WASHINGTON, D.C. – For Nic Dowd, the decision to re-sign with the Washington Capitals was a no-brainer.
The center was all smiles as he discussed his new three-year extension with Washington, a team that’s had a major impact on him both on and off the ice.
“Without Washington early in my career, I was still trying to solidify myself when I got here… Obviously a lot of things go into it, but I think that this is a great spot to play. I’ve been around a couple of other organizations — both good organizations — but this has definitely been home,” Dowd said.
Dowd is coming off a standout 2020-21, scoring a career-high 11 goals and 15 points while logging a career-high of 14:22 minutes per game through 56 games. He combined with Garnet Hathaway and Carl Hagelin to power one of the league’s best fourth lines. Not to mention, his 56.25 face-off percentage ranked 15th, and he’s been a key penalty killer and solid two-way forward who can generate pressure at both ends.
The St. Cloud State University Alum believes that he can build on that standout performance while also continuing to evolve his overall game as he hits his personal high.
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“I mean, I started playing in the NHL when I was 25, right? So you back that up for five years, a lot of guys started when they were 20. And I honestly feel like I’m getting right into my 27-28 years of my career, which a lot of guys, that’s when they hit their peak. And that’s how I feel about my career right now,” Dowd explained.
“I think I’m a young 31 year old. I think a lot of people don’t even realize I’m that old until they see it and they’re kind of surprised by it,” he added. “So yeah, I think I still have a lot left to give and I mean yeah, this going to be, I want to grow on last year and have an even better next three years.”
Another part that played into the extension was getting to remain with the same core and continue to develop under second-year coach Laviolette, who he has built a strong relationship with over 2020-21 and into this season.
“I love this team, I love the guys. The core group has been wrapped up for a while. Obviously, Lavy has a lot to do with it,” Dowd said.
“I think you know back to playing with the guys that I played with I think that we all protect each other quite a bit. Defensive-minded guys and bail each other out. I think we all played really well, but yeah, Lavy, [like] with any boss, you get a lot of responsibility and you get something that you haven’t been given before and you ride with it and you take that opportunity and turn it into success. I think he’s a good coach to play for. You know where you stand with him and you know what to expect and I think within this organization, it’s easy to be successful here because you have so many people that want you to succeed. So I think that was also a big factor in why I wanted to stay and remain around this culture.”
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Dowd mentioned that the uncertainty in free agency and “risk assessment” was also in the back of his mind, and helped in making this decision.
“A big part of this deal was this does take me till I’m 35. You look around the league and you can start looking to comparables that are of that age, and I just felt I didn’t want to make the choice of, ‘Hey, let’s just pick my family up for one year and move them somewhere else and then maybe look for another one-year deal at 36 and whatever you want to call it…’ free agency hasn’t been as friendly in the last couple years to a lot of people.”
Dowd’s deal will expire in 2025 and carries an AAV of $1.3 million. He’s currently working back from the injured reserve and was on the ice on Sunday prior to the Capitals’ morning skate. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll travel on the West Coast road trip.