be in Washington? The Capitals currently have their forward lines in question and they should be decided whenever training camp rolls around, whether in September or during a delayed start to the season. A potential third line could include Brooks Laich at center, with Jason Chimera at left wing, leaving a spot for Joey Crabb at the right wing position. He would bring some needed toughness to the Capitals forwards along with strong defensive play and his willingness to stand up for his teammates. Crabb should also see time on the Capitals second penalty kill unit, most likely alongside center, Matt Hendricks.
He will be asked to take on these responsibilities, but must do more if the Capitals plan on being a contender in the upcoming season. Kevin Epp stated Crabb decided to come to Washington for a chance to win the cup, “For Joey to have the opportunity to play on a championship caliber team, that’s what was most important for him and this was a good chance to do so.” He must continue to develop his offensive game, as Washington has very few scoring threats after the second line. He’s most likely a one year rental for Washington and will move on to another team when he hits unrestricted free agency. Nevertheless he will play an integral role this upcoming season in the nation’s capital.
You can read Matthew’s first Capitals player profile on defense-man, Kevin Marshall here.