During his 17 years managing the Capitals George McPhee often pointed out that the right way to build a hockey team is through the draft, not free agency.
On Wednesday we compiled a subjective list of his best and worst trades. Today we take a look at his best and worst free-agent signings. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts.
5 Best Free-Agent Signings
2009 – Caps sign Mike Knuble to two-year, $2.8 million contract. Knuble went on to play three seasons in Washington, providing locker room leadership while scoring 59 goals.
2006 – Caps sign Donald Brashear to one-year, $1 million contract. Brashear played three more years for the Caps and compiled 396 penalty minutes.
2008 – Caps sign Jose Theodore to two-year, $9 million contract. Theodore replaced fan favorite Olie Kolzig and went 62-24-12 in his two years in Washington.
2011 – Caps sign Tomas Vokoun to one-year, $1.5 million contract. Vokoun responded with a solid 25-17-2 season but was injured prior to the playoffs. Still, he served as a bridge to young goalies Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.
2013 – Caps sign Mikhail Grabovski to one-year, $3 million contract. Injuries limited Grabovski to just 58 games this season but he managed 13 goals and 22 assists at a relatively low cost.
5 Worst Free-Agent Signings
2001 – Caps sign Jaromir Jagr to seven-year, $77 million. At the time it was the largest contract in NHL history. The Caps missed the playoffs in 2002 and on Jan. 23, 2004 McPhee traded Jagr to the Rangers for Anson Carter, agreeing to pay Jagr $4 million a season for the remainder of his contract.
2007 – Caps sign Michael Nylander to four-year, $19 million contract. He managed just 20 goals in two seasons and never returned to the NHL.
1998 – Caps sign Dmitri Mironov to four year, $11.5 million contract. Mironov played three seasons for the Caps, recording eight goals and going a minus-5.
2011 – Caps sign Roman Hamrlik to two-year, $7 million contract. Hamrlik managed just two goals in 72 games for the Caps before he was claimed off waivers by the Rangers.
2012 – Caps sign Wojtek Wolksi to one-year, $600,000 contract. Wolski played in just 27 games and netted four goals before signing to play in Poland.
Honorable mention: 2006 – Caps sign Brian Pothier to four-year, $10 million contract. After playing 72 games in his first season in Washington injuries limited Pothier to just 88 games in his next three years.