The Washington Capitals are in a tight Metropolitan Division race. With the NHL Trade Deadline just a couple of days away, the Washington Capitals have taken an aggressive approach to this Deadline.
Last Thursday, the Capitals made a deal with the Los Angeles Kings and acquired forward Carl Hagelin. 24 hours later, the Capitals made a trade with Detroit and acquired defenseman Nick Jensen.
The deals for these players are quality depth moves for the Capitals organization. Hagelin is on an expiring contract, and might be just a pure rental for the Capitals and their postseason aspirations. With Jensen, the Capitals re-signed him immediately after trading for him to a new four-year contract.
PENALTY KILL UPGRADES
The penalty kill has been a struggle at times for the Capitals in 2018-19. With the addition of Hagelin, the Capitals get a proven penalty killer that is tough along the boards and can quickly transition the puck up the ice for breakaway chances. The Capitals have become very familiar with Hagelin’s abilities with his stints in Pittsburgh and New York. In addition to Hagelin’s speed on the ice, he is well-respected as one of the league’s top playoff performers.
Jensen’s addition will give the other Capitals defenders relief on the penalty kill. With another defenseman that can be used for penalty killing duty, that should lower the penalty-killing icetime for players like Matt Niskanen, John Carlson, and Brooks Orpik. With another defender in the mix that can penalty kill, it should give the Capitals defenders in the top four more rest as the season progresses.
The top teams in the NHL’s Eastern Conference all have speed and quick players. Some of the fastest teams and players are inside the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals face fast players from the Islanders, Penguins, and Blue Jackets. In the Atlantic Division, Tampa Bay and Toronto have some of the league’s quickest players on their respective rosters.
The Capitals have plenty of players that are quick and big. Approaching the Trade Deadline, Capitals management took notes as to some of the weaker areas of the club. Before the trades, the Capitals wanted to add more speed in their bottom-six forward group and third defensive pairing. Hagelin and Jensen both fit the bill, and should be upgrades in key areas of need.
With the league having plenty of youth, the need for speed has become key. The Capitals toughest competition in the Eastern Conference all have quick lineups.
The Capitals newest trade acquisitions were heavily sought after by other clubs in recent weeks, and the Capitals got ahead of the competition in hopes to repeat for a Stanley Cup. The Capitals are built for another deep run, and the latest additions will only help their odds to winning again.
By: George Foussekis