Trade deadline targets

We are only a couple weeks away from the February 28th trade deadline and it’s becoming apparent that the Washington Capitals are going to have to make a move sooner or later to fill glaring needs that the team has. Before I get into some possible targets, I want to address the Capitals current cap situation. According to Capgeek.com, the Caps only have about $1.5 mil in cap space to work with so that could mean moving a contract or two at the deadline if we want to acquire who we want. Trading away Tom Poti’s $3.5 mil cap hit would be ideal but I think he’s kind of important going forward in terms of defensive depth so we’ll see what happens.

Targets:

Second line center

This has been a need for the team all season. I’m not taking anything away from Mathieu Perreault and Marcus Johansson but neither have shown to be consistent enough to center the 2nd line nightly. I think both are best suited on a third line role for now. I know one of them will probably have to be sent to Hershey or demoted if a trade is made, though. Anyway, here are some possible targets I came up with:

NAME TEAM GP Goals Assists Points
ALEXANDER STEEN STL 55 16 25 41
STEPHEN WEISS FLA 55 15 22 37
JASON ARNOTT N.J 57 13 11 24
ANDREW COGLIANO EDM 57 9 14 23
ANTOINE VERMETTE CBJ 57 13 18 31
DAINIUS ZUBRUS N.J 56 11 11 22
DERICK BRASSARD CBJ 57 14 25 39
TIM CONNOLLY BUF 42 8 17 25
FRANS NIELSEN NYI 50 6 23 29

Obviously, this list is purely speculative right now since I’m not 100% sure who will be available at the deadline and who won’t be, but this is what I came up with after looking at teams who are out of the playoff race or close to being out. Alex Steen is a huge longshot for me because it’s hard to imagine the Blues trading their first line center since they aren’t exactly a team that needs to rebuild but we’ll see what happens. Weiss has been a target of mine for awhile but he’s signed through 2012-13 so that might make him difficult to acquire. That and it would acquire us to trade within the division. Arnott I brought up a week ago and I think he would be a good fit for the team in need of some veteran leadership. That and his contract expires after this season.

Vermette and Brassard are also wishful thinking on my part since they both are signed to long contracts and I don’t know if the Jackets will want to trade either away. Regardless, both would fill the 2nd line center void nicely but they will probably cost a lot. I’m having a hard time being sold on acquiring Zubrus since I don’t think he’s worth the $3.4 he’s owed over the next three seasons. Cogliano has loads of potential but his stats don’t blow me away and he’s not exactly the kind of player we need right now. Connolly has injury issues and I’ve always known him more for his defense rather than offensive output. Still an upgrade over what we have now but it’s kind of a risky move. Finally, Nielsen who I kind of just threw in there. He’s a good playmaker but worth trading for? I’m not sure.

So there’s the targets I came up with now how much will one of these players cost? Mike Fisher got Ottawa a 1st and 2nd/3rd round pick from Nashville and while he’s a solid two-way center, that’s definitely an overpayment on the Preds part. The Senators also got a 2nd rounder for Chris Kelly, who is more of a penalty killing forward. If those two are worth that much then how much is someone like Stephen Weiss worth? Florida got fleeced on a deal from Chicago which sent away Michael Frolik and Alexander Salak in exchange for Jack Skille and a few other no-name players. Will they be content to trade Weiss away in that fashion? For their sake, I hope not. What about Jason Arnott? I’d imagine that his value is about a 2nd round pick and a prospect with how much Fisher went for. Connolly could even land the Sabres a 2nd/3rd rounder at this point. Are the Caps willing to take these kinds of gambles? They might need to if they want to make a cup run. The risk on Joe Corvo didn’t work last season so McPhee is probably going to be cautious about this.

Other possible positions of need:

Two-way winger or scorer for the third line:
This might not be needed if Eric Fehr returns but he’s missed quite a bit of time lately and I heard someone say that his injury could be season-ending. That might make us need to go after a 3rd-liner who can provide some offense from the third line. Think someone like Alexei Ponikarovsky for the Kings or Kris Versteeg now for the Flyers. Not that I think either will be available, I’m just giving some examples. Scoring’s been a problem and the lack of offensive talent on the bottom-two lines is something that may need to be addressed.

Depth defenseman

I didn’t think this would be a problem with the Scott Hannan trade but there’s too many people in the defensive corps that can’t stay healthy. Mike Green’s been banged up a few times this year and I think Tom Poti’s been injured for more games than he’s played. It would be nice not to have Tyler Sloan play come playoff time and to give John Erskine a couple nights off. He’s played well but I don’t think his body is suitable to play every night considering the physical approach he has. Getting someone cheap to play with the bottom-pairing wouldn’t be a bad idea. McPhee has stated that he liked the team’s defensive corps as it is if Tom Poti is healthy and he hasn’t been all season. I’m not entirely sure who we could get for this role, though. Do we need someone like Chris Phillips? I don’t think so. More likely someone like Kurtis Foster if you know what I’m saying.

 

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