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Washington Capitals

A Hectic Day in Washington

Washington CapitalsAfter last year’s lack of activity on Trade Deadline Day, and the team’s impressive record to date, I was expecting another quiet day for the Capitals, with perhaps one trade for a solid defenseman and perhaps a veteran center. I was wrong.

First: The Capitals acquired Scott Walker from the Carolina Hurricanes for a 7th round pick in 2010. For me this is a great trade. Walker is a great character player, bringing a bit of depth on the right wing which was lost with the departure of Chris Clark. To only give up a 7th rounder here to me is an excellent bit of business getting the day going.

Second: Eric Belanger was acquired from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2nd round pick in 2010. I wasn’t too sure about this trade. Obviously, George McPhee is looking for depth and role players for the playoff stretch, however I thought a 2nd rounder might be a bit too much for Belanger. I haven’t seen much of the Wild this year, but Belanger doesn’t seem to be a definite second line center (which is what the Capitals have needed with Brendan Morrison and Thomas Fleischmann failing to fill the role well enough).

Third: Interestingly, the Caps re-acquired defenseman Milan Jurcina, who was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in December in the deal that brought Jason Chimera to Washington. The Jackets got the Caps’ 6th round pick in 2010. I highly rate Jurcina and was sad to see him depart in December, so I’m glad he’s back and a 6th rounder is a very good price in my opinion. Jurcina brings more strength and big shooting back to the blue line.

Fourth: Finally, in their biggest trade of the day, the Capitals traded Brian Pothier, prospect Oskar Osala and a 2nd round pick in 2011 to the Hurricanes for d-man Joe Corvo. The price was high – Pothier has been a solid blue-liner for a good few years in Washington, Osala has shown good potential in Hershey with pretty decent scoring in the past couple of years, and a 2nd rounder is a 2nd rounder – but Joe Corvo represents something the Capitals needed; a solid, experienced defenseman who could compliment Mike Green’s extremely offensive style.

Overall: The Caps give up two 2nd rounder, one 6th rounder, and one 7th rounder in draft picks, Brian Pothier and Oskar Osala; and gain Scott Walker, Eric Belanger, Milan Jurcina and Joe Corvo. Giving up draft picks over the next couple of years is not actually that bad. The Caps have a lot of good youngsters like Neuvirth, Alzner and Carlson almost ready to fully step up to NHL level. Brian Pothier is not a big loss, especially with the acquisitions of both Corvo and Jurcina, and Osala is just one of many prospects in the organisation. Walker and Belanger bring experience and depth, and Jurcina and Corvo sure up the defense.

So it’s been a day of a lot of slight improvements, to ensure the team has the depth and character to make a deep run into the playoffs and a great shot at the Stanley Cup. Tonight’s game against Buffalo is the first back after the disappointing Olympic break, but the next few games will be testing for the new-look Capitals. We’ll see how these trades affect them.

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