Who might the Capitals be shopping for? Clearly, it seems like a center is on George McPhee’s list. Predicting who teams are interested can be a total crapshoot, but let’s look at who the Caps might be dangling in the store window, shall we?
The Russian Elephant In The Room: Alexander Semin
Some will bristle if the Capitals don’t find a taker for Semin at the deadline, but I wouldn’t be shocked to find Sasha still in Washington on Tuesday morning. For another team to take on his $6.7M contract next season, the Capitals will need to probably take 80 cents on the dollar in whatever player they get in return. As much sense as it may make to deal Semin for another center, doesn’t he seem like he’d be useful in winning a Cup?
The Expiring Contracts: Boyd Gordon, Brooks Laich, Matt Bradley, Mike Knuble
All hard-working players, these four are due to become unrestricted free agents next year (as is Scott Hannan, who will most likely not be shipped due to his arrival from Colorado in December). Knuble seems like unlikely trade bait, given his age and the fact that he has become one of the team’s most important leaders. Laich would be the most attractive piece to ship to another team, given his age and skill level. Bradley and Gordon, two “heart and soul” players, appear to be unlikely trade bait unless they are part of a package deal.
The Expendables: Tom Poti, John Erskine, Tyler Sloan, D.J. King, Jeff Schultz
Anyone who watches the Caps has their favorites, and their players they could do without. While there’s nobody I’m itching for the Capitals unload, the fabric of the team isn’t woven from this group of players. The Capitals have a core team that they’ve built around, and with the team playing relatively well at the moment, shaking up the core or the top prospect list seems foolish. The trick with these guys is of course, are there takers on the market for Tom Poti’s Reverse Wolverine Syndrome (never healthy)? How about D.J. King’s fists? John Erskine and Tyler Sloan’s interesting takes on defensive positioning? Jeff Schultz’s gentle giantness? If so, methinks the Caps would be glad to improve the team by dealing one of these five guys.
Last year the Caps dealt three draft picks on Deadline Day, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go that route again. Team Chemistry is obviously crucial in hockey, and if you can improve yourself without losing anyone who is helping the team, that’s a no-brainer (yawn).
Who would you deal? Who’d we miss? Let us know in the comments.
Salary figures via CapGeek.com