When Mike Ribeiro signed with the Phoenix Coyotes on July 5 it left an all too familiar question mark in the middle of the Capitals‘ lineup. Who will serve as second-line center?
Over the past four years Washington has used eight players, with varying levels of success and longevity, in the role. The Capitals won’t be bringing in a new contestant for ‘As the Second Line Turns’ next season, but rather plan to go back to a familiar one in Brooks Laich.
“We had him there in the playoffs a couple of years ago, liked it a lot,” General Manager George McPhee said Monday. “He’s a natural center, grew up playing center and we think it’s time to play him there.”
Laich, 30, missed all but nine games last year with a lingering groin injury but is expected to be ready for training camp. He doesn’t have Ribeiro’s slick playmaking abilities but, if he can stay healthy, Laich should help make for a better two-way unit with scoring potential that isn’t a liability in its own end.