Who will be playing in a top six role next season for...
Joey Crabb, From the Torontonian’s Perspective
Editor’s Note: When the Caps signed free agent Joey Crabb to a one-year contract (worth $950,000), Capitals Outsider put in a call to Megan Bears, our Toronto-based consultant on all things relating to the Maple Leafs. Here’s what she had to say about the winger:
Joey Crabb is almost your typical bottom-six forward, with grit and physical play being his most visible assets. While he’s had his unfavorable moments, he’s had some good ones as well on the third or fourth lines. His speed being a main component to many of his highlights, he can skate to the net quickly and create some quality breakaway chances.
While he spent time in both the NHL and AHL, his most recent run in the NHL with the Leafs last season [11G, 15A in 67GP] showed his potential as a more complete player, given the circumstances. Crabb saw a solid amount of ice time with the Leafs’ penalty kill, proving useful with his ability to use both his body and speed to his advantage – even leading to some short-handed goals.
However, Crabb found his comfort-zone when the pressure to produce offensively was reduced by moving to a more consistent shutdown position on the team’s third line. Clearly more at ease with a defensive style of play, Crabb was able to focus on playing the game he was comfortable with, rather than the role his was placed in when he was first called up.
So, what should Caps fans expect out of Joey Crabb? Not a whole lot offensively, though that’s not to say you’ll never see him find the back of the net or creating a nice play. At his best, he brings a level of mix-minded defense to the forward position that could be missing from their past roster. Entering the penalty kill with higher-skilled players could develop his game even further, leading to stronger performance away from the PK as well as helping out while on it.
Crabb is a hard-working, two-way player who functions best with linemates he can play off. Placing Crabb with players like Mathieu Perreault or Jason Chimera could provide an interesting mix of speed, skill, and defense to make the third line a real threat against opposing teams.
More about Crabb:
The 29-year-old Crabb was selected in the 7th round of the 2002 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers (226th overall). His first taste of NHL action was in 2008 for the Atlanta Thrashers, where in 29 games he netted four goals to go along with five assists. This past season he scored 11 goals to go along with 26 points in 67 games for Toronto. We here at Capitals Outsider would like to extend a friendly welcome to Joey and we wish him best as he prepares for the upcoming season.
Caps Outsider’s Jeffrey Kleiman contributed to this report.