The Washington Capitals have liked what they’ve seen from Nic Dowd since he came to the District in 2018, and they’re rewarding him with a brand new deal. General manager Brian MacLellan announced Sunday that the Capitals have signed Dowd to a three-year contract extension.
Starting in 2022-23, Dowd’s new deal carries an AAV of $1.3 million. He will earn $1.6 million in the first year, $1.3 million in the second year and $1 million in the final year, per PuckPedia.
Dowd, a 2009 seventh-round pick, came to Washington to help fill Jay Beagle’s void following his departure for Vancouver. Since then, Dowd has been able to not only prove his worth at both ends but maintain positivity in the locker room as Beagle did.
Over time, Dowd has emerged into a key member of Washington’s lineup as a versatile forward who can play several different roles. Not only is he does he help drive the highly-successful checking line along with Garnet Hathaway and Carl Hagelin, but he’s a reliable pivot who can win draws and make the most of defensive zone starts. He is also a strong penalty killer and takes good care of the puck.
Through nine games with Washington this season, the 31-year-old has one goal and a 56.4 face-off percentage, which leads all Capitals centers and ranks 21st in the league. His 1:21 shorthanded minutes per game rank third on the team.
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Last season was a breakout year for Dowd, who reached a new career-high in goals (11) and ended up with 15 points in 56 games, while also winning 56.25 percent of his face-offs (good for 15th in the league among forwards). His strong play at both ends earned him the respect and trust of head coach Peter Laviolette, who has utilized Dowd’s trio in both defensive and offensive situations.
“To be relied on and to have that responsibility is everything you can ask as a hockey player,” Dowd said of his role last season.
“[The 2020-21 year was] a ton of fun as opposed to some of my last years playing hockey where it’s been challenging to get going in games and when you’re going, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting that reward of continued play and ice time,” Dowd added. “It’s tough to continue when you have those challenges and you know nothing is going to change… Lavy was very upfront with us from the beginning.”
Dowd is currently on the injured reserve but skated in full gear prior to Sunday’s morning skate.