Photo: Hockey Insiders
The NHL on NBC reported today that the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline will take place on Monday, February 26. Arguably, one of the more important dates on the NHL calendar, the trade deadline can have both a positive and negative effect on an NHL team’s roster.
The salary cap will significantly limit the Capitals’ ability to make a major move at the deadline this season. Defensemen John Carlson and Taylor Chorney, and centers Lars Eller and Jay Beagle, are all slated to become unrestricted free agents after this season, but none are likely to be moved by the Caps unless they suffer a significant setback this year and become in danger of missing the playoffs.
Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan has been very active at the deadline during his time as general manager of the team, particularly during the Caps’ self-proclaimed two-year window to win a Stanley Cup. Here is a look back at those moves in detail.
In 2015, the Capitals acquired defenseman Tim Gleason from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for fellow defenseman Jack Hillen and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. In 17 games played for the Capitals, Gleason played on the third-pairing with then-Capitals blueliner Mike Green, recording two assists. Gleason retired from the NHL after his short stint in Washington, a stint in which he was mostly used as a physical, depth defenseman. On the defensive side of the puck, Gleason played well, finishing with a plus-5 rating.
The Capitals also acquired forward Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames in exchange for second and third-round picks in 2015. Glencross got off to a hot start in Washington, scoring four goals in his first two weeks as a Capital. He was quiet for the remainder of the season, often a healthy scratch, and scored just once in the playoffs that year. Glencross ended up retiring after attending the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs training camps in the fall of 2015. In Game 7 against the New York Rangers that year, Glencross made a costly turnover that ended in the back of the Capitals net and ended their season with a 2-1 overtime loss.
In 2016, the Capitals acquired forward Daniel Winnik and a 2016 fifth-round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brooks Laich, defenseman Connor Carrick, and a 2016 second-round pick. The Capitals’ primary goal in the trade was to dump Laich’s $4.5 million cap hit, but Winnik exceeded expectations during his time with the Capitals. He played primarily on the fourth-line with Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson last year and thrived, scoring 12 goals and recording 25 points. Meanwhile, Laich was waived twice by the Maple Leafs and played for the Toronto Marlies, the Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate last season. Winnik and Laich are currently unrestricted free agents, however, Laich signed a professional tryout contract with the Los Angeles Kings yesterday.
MacLellan also acquired defenseman Mike Weber from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2016 third-round pick. Like Gleason in 2015, Weber was used as a depth defenseman and a physical presence. Weber played only 10 regular season games and two games in the playoffs. Weber struggled defensively, finishing the regular season with a minus-1 rating, and a minus-1 in the postseason. Weber also made a costly turnover in Game 4 against the Pittsbugh Penguins in overtime that led to an overtime game-winning goal. Weber is currently an unrestricted free agent.
In 2017, the Capitals landed the best player on the trade market. They went all in on the Stanley Cup when they landed All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues. Acquiring Shattenkirk cost Washington prospect Zach Sanford and veteran Brad Malone, a 2017 first-round pick, and conditional picks. The Capitals also picked up goaltender Pheonix Copley in the deal.
Shattenkirk played well offensively, scoring two goals and 14 points in 19 games played in the regular season, and a goal and six points in the postseason. However, he struggled defensively, finishing the playoffs with a minus-4 rating. Shattenkirk was also suspended for two games for a hit on Kings’ defenseman Kevin Gravel. Shattenkirk became an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and signed with the New York Rangers, on a four-year contract worth $26.6 million.
By Harrison Brown