Yes, we’re one day away from the 2012 NHL trade deadline, and many eyes are on the Capitals over the next 24 or so hours.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that speculation on who to sell is not something I enjoy thinking about–it’s hard to suggest a guy should be traded and then have to go face him in a post-game interview. That adds an extra level of responsibility.
That being said, I believe the Capitals should approach this deadline with fairly specific requirements. They need three things for certain: two solid, strong, mobile but stay-at-home defensemen (I could have saved three words and just said ‘defensive defensemen,’ but where’s the fun in that?), and a center of first/second-line caliber. If you’re not going to get one of those three, I see no point in trading big assets at this deadline. This is not the time to make background noise or soft noise. It’s not the time to trade solid assets for a luxury rather than a necessity just because the price is right (say a good faceoff guy or a strong third-line center). If you end up moving Alexander Semin before the trade deadline, you will probably need another prolific winger on one of the top lines, but that’s probably better addressed this summer.
One of the roster positions where the Caps currently have significant depth is the goalie position: Vokoun, Neuvirth, Holtby, Grubauer. I’d be careful with who I moved, but there’s a piece the Capitals could move without significant short-term or long-term detriment to the franchise and get a decent return on.
In addition, it’s clear from Dale Hunter’s scratches that he’s seen issues with Jeff Schultz and Roman Hamrlik, as well as had questions about John Erskine and Mike Knuble. Moves with any of those players probably won’t be a surprise; but some are less easily understood (Knuble is, bottom line, a quintessential hockey player, and you can’t put a price tag on that) than others.
Ted and I dissect some of the issues facing the Caps before Mondays’ trade deadline below.