Hannan/Fleischmann trade thoughts

As most Caps fan probably know by now, Washington traded 26-year old forward Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for 31 year old defenseman Scott Hannan. I saw a move like this in the works for awhile since Fleishcmann is expandable right now and has played some very bad hockey these past few months. Moving him to address another need was a smart move, and the Caps have needed more defensive depth all year. If you don’t know Scott Hannan, he was billed as a “physical shutdown defenseman” by the Avs after they signed him to a 4 year $18 mil contract a few seasons ago. He never really lived up to that hype but he is a good defensive player and had a good season last year.

What I Like About This Trade

Like I said earlier, the Caps are moving a player who isn’t performing and doesn’t seem to have a place on a team. Fleischmann played well at the beginning of last season but only had 8 points in 18 games after the Olympic break last year and was brutal in the playoffs. He only has 10 points in 22 games this year despite getting top 6 minutes and being on the powerplay unit. The transition to center may have thrown off his game and I suppose he could turn things around in Colorado if he’s moved back to right wing.

I also like this move because it gives us more depth defensively and likely means that Tyler Sloan or Brandon Fahey will not play that many games for the rest of the year. With Hannan, we have 7 NHL caliber defenseman and one fringe player. Another move could be on the way or we might just waive Sloan now. I don’t see Hannan being more than a 3rd pairing defenseman but hopefully this will take the burden off Mike Green a little bit so he wont be playing near a half-hour a night. A defense corps of Green/Schultz, Alzner/Carlson, Poti/Hannan definitely looks like an improvement. Hannan can handle big minutes and kill penalties so that will be a huge help. Hopefully it will get Poti off the PK, at least.

What I Don’t Like About This Trade

Hannan’s cap hit is $4.5 mil but he only has a year left on his contract and it’s not that bad of a hit when taking away Flash’s $2.6 mil. You can definitely say that there were better options out there but McPhee didn’t want to give any free agent a multi-year contract, which is understandable. I am hoping people have realistic expectations about Hannan because his recent numbers don’t exactly say “big shutdown defenseman” like most are suggesting. If we’re just going to use him as a depth defenseman that can play big minutes, then I’m fine with it.

Another thing is that people say we could have gotten more for Fleischmann but I have to think his trade value is low right now and the only other rumor I heard was him going to Vancouver for Kevin Bieksa, which I didn’t want. Hannan is a better option than that but I think we till could have gotten a cheaper option via free agency.

Also, with Flash gone there’s still the hole at 2nd line center which isn’t filled. As of right now, rookie Marcus Johansson has that position and he’s been playing very well since coming back from injury. Still have to remember that he’s only 20 and a rookie but he’s outperformed some expectations I’ve had for him. Johansson and possibly Mathieu Perrault will get chances at centering the 2nd line before McPhee decides if he’s going to make a move for someone to fill that hole. I can definitely see another trade coming very soon.

Overall, I think it makes sense for both teams. Caps get rid of an unnecessary piece to fix another area, while the Avs move a big contract and get someone up front to help with the scoring now that Chris Stewart is out. Flash performs well with good linemates when he’s playing RW and I could see him with Paul Stastny in Colorado.

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