Caps suddenly deep at center in 2022-23 as Nic Dowd signs extension


Nic Dowd has signed a three-year extension with an average annual value of $1.3 million, the Capitals announced Sunday. He is playing on the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $750,000.

Dowd is currently on IR with a lower-body injury he suffered in Monday's game against the Buffalo Sabres. He skated on Sunday in the morning skate, but did not take line rushes as he is not yet eligible to return.

Dowd set a career-high in goals in 2021 with 11 in just 56 games. He was brought in to be a fourth-line center and has essentially held that job for this entire four-year stint in Washington. During that time, he has also been one of the team's best faceoff centers with a 53.3 win percentage.

The moves makes a lot of sense for bolstering the fourth line, but the Caps may soon be very crowded at the center position. The injury to Nicklas Backstrom has allowed Connor McMichael to emerge this season as an NHL-ready player  Aliaksei Protas and Hendrix Lapierre are also two up-and-coming centers who have seen NHL playing time this season.

By signing Dowd, the Caps have all four of their veteran centers -- Dowd, Backstrom, Lars Eller and Evgeny Kuznetsov -- under contract for the 2022-23 season. That does not seem to leave much room for anyone else. At the very least, McMichael will have earned a spot for next season.


Dowd's re-signing may point to another center being on the move before the puck drops in 2022-23.