Scoring-line winger? Check. Russian, actually.
We'd been talking about Viktor Kozlov (for a while now, actually), and now it's official - he's a Cap.
Here are Spector's thoughts:
The Washington Capitals signed former NY Islanders forward Viktor Kozlov to a two-year, $5 million contract Sunday.I'm not sure that I agree that McPhee sees Kozlov as Ovechkin's center, but time (and free agency) will tell.
Having addressed the Capitals need for an offensive minded blueliner by signing Tom Poti earlier in the day, GM George McPhee hopes that Kozlov will provide a much-need boost to superstar Alexander Ovechkin’s line.
Kozlov had a career year in 2006-07 in goals (25) and tied his second-best career points total (51) with the Isles last season. He can play both center and wing, and McPhee likely has Kozlov targeted to center Ovechkin’s line.
It won’t be the first time that Russian-born Kozlov’s rode shotgun on a line with a superstar countryman, having done so in Florida earlier in this decade with Pavel Bure, and McPhee will be hoping Kozlov will have similar chemistry with Ovechkin. He’s also one of the most lethal breakaway scorers around and has proven invaluable in shoot-out situations with his deceptively quick scoring touch.
It could be a gamble putting Kozlov at center as he’s more comfortable on the wing, and despite his obvious talent he’s a streaky scorer that always seems to leave fans wanting more.
Still, McPhee was operating under a tighter budget than most general manager this summer, and still has other gaps to fill on his roster. Kozlov at $2.5 million per season isn’t a bad pickup, and who knows, playing with Ovechkin might give his game a level of consistency that’s been lacking throughout his career.