Mikhail Grabovski is still pretty good

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when the Toronto Maple Leafs bought out Mikhail Grabovski? It's working out well for the Washington Capitals.

It's important to keep in mind that back in July an NHL team -- the Toronto Maple Leafs -- bought out the remainder of Mikhail Grabovski's contract just one year after it was signed. Then a bunch of other team's sat around and allowed him to remain unsigned way longer than he should have been.

Their loss has already turned out to be Washington's gain.

After recording a hat trick in the season opener on Tuesday night, Grabovski helped the Capitals erase an early three-goal deficit on Thursday night to pick up a 5-4 shootout win against the Calgary Flames.

Grabovski assisted on the game-tying goal in the third period and then scored the game-winner in the shootout, beating Flames goaltender Kari Ramo.

So far in two games with the Capitals he's already tallied five points (plus a game-winning shootout goal) and has been making an impact on nearly every shift, even when he's not scoring. Frankly, he's playing exactly like he did during his time in Toronto, displaying a strong two-way game, driving possession (59 percent Corsi percentage through the first two games) and putting up points.

Grabovski fell out of favor in Toronto during the lockout-shortened 2013 season when his production fell off of a cliff, due in part to a pretty drastic change in his role (he was constantly put out against other team's top players and started the overwhelming majority of his shifts in the defensive zone). The fact that he and coach Randy Carlyle never seemed to be on the same page didn't really help things either. The decision to buy out his contract, and the concern over his production, seemed to be rather short-sighted as last year was the first time in five years that Grabovski didn't score at a 50-point pace. When you combine production like that with a player that provides the type of two-way play that Grabovski does you're dealing with a pretty valuable player.

Coming into the season he seemed like a prime candidate for a bounce back year, especially if he landed on a team that would allow him to play to his strengths.

So far it looks like he has.

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