It’s Dan Mount again and this is another installment in my summer series on what players and coaches will have major storylines surrounding them for the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season. If you like (or don’t like) what you read, please give me a comment. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanMountSports.

It’s been a long summer for Mikhail Grabovski. This was the first summer of free agency since the lockout ended in January and teams are trying to get better while trying to under the new salary cap just north of $60 million. (Although it could go to $80-million in four years according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.) Grabovski became one of the firs players to become victim to a new thing that was put into the new collective bargaining agreement. Grabovski was one of the first players to be bought out of his contract (each team has two to use before the end of next season) to become a free agent.

The Belorussian Grabovski quickly picked up his game in the 2008-09 season after he was traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. Grabovski was the top rookie scorer in the Eastern Conference with 20 goals and 28 assists, which earned him a new contract for three years and $8.7 million. He continued being one of the Leafs top scorers with 29 goals the next year and 23 markers in 2011-12. Grabovski was rewarded with a five-year extension.

However, Grabovski would struggle in the lockout-shortened 2013 season with only nine goals as the Leafs made the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. There were many people wondering why Grabovski struggled when the team was finally realizing success. The lackluster performance and the need to trim payroll forced Toronto General Manager Dave Nonis to buy out the rest of Grabovski’s deal.

It came as a surprise to some Buds (another nickname for the Leafs) that Grabovski would be bought out. (Some wanted Nonis fired after letting Grabovski go.) The question is why would a team let a talented scorer go. For all of his great scoring talent, Grabovski does have some baggage and a past.

One of the reasons behind Grabovski’s trade from the Habs to the Leafs was due to his not being happy about playing time. (He attributed it to inexperience.) Grabovski also had a long-running feud with fellow Belorussian player Sergei Kostitsyn and then got into a fight at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Officials from Belarus had to come in and smooth everything over so they could co-exist on the same team. Grabovski also was accused of biting Canadien Max Pacioretty. He also burnt the bridge with Toronto coach Randy Carlyle and his staff after he was put on the third and fourth lines.

Despite all of this, he was highly sought after free agent during the offseason. However, Grabovski remained unsigned for quite a while. Some front office executives thought Grabovski was looking to cash in again after getting the buyout, but him not having a team for a long time made people scratch their heads. Despite calls to come back home to Russia and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), he didn't even entertain an offer to go back.

Grabovski did eventually sign a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals. The deal puts him with potential Russian Olympic teammate Alexander Ovechkin. Coach Adam Oates helped lure Grabovski to the nation's capital and stated the Caps would be a good fit for him. This patient approach helped land Grabovksi, who was looking at several teams. Grabovski cited playing with Ovechkin and the offensive style that Oates preaches

Some think that the signing of the maligned Russian is one of the steals of the summer. Grabovski will be expected to try and replace Mike Riberio, who departed after signing with the Phoenix Coyotes. He will certainly be asked to be in more offensive zone situations than the only 37 percent that he was in last year with the Leafs. Grabovski will possibly be put on the second line and may even see some power play time. Wherever he ends up in the Caps’ lineup, he’s going to have a major chip on his shoulder. He is auditioning for another long-term deal that could net him a big day if the salary cap does get raised in the next few years. A big year means a big payday that can benefit him and his family. If Grabovski does return to form, the Washington Capitals will be the team to benefit the most in a crowded Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference.

Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He is located in Watertown, NY.

It’s Dan Mount again and this is another installment in my summer series on what players and coaches will have major storylines surrounding them for the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season. If you like (or don’t like) what you read, please give me a comment. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanMountSports.

It’s been a long summer for Mikhail Grabovski. This was the first summer of free agency since the lockout ended in January and teams are trying to get better while trying to under the new salary cap just north of $60 million. (Although it could go to $80-million in four years according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.) Grabovski became one of the firs players to become victim to a new thing that was put into the new collective bargaining agreement. Grabovski was one of the first players to be bought out of his contract (each team has two to use before the end of next season) to become a free agent.

The Belorussian Grabovski quickly picked up his game in the 2008-09 season after he was traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. Grabovski was the top rookie scorer in the Eastern Conference with 20 goals and 28 assists, which earned him a new contract for three years and $8.7 million. He continued being one of the Leafs top scorers with 29 goals the next year and 23 markers in 2011-12. Grabovski was rewarded with a five-year extension.

However, Grabovski would struggle in the lockout-shortened 2013 season with only nine goals as the Leafs made the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. There were many people wondering why Grabovski struggled when the team was finally realizing success. The lackluster performance and the need to trim payroll forced Toronto General Manager Dave Nonis to buy out the rest of Grabovski’s deal.

It came as a surprise to some Buds (another nickname for the Leafs) that Grabovski would be bought out. (Some wanted Nonis fired after letting Grabovski go.) The question is why would a team let a talented scorer go. For all of his great scoring talent, Grabovski does have some baggage and a past.

One of the reasons behind Grabovski’s trade from the Habs to the Leafs was due to his not being happy about playing time. (He attributed it to inexperience.) Grabovski also had a long-running feud with fellow Belorussian player Sergei Kostitsyn and then got into a fight at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Officials from Belarus had to come in and smooth everything over so they could co-exist on the same team. Grabovski also was accused of biting Canadien Max Pacioretty. He also burnt the bridge with Toronto coach Randy Carlyle and his staff after he was put on the third and fourth lines.

Despite all of this, he was highly sought after free agent during the offseason. However, Grabovski remained unsigned for quite a while. Some front office executives thought Grabovski was looking to cash in again after getting the buyout, but him not having a team for a long time made people scratch their heads. Despite calls to come back home to Russia and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), he didn't even entertain an offer to go back.

Grabovski did eventually sign a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals. The deal puts him with potential Russian Olympic teammate Alexander Ovechkin. Coach Adam Oates helped lure Grabovski to the nation's capital and stated the Caps would be a good fit for him. This patient approach helped land Grabovksi, who was looking at several teams. Grabovski cited playing with Ovechkin and the offensive style that Oates preaches

Some think that the signing of the maligned Russian is one of the steals of the summer. Grabovski will be expected to try and replace Mike Riberio, who departed after signing with the Phoenix Coyotes. He will certainly be asked to be in more offensive zone situations than the only 37 percent that he was in last year with the Leafs. Grabovski will possibly be put on the second line and may even see some power play time. Wherever he ends up in the Caps’ lineup, he’s going to have a major chip on his shoulder. He is auditioning for another long-term deal that could net him a big day if the salary cap does get raised in the next few years. A big year means a big payday that can benefit him and his family. If Grabovski does return to form, the Washington Capitals will be the team to benefit the most in a crowded Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference.

Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He is located in Watertown, NY.