Should the Capitals Trade For a Defenseman, Or Is it Best to Let the Kids Figure Things Out?

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A few weeks ago, NoVa Caps posed the question as to whether or not the Capitals should pursue a reunion with longtime defenseman Mike Green, who is likely to be a hot commodity come the trade deadline in two weeks, given the Caps’ somewhat inexperienced and, at times, unstable blueline. But is acquiring a veteran blueliner in the best interest of the team’s two young rearguards, Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos’, development?

In a recent interview with Caps Senior Writer Mike Vogel, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan said that he did not foresee giving up any substantial or important assets in order to bolster the roster. That means that a veteran blueliner such as Green would seemingly be off the table, and that a less-expensive, cheaper rearguard would be more likely, should MacLellan decide to acquire one. But would acquiring another defender (when the team already has an extra blueliner in Taylor Chorney) inhibit the development of Bowey and/or Djoos?

Overall, both Djoos and Bowey have fared well this season: in 46 games played, Djoos has scored three goals and 10 assists for 13 points, with a plus-8 rating, while Bowey has 12 assists and a plus-1 rating in 47 games played. As one might expect, both have experienced their fair share of struggles this season as they have adapted to the rigors of the NHL. While these struggles were expected, come playoff time, the two youngsters won’t be able to afford making mistakes such as turnovers or bad defensive plays/reads. Adding a veteran defenseman may bolster the blueline, but the question now becomes whether or not it is better for the Caps to let Djoos and Bowey play their way through these rookie struggles, which in the long run, would arguably be better for their long-term development. Adding a veteran blueliner would most likely cost the Capitals some sort of asset, while letting their budding blueliners play through their mistakes would not cost them anything and could ultimately benefit them going forward. What do you think Caps fans? Should the Capitals go after a veteran defenseman or should they let Djoos and Bowey learn from their mistakes?

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first and only Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography and reading in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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6 Responses to Should the Capitals Trade For a Defenseman, Or Is it Best to Let the Kids Figure Things Out?

  1. Ironically, Barry Trotz might be the best coach that the Caps have had going back to (and perhaps including) Bruce Boudreau in our Ovechkin and Semin-led run & gun days. But something is still missing in his ability to instill confidence in his young players. I think Andre Burakovsky, for instance, plays like he’s afraid to make mistakes lest he get dog-housed–and I think he’s afraid of Trotz, frankly. (like Terry Bradshaw once admitted he was during his early years under Chuck Noll). A couple of seasons ago Barry Trotz admitted that he “may have shaken Andre’s confidence a little” by trying to force him to play center (at age 20) when it was quite clear he’s more of a natural winger. He also kept him on a shuttle between Hershey and the parent club whether he was playing well or not.

    From this distance it’s hard to say, but despite Andre saying all the right things after his most recent benching(s), I think there’s a good chance that their relationship may be strained. The circumstances were different, but I don’t want to see a repeat of the GMGM-authorized Filip Forsberg trade for a pair of career non-descripts like Erat and Latta who aren’t on the team (or even in the league as far as I know) anymore. But I can foresee GMBM and coach Trotz making a big trade deadline splash that brings them another “piece” that will supposedly cure what ails this club (read, Mike Green, who I couldn’t stand when he was here the first time around for a variety of reasons—mainly that, like Dustin Byflugien, he really wasn’t a great defenseman and he kept taking stupid penalties at the worst times imaginable and kept taking bad angles to puck carriers in the defensive zone)…But my Inner Cynic says that this is exactly what the Caps are going to do, and if so it figures to improve their chances of winning a Cup this year as much as acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk did in exchange for 20 y\o 6’4” PF Zach Zanford last year…

    I hope I’m dead wrong about all of this, but I have a feeling that I’m not…

    Cliffird
    Santa Monica

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  2. Chris Donatelli says:

    I would not make any deadline trades.

    We have the players in place to win (as we have the last several years). IMHO, Bringing in a new player at the end of a successful regular season does more harm to team chemistry, team confidence, player familiarity than any good it does to roster talent. The deadline trades haven’t worked out the last few years. Carlson was running the powerplay beautifully last year and we trade for Shattenkirk and then he runs PP1. Shattenkirk is a great player and all but why disrupt the #1 power play unit in the league? Carlson had the puck on Ovi’s stick nearly every time, and I don’t think Ovi was complaining about the passes as he scored a ton.

    The message to the players this year (and frankly the last two) should be a resounding “no – we are not even considering trades because we believe in these guys”

    It is probably hard for a general manager not to consider trades because people view this as their job, but I think his job has already been done and we have the players we need.

    Don’t do it Brian.

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  3. Russian Machine Never Breaks says:

    If anything, move out Orpik and bring in Hjalmarsson. We are supposed to be re-tooling, NOT going for it. Djoos and Bowey need the playoff experience. It will make them better players in the long run.

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    • Uncle True says:

      I couldn’t agree more with “The Russian Machine.” In my opinion it would be addition by subtraction to get Orpik off the ice. He peaked 10 years ago and he was slow then. He may be great in the room but he is a liability on the ice: In my opinion, the Caps would have won a Cup in last 2 years if Orpik didn’t play. Unfortately, Caps don’t have balls to buy him out.

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  4. Brad Krick says:

    James Wisniewski will come cheap. Let’s see how he does in the Olympics.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Jonny Oduya is cheap and a good skater…

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