Mike Knuble, a veteran of 1040 NHL games over the past 16 seasons, has joined the Detroit Red Wings at their training camp which began today in Plymouth, Mich. The former Washington Capitals winger has been practicing with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL during the lockout and even tried his hand at doing some of the team’s radio broadcasts.
As a free agent, he could be looking to catch on with the Wings, though there aren’t many open roster spots. He may also be hoping to catch the eye of another team, and could be a good fit for one of them. A two-way deal with the Red Wings that would also allow him to play in Grand Rapids wouldn’t be a horrible option for both sides either.
Knuble was a fourth round pick of the Wings in 1991 and starred at the University of Michigan for four seasons before hitting the NHL. He saw some time with the team in 1996-97 and in his first full season was part of a team that repeated as Stanley Cup champs. He would go on to play for the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers before ending up in Washington. Last season was the first time in nine seasons that he failed to score at least 20 goals – as was the case with most Caps players, he saw a decline in offensive production under head coach Dale Hunter. His 34 goal, 65 point season for the Flyers in 2005-06 (playing on a line with Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg) remains his single best effort, and he could still be a valuable 30-40 point producer on the right team.
Signing with the Wings would be a great fit for Knuble, who is from the Grand Rapids area, even if it meant playing in the AHL and being called up for injuries. He faces long odds to make the team heading into this season, but will at the least add some competition at training camp. Likely valued more at this point in his career for his leadership and experience than his offensive production, he would be a great addition to a contending team if there isn’t room for him in Detroit.