Over the past number of weeks, there have been several big names that have popped up in the NHL trade winds. There have been a lot of big names traded over the past year – Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, Dougie Hamilton, and Phil Kessel are just a few of these names.
It seems that there is a new player that is popping up every week in the NHL rumor mill. The latest names that have popped up in the rumors are Travis Hamonic, Tyson Barrie, Matt Duchene, and Patrick Marleau.
A District Perspective
Assuming the Capitals make the playoffs and attempt to make a deep run this year, should the Capitals make some sort of splash in order to make that deep run? There are a few months remaining until the NHL Trade Deadline, and some of the big names may not make it to that point.
The next question is: What could the Capitals add to their lineup? Could they use another top 6 forward? Another bottom 6 forward? Another depth defenseman?
Let’s take a look at some of the big names that are available and whether the Capitals should take a run at them:
CAP HITS (Hockey’s Cap)
PATRICK MARLEAU (SJ) (AGE: 36) ($6.67M CAP HIT)
The former Sharks Captain and 1997 1st round pick of the Sharks has always had a knack for scoring goals. While his production as slipped in recent years, he still has good skating legs for his age. Marleau has scored 30+ goals 7 times in his NHL career. Marleau could probably give a big boost to the Capitals second line, but the Capitals do not have much cap flexibility for the veteran. The Capitals would have to shed a large contract in order to make this move work, and Marleau still has term remaining on his deal.
ERIC STAAL (CAR) (AGE: 31) ($8.25M CAP HIT)
The 2003 2nd overall pick and Hurricanes Captain has publicly stated that he would like to remain in Raleigh. Staal would be a hot commodity on the trade market. While his production has dipped in recent seasons, Staal is a big, rangy forward who can work the boards well. He has the versatility the Capitals would be looking for because he can play the centre or wing position. While his cap hit is high, his contract is expiring and the Hurricanes could probably eat some salary in order to make a potential deal work. Staal is also a guy a team could sign to a lengthy extension.
Verdict: GO FOR IT
MATT DUCHENE (COL) (AGE: 24) ($6M CAP HIT)
The third overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft is a speedster in the middle of the ice. He is coming off a 55-point 2014-15 campaign for the Avalanche. It is amazing he would even be put on the trading block by the Avalanche. It would probably take a few young assets in order to get Duchene from the Avalanche. Could the Capitals sacrifice one of their young defenseman like Dmitry Orlov or Nate Schmidt in order to get Duchene? Would the Avalanche be interested in someone like Andre Burakovsky or Marcus Johansson in a trade package? The Capitals probably have the assets in order to pull off this deal, but it would be a lot trickier to do it mid-season.
Verdict: GO FOR IT
KYLE OKPOSO (NYI) (AGE: 27) ($2.8M CAP HIT)
The St. Paul, Minnesota native is on an expiring contract and will likely command a nice raise. He is a scrappy physical winger who can agitate the opponent. He is one of those players who you hate to play against, but like him if he is on your team. He had 51 points in 60 games in 2014-15, and he has played well with John Tavares as his center. It is highly unlikely that the Islanders would trade him to a division rival like the Capitals, but Islanders GM Garth Snow is not afraid to pull off a big deal if it makes sense at the time. The Islanders could be another team that is searching for defensive help, since defenseman Travis Hamonic might get moved very soon. Maybe the Capitals have a defenseman the Islanders might be interested in.
Verdict: GO FOR IT
TRAVIS HAMONIC (NYI) (AGE: 25) ($3.86M CAP HIT)
Hamonic is a physical rugged defenseman who is not afraid to get in his opponent’s face. He has requested a trade from the Islanders recently because of family concerns. Most likely, he will be dealt to Western Canada to be closer to his family. Hamonic has a very friendly cap hit for the next four years, and his services will be in high demand. The Islanders probably will grant his best wishes and get him as close to home as possible, so a trade with the Capitals is very unlikely. Hamonic is a very special defenseman, and his new team will love what he brings to their lineup.
TYSON BARRIE (COL) (AGE: 24) ($2.6M CAP HIT)
The young Avalanche blueliner produces points from the blueline. He is coming off a 53-point 2014-15 campaign. He is on an expiring contract, and he will most likely demand a nice raise. While Barrie would be nice to have, the Capitals already have a good number of defenseman who can move the puck around the ice. John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, and Nate Schmidt are all capable of producing points from the Capitals blueline. Puck moving defensemen are difficult to find, but the Capitals could probably use another stay-at-home defenseman before another puck moving defenseman.
KRIS RUSSELL (CGY) (AGE: 28) ($2.8M CAP HIT)
The 28-year old Alberta native is on an expiring contract and could be a nice rental for a contending Stanley Cup team. He is coming off a 34-point 2014-15 campaign, but Russell’s claim to fame is blocking shots. He is one of the NHL’s top defenseman in blocking shots, which is something that is very valuable in a playoff series. The former Blue Jacket does not have much offensive upside, but he is a guy who can play on any bottom NHL pairing and he can give 15-18 quality minutes a game.
Verdict: GO FOR IT