For almost 13 seasons, Brooks Laich has been a member of the Capitals lineup, playing all sorts of roles for numerous coaches. Once a very productive player, Laich’s play has slowly deteriorated after a slew of injuries starting before the 2012-13 season.
In his prime, Laich was capable of scoring 20 goals and 50 points a season. But since his 16-goal, 41-point season in 2011-12, Laich has just 17 goals and 46 points in 184 games played.
While his current stats seemingly reflect his fourth-line role, his cap hit does not. Laich is in the second to last year of a six-year, $27 million contract signed in 2011; a contract that carries a $4.5 million cap hit. And with the NHL Trade Deadline fast approaching (Monday), Washington general manager Brian MacLellan has to make some decisions on his forward group, especially with Jay Beagle set to return soon. That could mean putting Laich, Stanislav Galiev, or Michael Latta on waivers and MacLellan basically said so to CSN MidAtlantic’s Chuck Gormley:
“I think all our options are open. We could do both. We could do one. We’ll get there by the end.”
Putting any of them on waivers would risk losing them to other NHL teams, and the Caps likely wouldn’t want to lose the younger Latta and Galiev. Laich’s cap hit and production would likely scare many teams away but there is also a possibility a team would take a chance on Laich and it would mean the end of a memorable run with the Capitals for a player who has done so much for the organization and community.
By Michael Fleetwood