Crabb signs with Capitals

Doyle Woody

Joey Crabb has parlayed the best season of the hockey career into the best contract of his career.

The free agent right wing from Anchorage has signed a one-year, $950,000 contract with the NHL's Washington Capitals - the salary is according to

That's a raise of $200,000 from last season, when the 29-year-old turned in a breakthrough campaign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. As an unrestricted free agent, Crabb beginning Sunday was able to negotiate with any of the 30 teams in the NHL.

"I'm pretty pumped about it,'' Crabb said of his new team and new deal. "I was talking to a handful of teams and Washington just came up with the best offer.''

Crabb's contract is the first one-way deal of his career. That means he earns the same salary at the NHL level or the AHL level, and a one-way deal indicates the Caps see him as a regular in their lineup.

Besides the salary bump, Crabb also now has a better chance of playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time.

Crabb has played three seasons in the NHL, one with Atlanta and two with Toronto. But neither the Thrashers nor the Maple Leafs qualified for the playoffs in those years.

"Obviously, I want to win, being a competitive person,'' Crabb said. "I've played on teams that didn't win and they bring guys in and out of the there. I t would be nice to be able to be in a spot where we're winning and the situation is solid.''

Crabb, who in the spring represented the U.S. in the World Championships, earned that invitation on the strength of his 2011-12 season. He started in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies and racked 7-8--15 totals in nine games, which earned him a promotion to the Maple Leafs for the rest of the season.

In a career-high 67 games for the Leafs, he delivered 11-15--26 totals, all of which were career highs. In 77 previous NHL games, Crabb's totals were 7-17--24.

Just like when he signed with Toronto, Crabb doesn't know anyone on the Caps, who include former UAA center Jay Beagle.

Still, Crabb is psyched to go to a club that has been in the playoffs each of the last five seasons.

"I think it's a good fit and I'm excited to be with a team that's winning,'' Crabb said.

Two ex-Nanooks sign

A pair of former UAF players who have played in the NHL have signed one-year NHL deals.

Defenseman Jordan Hendry, 28, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010 and suffered a knee injury with the Blackhawks the following season, has signed with the Anaheim Ducks. Hendry split last season between the AHL and Lugano in the Swiss league. Hendry has appeared in 129 NHL games.

Also signing was former Nanooks goaltender Chad Johnson, who hooked up with the Phoenix Coyotes after previously being under contract to the New York Rangers and playing six NHL games for them.

Both former Nanooks signed identical two-way deals that pay them $600,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL.

Anchorage Daily News