Before I start, let me just list Knuble's line for the year.
GP G A PTS +/- PIM
69 29 24 53 23 59
While playing on one of the most offensively minded teams in recent history (and highest scoring since the 95-96 Penguins squad who boasted Super Mario and Jagr) he was able to rack up 29 goals. But this is not where his true value resides. His worth is much more than what shows up on the scoresheet, though you can pencil him in for 25-30 goals a year.
In the post-lockout era most coaches have changed the status-quo from a hook/hold brand of hockey to a fast-paced, sharp passing game. One of the things that has fallen by the wayside is the guy willing to go hard to the net and stay there; notable exception being Scott Hartnell. Knuble's true value is that sandpaper quality that the Capitals so desperately needed after a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Penguins last spring. The Caps didn't necessarily need a traditional enforcer (See Boogaard or Carcillo), they needed someone not afraid of a little facewashing after the whistle; what better place to look than to a former Flyer.
What sets Kn00b apart from the rest of the pack in the NHL is his grit, that intangible quality most present in hockey players for the grind lines of the 70s and early 80s. You can just picture him mucking it up in the crease for the Broad St. Bullies of old.
He will rarely, if ever, score a highlight reel, Ovechkin-style goal as most will come from the top of the paint, and I believe only one or two of his 29 goals have come from past the top of the faceoff circle.
As upset as I am that Knuble is no longer a Flyer, I am extremely happy that he is playing for a team that is a serious contender for the Cup (cause lets face it Flyer fans... Boosh is like a ticking time-bomb...). At $2.8 million dollars the Capitals have found a veteran mix of leadership and sandpaper that has more than outweighed the cost of his contract.
All of which makes Mike Knuble one of the best free agent signings in recent memory.