Summer trending: Metro Division
July, 24, 2014
By Craig Custance | ESPN Insider
G Fiume/Getty ImagesThe deal to land Mikhail Grabovski was a risky financial move for the Islanders.Mikhail Grabovski has long had fans in the advanced stats community. He’s a guy who drives possession on bad possession teams, which earns him points in the world of analytics.
New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano was won over by Grabovski and close friend Nikolai Kulemin the more traditional route. On video. Lots of it.
“We watched a lot of tape,” Capuano said during a phone conversation this week. “I probably know those guys better than they know themselves.”
“Grabovski is a guy we targeted a couple years ago. We really liked him. He’s got very good speed, intelligence, he’s a game-breaker,” Capuano said. “The one thing I like about him, he’s not afraid to go to those tough areas to score goals. That’s a big thing. There’s a lot of skill guys but you’ve got to pay the price. It’s the second and third pop that score.”
After the first wave of free agency washed over the NHL world, it was the Islanders who created the next biggest one in signing the duo of Grabovski and Kulemin to deals worth a total of $36.75 million.
It gave the Islanders another line of attack for Capuano to work with, and strengthens the team down the middle now with Grabovski teaming up with franchise center John Tavares and the under-appreciated Frans Nielsen.
While the move may end up being GM Garth Snow’s riskiest