It is the Capitals bye-week and the players have had a good time on their miini-break away from the rink. While the Capitals have been vacationing in warmer places, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan has been hard at work trying to add some depth to his lineup.
On Wednesday, the Capitals acquired Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert in exchange for future considerations. The 34-year old blueliner has played in over 600 regular season games. This move was made to add some insurance on the blueline for a long playoff run.
While Gilbert will be in Hershey temporarily, he will likely join the Capitals once the playoffs begin.
The Capitals are tight against the salary cap. Per CapFriendly, the Capitals have just over $800,000 in cap space. That number will be slightly higher closer to the Trade Deadline, but the space will still be limited. With any further roster moves, every penny must be watched closely.
ARE THE CAPITALS DONE MAKING MOVES?
It is highly unlikely the Capitals are done making moves. With a recent injury to forward Andre Burakovsky, the Capitals will likely explore making another move for a depth forward.
Since the Capitals roster could look very different next season, the Capitals window to win is now. This is something that the current management group understands. This is something that the current group of players understands.
GM Brian MacLellan has shown aggressiveness with making moves. At the last NHL Draft, he traded two second-round draft picks in order to acquire Lars Eller from the Montreal Canadiens. It was a move that was criticized by some, but Eller has filled the 3rd line centre hole that the Capitals had inconsistency with last season.
SOME POTENTIAL FORWARD OPTIONS AS THE TRADE DEADLINE APPROACHES
With so many teams still in the playoff race, the unrestricted free agent players available is slim pickings.
Colorado and Arizona are probably two teams that are officially mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The Capitals could take a flyer on a veteran forward like Jarome Iginla. Iginla, 39, is in the final year of his contract and this season could very well be his last. The former Flames Captain is a proven goal scorer. While his production has slipped a bit in the later stages of his career, he has one of the quickest releases with his shots on goal. If Iginla were to be traded to the Capitals, the Avalanche would probably have to agree to eat some of his remaining salary.
Another veteran that could be available for the Capitals is Stars forward Patrick Sharp. Sharp. Sharp, 35, is a former Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks. Sharp has a modified no-trade and no-move clause in his deal, so he would have to approve of a possible trade elsewhere. The Stars would also probably have to eat some salary for this potential deal to work.
Another player the Capitals could look at is Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal. Hanzal, 29, will be one of the top rentals at this year’s trade deadline. Hanzal is a big rangy player who is good at getting to the front of the net. He has 14 goals this season.
By: George Foussekis