Washington Capitals newly signed forward, Joey Crabb is one of many players hit hard by the NHL lockout. He’s one a one way contract, meaning he cannot be sent to Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears. Crabb also is a grinder type player, signaling that many of the leagues overseas have no interest in a player with his skill set.
Crabb along with two other NHL players, Scott Gomez of the Montreal Canadiens and Nate Thompson of the Tampa Bay Lightning signed with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League). The big question is why would all these players sign with an ECHL team, especially one in Alaska? Alaska is where this trio of NHL talent grew up, near Anchorage, the home of the Aces. He’ll play Alaska until a new collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon.
Crabb, a 29 year old winger, signed with the Capitals earlier this offseason after a career year last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He recorded 11 goals and 15 assists in 67 games for the Leafs, following his call up from the AHL where he played for the Toronto Marlies.
He does have substantial NHL experience, playing 144 combined games for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Atlanta Thrashers, now the Winnipeg Jets.
Crabb will likely earn time on the power play and one the first forward line in the ECHL, possibly playing alongside new teammates Scott Gomez and Nate Thompson. When he returns to Washington this year, he could spend time on the penalty kill and will likely assume a third or fourth line role.