The Capitals have addressed their need for depth down the middle with Thursday's signing of unrestricted free agent center Zach Sill to a one-year, two-way deal. The Capitals announced the agreement after published reports of the signing.
A hard-hitting, glove-dropping instigator, Sill, 27, had one goal, three assists and 84 penalty minutes in 63 games for the Penguins and Maple Leafs last season, his first full season in the NHL.
“They came with an offer and it was a good one,” Sill told the Truro Daily News. “I think there’s a good chance I’ll be able to play there. They have a good strong team and it looks like a good situation to go into.”
At 6-foot, 202 pounds, Sill has 48 career fights, eight of them against either the Hershey Bears or Capitals, including one with Tom Wilson last season. He also fought Jay Beagle back in 2010 when Beagle was with the Bears and Sill was a member of the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins.
Sill could challenge Michael Latta at the fourth-line center spot in training camp. In 53 games for the Capitals last season Latta had no goals, six assists and 68 penalty minutes, including eight fights.
At the very least Sill will provide the Bears with some of the veteran leadership they are lacking.
Sill told the Truro Daily News he expects to challenge for a roster spot with the Capitals in September, when he will be reunited with former Penguins teammates Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, as well as assistant coach Todd Reirden.
“I’m going to have to go in there and battle for a spot and try to beat somebody else out and play for that 12th or 13th forward. Kind of the same thing I did in Pittsburgh last year. It’s going to be hard and a challenge, but I think I’m up for it.”
Sill said he’s anxious to share the same ice as Caps captain Alex Ovechkin.
“I’ve played against him and he’s not that fun to play against,” he said. “He hits like a truck and he’s a hard-nosed player. It’s going to be good.”