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With just one day until NHL Free Agency begins, NoVa Caps is counting down the Top 2 free agent signings in franchise history.
No. 2: Matt Niskanen
Signed by the Capitals in 2014 to a seven-year, $40.25 million deal, Niskanen (along with fellow blueliner Brooks Orpik) has stabilized a blueline that was once a weakness for the Caps. Signed after a career-high 10 goals, 36 assists, and 46 points with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013-14, Niskanen has brought more than just an offensive mind to the Caps.
While offense has been his primary skill of choice, the 29-year old Virginia, Minnesota native has grown his two-way play in his two seasons in a Capitals sweater. Under renowned defense coach Todd Reirden, with whom he played under in Pittsburgh, Niskanen has grown into a big-minute player for head coach Barry Trotz. After an injury to top-pairing blueliner John Carlson, Niskanen took on a bigger role, and averaged 24:40 of ice time while putting up five goals and 32 points.
Niskanen is the second-best free agent signing in franchise history because he has stabilized what was once the Caps’ Achilles Heel, and grown as a player in the process. Still in his prime, Niskanen will continue to impact the Caps for many years to come.
Check out NoVa Caps’ previous Top 5 Signings:
Top 5 Free Agent Signings in Franchise History: No. 5
Top 5 Free Agent Signings in Franchise History: No. 4
Top 5 Free Agent Signings in Franchise History: No. 3