Washington Capitals: With the Deadline Approaching, What Will George McPhee Do? (Part 3)
In my previous posts, I looked at who the Capitals might be looking at bringing in. Now it’s time to think about what the organisation may be willing to give up.
Starting from the back, in net the Caps may be looking to bring in a more experienced goaltender, and if so it would make sense to move either Neuvirth or Varlamov, who are very valuable trade chips. Of the two, though, Neuvirth is the one whose contract keeps him in Washington longer than until the end of this season, and has been less injury-prone, so would be the less likely one to go. However, George McPhee has once again this deadline stated that the Capitals are confident in their two young goalies and will stick with them for the foreseeable future. With Braden Holtby proving this year that he could soon be NHL-ready, one of the three could be moving on sooner than expected.
The team’s defense looks to be complete, though there still could be movement there. Tom Poti’s oversized contract makes him a possible chip, though he has been key for the Caps in the past. Given the kind of teams McPhee might be looking at trading with (re-building teams looking to bringing in youth) Karl Alzner and John Carlson could be extremely valuable in the trade market. Like the goalies, though, both have been given much praise from the coaching staff and management, and have risen to the responsibility of the NHL. Still the team may want more experience and leadership so one may go, and Alzner would be more likely, as Carlson has made the bigger impact this year and his explosive, exciting style makes him a bit of a fan favourite.
On offense, one player stands out above the rest as a possible trade chip – as he has done for a couple of years now…Alex Semin. The extension Semin signed earlier this year makes him less likely to be moved, but he may still bring greater value to the Caps in a trade than on the roster. Despite being the top goal scorer this season, Semin has still not managed to step out as the Caps’ top forward, despite the struggles of Ovechkin and Backstrom. Semin also has had a tendency to go missing in times of pressure, especially big playoff games. Furthermore, the organisation has enough potential talent to replace him in the long-run. Semin would bring in at least one top-class player; however he is himself a top-class player…when the coaching staff can get the best out of him. At the end of the day, Semin is a player with immense ability, and with the offense in general failing to score this season, trading away such a great goalscorer would be an error on McPhee’s part.
Other less high-profile options are available to McPhee. The Caps’ trading partners are more likely to be interested in picks or prospects, and with a wealth of youth already showing promise in the system, the organisation can afford to give some of them up. Mathieu Perreault is one of the more likely young players to be moved; a player who has shown ability in the NHL, but not enough consistency to place him above Marcus Johansson in the pecking order in Washington. Therefore, Perrault is a great trade chip which the Caps can perhaps package with a pick or two to bring in perhaps a 2nd line center with more consistent quality.
Finally, don’t be surprised if the Capitals’ first round draft pick is in play. The organisation has a lot of very talented prospects from excellent drafting in the past few seasons, and so will be ready to give up high picks to get players who can help them make a run at the Cup now.
And that is what the Capitals trade policy will be all about this year. Bringing in players who can help the team now; players with experience and quality to improve the chances of bringing the Stanley Cup to Washington.