Sunday, July 01, 2007

Caps Sign Kozlov

Puck-moving defenseman? Check.

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.

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.
I'm not sure that I agree that McPhee sees Kozlov as Ovechkin's center, but time (and free agency) will tell.


Andrew Urben said...

His faceoff winning percentage is rather poor.. I'm hopeful we'll still land someone (either Nylander via FA or a trade). It is much nicer to have a guy at RW who can move into the circle if the C gets kicked out, or fill in if we have an injury. Having him as a full time center doesn't give me warm fuzzies, but I do like the signing.

Unknown said...

I have no idea what Spector is talking about first-line-production-wise. I mean, Chris Clark scored 30 goals playing with AO and the third guy on that line has to play D first. (God bless AO, but...)

Kozlov-Backstrom-Semin, I'd guess... with an OV C to-be-named.

(And I love all these ifs... Kozlov's versatility is a plus, especially if there are injuries.)

Unknown said...

And am I the only one who doesn't think of Jagr when I think of Drury? I mean, one's a gamer and one's, uh, not.

Anonymous said...

I doubt he's going to be the center, if for no other reasons then the rumors of the Yashin talks, which I assume is a fallback if we don't get Nylander.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I think there's more coming too. (Obviously Tarik does too.)