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Mike Knuble: As Advertised?

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Mike Knuble 29 7 12 19 5 20 1 0 2 0 62 11.3

When the Caps signed free agent forward Mike Knuble last summer, we ran down a laundry list of things that the veteran winger would bring to the Caps. Halfway through the season, let's check in on that list and see if the Caps are getting what they expected for their money:

  • A goal-scorer. Knuble's .24 goals per game is his lowest lamp-lighting rate since 2001-02, and his 11.3 shooting percentage is his lowest since 2003-04. If he plays every game in the second half of the season and continues to score at his current rate, he'll end up right around 17 goals for the season, which would be his lowest total since 2001-02. Of course, it should be noted that Knuble's ice time is down more than two minutes from last season's 18:10 average), and his power play time has dwindled from 2:54 per game to 2:33. His goals/60 at 5-on-5 is 1.01, which is actually up a bit from .91 a season ago. He'd obviously benefit from some more time on the top line, which is where many expected - and still want - to see him skating.
  • A power-play presence. Knuble has one power play goal on the season - which he scored in the second game of the campaign - and has just two extra man assists (both of the secondary variety). In each season since the lockout, he's been in double-digits in power play goals, but his .85 goals/60 at 5-on-4 rate is a far cry from the 2.90 he had last season or the 2.10 he had in 2007-08. Of note, the Caps' PP has been 22.6% effective with Knuble in the lineup and 25.5% without him.
  • A veteran presence. Has Knuble made guys like Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr better crash-the-net scorers? Maybe. Has he stepped up his leadership when the team has needed it (i.e. recently)? Hard to say. Obviously, this is a tough one to quantify meaningfully, though the rate at which he's committing minor penalties is a bit unsettling.
  • A durable winger. After playing in all 82 games in four of his last five seasons, Knuble has already missed a dozen of the Caps' first 41 games with a broken finger, which really isn't the kind of injury that makes you question a guy's durability, so we're still good here.
  • A solid defensive forward. Knuble has been one of the Caps' worst penalty killing forwards but hasn't been bad at 5-on-5.
  • A Penguin killer ... with something to prove to Philly. That first part is still "TBD," but he's scoreless in two games against his most recent former team (too bad he missed the stat-padding blowout).

So it's been a bit of a mixed bag on Knuble so far this season as he has adjusted to life as a Cap, but I do feel comfortable answering the question implied in the title to this post: Are the Caps getting what they expected from Mike Knuble? Ask again in late spring - that's what they're paying him for.