The Washington Capitals have been big buyers at the trade deadline in recent years. In pursuit of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup, Caps General Manager Brian MacLellan has not been shy about trading draft picks to bring in extra assets for the playoff run. During his tenure, MacLellan has traded nine draft picks – one first rounder, four second rounders, two third rounders, one fourth rounder, and one fifth rounder. The Caps have also acquired three picks through trades during MacLellan’s tenure.
As the trade deadline approaches, NoVa Caps takes a look at what happened with the picks that were dealt away as well as the ones the Caps acquired. Obviously, the Caps wouldn’t necessarily have made these same picks – in fact, it’s almost certain they would not have, given the different needs that teams have in the draft. While none of the lost picks have turned into full-time NHL players, there are a few prospects with promising careers ahead of them.
Caps Pick Up Tim Gleason from Carolina
MacLellan’s first trade at the deadline was the acquisition of veteran defenseman Tim Gleason from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Jack Hillen and a fourth-round draft pick.
The Hurricanes used that draft pick to select center Nicolas Roy out of the QMJHL. Roy increased his production from 16 goals and 50 points in 68 games in 2014-15 to 48 goals and 90 points in 63 games the next season. In addition, he bumped up his +/- rating from a -3 in 2014-15 to +17 in 2015-16 and played two games in Charlotte (Carolina’s AHL affiliate). He was made captain of the Chicoutmi Saqueneens last season and had 36 goals and 80 points with a career-high +30 rating in 53 games. In 17 playoff games for the team, he had eight goals and 21 points. This season, Roy is seventh among Checkers’ players in scoring with 26 points and has tallied eight goals in 48 games.
Meanwhile, Gleason had only two assists and 17 games with the Capitals. He had a +5 +/- in the regular season with Washington and only tallied a single assist and was a -3 in 14 playoff games in 2014-15.
Caps Acquire Curtis Glencross from Calgary
A day after acquiring Gleason, MacLellan acquired winger Curtis Glencross from the Calgary Flames in exchange for second and third round draft picks in 2015.
The Flames used the second-round pick to select defenseman Rasmus Andersson of the OHL’s Barrie Colts. Anderson tallied 64 points, 52 of which were assists, and had a +14 rating in the 2014-15 season and tallied a goal and four points in nine postseason games. In 2015-16, he racked up 51 assists and 60 points in 64 games. He was also a +34 rating, a career high. He averaged a point per game in the playoffs that season. Last year, he made the jump to the AHL and tallied 19 assists and 22 points in 54 games. He was a +13 in his first AHL season but stayed off the score sheet in five playoff games. He also appeared in one regular season games with the Flames and was a -1. This season, Andersson has tallied 23 assists and 27 points in 40 games with the Stockton Heat of the AHL and has a +15 rating. He was a +2 in his lone game with the Flames this season.
The Flames traded the third-round pick from the Capitals in the Glencross trade to the Arizona Coyotes, who selected right wing Jens Looke in the Swedish Junior League. He appeared in the World Junior Championships and the World Championships that season. He averaged a point per game and had 10 goals in 18 games in the SuperElit league but hadn’t tallied more than 10 points in other tournaments he performed in that season. He tallied six goals and 14 points in 10 games in the SuperElit league in 2015-16 but only picked up a goal and four points in seven World Junior Championship games and three goals and seven points in 16 games during the World Championship. He tallied eight goals and 16 points in 46 games in the Allsvenskan league last season and had a -6 rating. He has five goals, 15 points, and a +8 rating with the AHL’s Tuscon Roadrunners in the AHL in 37 games this season but has yet to make his NHL debut.
Glencross got a hot start for Washington, scoring four goals in his first give games as a Capital. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of his time in D.C. He finished the year with four goals and seven points in 18 regular season games. His lone playoff goal came in a 2-1 game loss in the 2nd round series against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers.
Caps Add Mike Weber from Buffalo
The Capitals traded their 2017 third round pick to acquire defensive depth at the deadline, picking up Mike Weber from the Buffalo Sabres.
With the pick, Buffalo selected Finn defenseman Oskari Laaksonen, who came right out of high school. Laaksonen was coming off of a seven goal and 25-point campaign in 48 games. He averaged a point per game and tallied a goal in the playoffs that season. In the U18s in 2016-17, he didn’t score a goal but had 10 assists in 10 games. He also had two goals and four points in four playoff games and added six goals and nine points in 27 games in the U20s. He was a +9 when he was with the U20s and added a goal and two points in six playoff games. This season, the defenseman is a -13 with three goals and 14 points in 37 games. In Liiga in Europe, he has tallied an assist and has a -4 rating in 15 games.
Weber was in and out of the lineup in Washington only playing 10 games in the regular season and only two in the postseason. He finished with a -1 rating in the regular season and made a horrible turnover in front of the net in Game 4 of the Penguins series on the overtime game winner by Patric Hornqvist. He retired from the NHL after getting released from a PTO with the Minnesota Wild during training camp prior to 2016-17.
Caps Pick Up Winnik from Toronto
Also that year, the Capitals acquired forward Daniel Winnik and a 2016 fifth round pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick, and a 2016 second round draft pick. The Caps made the move to free up salary ahead of the offseason.
Toronto selected Swedish left wing Carl Grundstrom, who tallied seven goals and 16 points in 49 games in 2015-16, 14 goals and 20 points in 45 SHL games, three goals and seven points in seven games at the World Juniors and four goals and eight points in 20 games at the World Championships that season. In 2016-17, he tallied 14 goals and 20 points in 45 games in the SHL, three goals and seven points in seven World Junior championship games, and no points in two World Championship games. He has tallied 11 goals and 16 points in 28 games in the Swedish Hockey League this season. Grundstrom has a +3 rating this season.
Washington used the draft pick they acquired from Toronto to select Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, who was coming off of a 13 goal and 29-point campaign in the SuperElit league, where he finished the year as a +11. He scored four goals and tallied eight points in seven playoff games that season. He also tallied two goals and four points in seven games at the World Junior Championships before tallying three goals and six points in 16 World Championship games. He finished as a +4 in each tournament. In 2016-17, he tallied 17 goals and 37 points in 32 games in the SuperElit league. He only had one goal at the International Juniors. So far this season, he has six goals and 12 points in 35 games in the SHL, where he is also a +9. He shined during this year’s World Juniors with two goals and four points in seven games, and he has seven goals and 11 points in 16 games at the International Junior level.
Winnik scored two goals and three points in the last 20 contests of that season, but he amped up his output last year tallying 12 goals and 25 points in 72 games. He played very well with the Caps, contributing nicely on the penalty kill, scoring two short-handed goals. He made the Caps fourth line one of the most impressive in the league last season.
Caps Grab Eller from Montreal
The Capitals acquired Lars Eller from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for 2017 and 2018 second round picks.
The Canadiens used their 2017 pick to select Swedish center Joni Ikonen. He came off of a 17-goal and a 27-point campaign in 21 games in the J18 Elit league, where he was a +16, and a 14-goal, 25-point performance in the J18 Allsveskan, where he was a +12. Last season in the SuperElit league, he recorded 22 goals and 41 points in 40 games, where he was a +8. At the World Juniors last season, he tallied four goals and eight points in seven games with a +4 rating and 11 goals and 23 points in 21 World Championship games. This season, Iknonen is not having a great year with just three goals, nine points, and a -7 rating in 46 games in the Liiga league. He recorded a goal and two points in five games at the World Juniors, where he was a -1 and had one goal in two international junior games this season.
Eller has played great with the Capitals, racking up 12 goals and 25 points in 81 games last season before exceeding his point total by four with 25 games left to go in the regular season. His 11 goals are one goal shy of his output from last season and should shatter his numbers from last season. The Capitals signed him to a 5-year contract extension worth $17.5 million ($3.5 million annual average value) last Saturday. He was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Caps Acquire Shattenkirk from St. Louis
Going all-in for a Cup, the Capitals acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goaltender Pheonix Copley from the St. Louis Blues for a 2017 first round draft pick, forwards Brad Malone and Zach Sanford, and conditional picks that were not triggered.
The Blues traded the first-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers along with a conditional first round pick next year and center Jori Lehtera in exchange for Brayden Schenn on draft day. The Flyers used the draft pick to select center Morgan Frost from the OHL. Frost was coming off of a 20-goal and 62-point performance in 67 games in the OHL in 2016-17, when he was a +15. He added two goals and eight points in 11 playoff games, where he was a +1. This season, Frost had 33 goals and 90 points in 54 games in the OHL. He has a +52 rating and was named an OHL All-Star.
Meanwhile, Shattenkirk tallied two goals and 14 points in 19 games during the regular season games, though he was only a +4 on the President’s Trophy winners and got suspended for two games. He struggled in the playoffs with only a goal and six points in 13 playoff games. MacLellan put all his chips in hoping Shattenkirk would be the final piece to bring a Stanley Cup to Washington but instead had to pay a huge price for an acquisition that didn’t work out. He signed a four-year contract with his hometown New York Rangers worth $26.6 million ($6.65 AAV) as a free agent in the offseason.
Caps Get Graovac from Minnesota; Deal Johansson to Devils
The Capitals also traded a fifth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Tyler Graovac and acquired 2018 second and third round draft picks from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Marcus Johansson last summer. These picks will come this summer during the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23.
By Harrison Brown