With Dustin Byfuglien’s extension in Winnipeg this week, the most coveted defenseman was taken off the trade market around the NHL. Byfuglien will remain in Winnipeg for the next 5 years, so the hopes of the Washington Capitals getting him as a Deadline are out the door.
Now that Byfuglien is off the table, the Capitals will have to go a different direction. This is with the assumption that they will make a trade for a depth defenseman. In order to go deep in the playoffs, depth on defense is extremely important. The Capitals have to stock up and have a deep lineup everywhere in order to have a long spring.
The next top defenseman that could be in the trade winds is Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Let’s take a look and see if this Hamhuis trade would make sense for the Washington Capitals:
WHY THE CAPITALS SHOULD TRADE FOR HAMHUIS
The 33-year old British Columbia native is a former 2001 1st round pick of the Nashville Predators. He grew up in the Nashville Predators organization, so he is very familiar with Capitals bench boss Barry Trotz.
While Hamhuis is not known for having much of a scoring punch, he is a steady defenseman in his own zone. He is third among Canucks defensemen in average shorthanded time on ice and total time on ice per game.
Hamhuis has earned plenty of accomplishments in his hockey career. He won a gold medal when he played for Team Canada in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He has also won several medals at the World Championships, including a gold medal in 2015 at the Czech Republic.
Overall, the Capitals would get a reliable veteran presence on the blueline with Dan Hamhuis. He is a good character guy that is well-liked by his teammates and coaches. He is dependable in his own zone and on the penalty kill. Hamhuis is on an expiring 6-year contract, which carries a cap hit of $4.5 million.
WHY THE CAPITALS SHOULD NOT TRADE FOR DAN HAMHUIS
Hamhuis has had a rough go this season. He just recently returned from a jaw injury that he sustained back in early December. Hamhuis missed 21 games with his broken jaw.
Certainly the Capitals will monitor how well Hamhuis continues to play coming off this horrific injury. It may take Hamhuis a few games to get his timing and skating back to where it needs to be.
Dan Hamhuis’ contract carries a no-trade clause. This means that he will have to waive that clause in order to be moved anywhere. If the Canucks decide to move Hamhuis, will he give them the flexibility to do so? Since he is a British Columbia native, he may choose to stay at home and he may not want to be moved anywhere at this stage of his career.
The other big question for the Capitals is the asking price from the Canucks. What assets will the Capitals have to surrender? Will there be a high draft pick involved? Will they want a top prospect? With limited options on the NHL trade market, the price for rentals should be high.
IF Hamhuis became a Capital, he would most likely be a pure rental. It is highly unlikely that Hamhuis would remain with the Capitals long-term. Is it worth it to give up a decent asset for a pure rental?
SHOULD THE CAPITALS PULL THE TRIGGER?
The main issue with a possible Hamhuis deal is his willingness to be moved. If he refuses to waive his no-trade clause, then this possible deal is a no-go. If Hamhuis decides to be moved, the Capitals would be a great choice for him.
Hamhuis would have an easy transition if he came to the Capitals. He knows Barry Trotz and his systems, so it should not take him long to become acquainted in his new surroundings.
Hamhuis is a guy that would fit in well in the Capitals top-six defensive core. He is a smooth skater that plays a calm, smart, positional game. His veteran presence would be very beneficial to the group, especially to young Capitals blueliners like Nate Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov.
There will be a lot of demand for Hamhuis’ services around the NHL if he is made available. If the Capitals had to sacrifice Madison Bowey or Connor Carrick in a trade package, is the deal worth it? Is it worth it to sacrifice a slice of the future in order to win now?
The best Capitals club in franchise history is in win-now mode. Go for it. It does not hurt to have as much depth as possible on the blueline in the playoffs. Injuries happen. Prepare for the worst and always have a plan B.
By George Foussekis