In mane and meanness, defenseman Scott Hannan — acquired by the Caps today from Colorado for Tomas Fleischmann — bears decent resemblance to former Caps’ rearguard Brendan Witt. No few observers in hockey the past couple of years have believed that the Caps have lacked a Witt-type presence on the back end. Today’s deal addresses that. It was a swap of pending unrestricted free agents whose pricey contracts seemed less justifiable deep this autumn than they did in the offseason.
Some important initial notes: Hannan had a no-trade contract with Colorado but waived it to come to D.C. And no less than Alexander Ovechkin called Hannan the “toughest defenseman to play against.” Slowly but surely George McPhee is refashioning his high-scoring, highly finesse roster into one that looks springtime battle-ready. And he may not be done yet.