Brooks Laich became the third Washington Capitals player to sign overseas during the lockout, inking a deal with the Kloten Flyers of Switzerland’s National League A, according to the Swiss club. He also becomes the first locked out player to join the Kloten Flyers. Washington’s gritty center joins Alex Ovechkin and Michal Neuvirth as the three Capitals players to sign overseas since the NHL lockout took effect.
Laich, 29, is one of the longest tenured Capitals and has provided good leadership since joining the roster as a regular during the 2005-2006 season. He has registered five straight thirty plus point seasons with Washington, highlighted by his 59 point campaign during the 2009-2010 regular season. He’s become a fan favorite, because of his work in the community along with his on ice talents.
Laich is one of the more offensively skilled grinders in the entire NHL, but provides the same offensive output as many second line players. He’s a work horse on Washington’s penalty kill, often blocking shots and plays an all-around game.
Whenever the NHLPA and NHL reach an agreement, Laich will likely assume the role of third line center and penalty kill specialist. With many new players on the roster, developing chemistry should be a top priority between Laich and his new teammates. Potential line mates include physical forward Jason Chimera and the recently signed, Joey Crabb. He could also spend time on the penalty kill with the newly resigned, Jay Beagle.
With Laich signing overseas, this could signal that many players have lost hope in a new agreement before the end of October. Many other Capitals players could sign overseas including Wojtek Wolski and Nicklas Backstrom.