On an NHL Trade Deadline Day that saw the Capitals go without making a move, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan met with the media shortly after the 3:00 P.M. deadline to discuss the team’s acquisitions of Carl Hagelin and Nick Jensen, expectations for the team and players the rest of the season, and the possibility of re-signing right wing Brett Connolly, among others topics.
Commenting on a “quiet day”, MacLellan praised the skill-set of both Hagelin and Jensen, citing Jensen’s speed, improved and elevated play, and compete level as reason the Capitals were interested in acquiring him. “I don’t know if there was another guy out there….but given the way he plays, I think he’s a perfect fit for us”. MacLellan also revealed the Capitals were persistent in calls to the Detroit Red Wings (from which they acquired Jensen) up until they completed the transaction.
MacLellan praised Hagelin’s role on the penalty kill, saying “I like Hagelin on the PK…he’s always been a thorn in our side, and he’s a guy that can disrupt power plays”. MacLellan was asked about the Capitals’ decision to waive Devante Smith-Pelly, saying that the decision whether to waive Smith-Pelly or Dmitrij Jaskin was ultimately a last-minute “internal” decision to free cap space. “I think he didn’t have the best training camp, and I think maybe expectations were he would pick up where he left off [in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs]”. MacLellan also iterated the team could still bring him up for a playoff run this spring.
MacLellan confirmed that the Capitals fielded offers on pending restricted free agent and young forward Andre Burakovsky, who was a name in trade rumors earlier this season, saying the team ultimately did not pull the trigger on any transaction. MacLellan said that he expects the 24-year old former first-round pick to continue to pick up his production (he has seven points in his last 10 games) the rest of this season.
MacLellan was asked about pending unrestricted free agent Brett Connolly, who is in the midst of a career season offensively, having recorded 33 points in 63 games played this season. MacLellan reiterated the team would be interested in re-signing the 26-year old right wing, but also said the decision would come down to the team’s salary cap situation after attending to other business and Connolly’s asking price. He also said the team has had brief talks with forward Jakub Vrana’s representative about a contract extension.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 25, 2019
By Michael Fleetwood