The Latest One That Got Away: Jonas Siegenthaler Thriving With The Devils


There’s a big difference between crying over spilt milk and assessing a move to determine what went wrong, all for the betterment of the future. This is the latest case for the Washington Capitals.

If you haven’t been following the New Jersey Devils, and let’s be honest, why would you? It’s looking more and more like former Capitals’ defensive prospect, noted bench-whistler and Andy Griffith show fan Jonas Siegenthaler is looking like the “real deal”. I say “looking more and more like”, because, as is the case with any trade, the results can fluctuate with time.

The Capitals traded Siegenthaler last April to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the Arizona Coyotes’ third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The move cleared $800,000 in much-needed cap space for the Capitals.

There is no doubt the situation reached a crescendo for Siegenthaler on March 11, 2021, against the Flyers, when he was finally added to the lineup but played just 28 seconds in the game. 28 seconds. He was added as a 7th defenseman and didn’t see ice time until the game was secured.

“I wanted to get out of Washington because I didn’t play. Of course, that’s a bit of a shame, because I had it very good with my teammates and found Washington as a city was cool,”added Siegenthaler, looking back on the trade. Siegenthaler said the situation in Washington changed for him when the Capitals signed veteran defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Jonas wanting out of DC is not the reason for his trade. No, the real reason is the Capitals not trusting and playing a young defenseman enough to the point he wanted out. The team spent years developing a second-round draft pick that is turning out to be a top-tier defenseman.

The Capitals fumbled the handling of Jonas Siegenthaler, there’s no doubt. The lesson now is to figure out where it went wrong and avoid doing it again. Chandler Stephenson is another similar example. He was dealt to the Vegas Knights for a 5th-round draft pick. He now centers their top line and leads the team in points.

The “all in” battle cry the Capitals currently operate under makes some sense during the final years of the Ovechkin and Backstrom era, but moves they make to “reload” for the season could actually diminish their chances. It’s hard to deny the Capitals would be a better team with Siegenthaler, and thus have a better chance for another run for a Cup in the Ovechkin-Backstrom era.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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17 Responses to The Latest One That Got Away: Jonas Siegenthaler Thriving With The Devils

  1. novafyre says:

    Laviolette is a veterans’ coach. I’m beginning to think GMBM is a veterans’ GM.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    A reader also pointed to Travis Boyd.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I feel there is a bit too much positive buzz surrounding GMBMs moves over last five years. He won the Cup, and deserves much of the buzz, but a few of his moves have been real head scratchers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Caps don’t learn. Forsberg, Burakovsky, Stephenson. Not a bad second line with nothing to show for them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The writing is on the wall. Reboot the roster asap by trading away all the veterans. Unfortunately Ted only cares about the short term dollars. Maybe by 2030 they will be a real contender.

    • novafyre says:

      I don’t agree that Ted is only concerned with short-term dollars. When the team is tanking, seats tank, season tickets tank, mdse tanks, concessions suffer. And I have to believe that all are suffering right now.

      Ted is loyal to those who have made him successful in the past. This is great up to a point. But at some point, as you say, you need to go after some young guns as we had in the early Ovi/Gabby years. And a coaching staff who can get the best out of them.

  6. steven says:

    In my opinion because of the contracts given to Ovie, Backy, Carlson and Orlov the Caos ahve had to almost give away young players that if they were here would be producing and helping this team. Truly a shame. I understand that players want to get paid but at some point ownership and management have to say NO, we need to keep our young players like. Stephenson. Boyd, Burakovsky, Forsburg, Siegenthaler, Grubby (was sent away to give Holtby his big contract rather than keeping him and either trading or letting Holtby go). Sometimes you have to let veterans go or trade them to keep a good young core of players. Traded Varna not to pay him but took a player in the trade Mantha who makes more than Varna makes with his new contract and is a year older and frankly is not the scorer that Varna is. So they were scared of salary yet took on more salary for a player who probably will not score like Varna. I have said for years GMBM is nothing more than a clone of GMGM. I truly believe that this team needs a philosophical change in management and needs to get younger in the front office and coaching staff. Sad to say this but the Caps as they are now are NOT a CUP team and need a young coach for the rebuild which should start this off season when Schultz and Kempny and Irwin go and probably Hagelin. This opens up some money to pay and keep young players. The Caps also need to make a decision on goalie; is Samsonov worth more than his current $2 mil contract, do you pay Vanecek and let Sammy go by trade? Do you let Eller go in a trade and let either Protas or McMichael play their natural position? Can you really afford to keep Oshie and his salary especially as he is getting older and more suspectable to injury especially at his size playing in front of the net? It is obvious that the HC has no use for Sprong so do you trade him, let him walk or resign him to sit on the bench. Do you resign Snively or Sprong or both or neither? How can you retool a team when you have 8 players who make 69% of the team salary cap and you have UFA and RFA to sign? TO me some of the salary has to go to improve this team and not by trading young players for “old” players.

    • novafyre says:

      When owners hire GMs and coaches, they are looking for people who have the same philosophy. Ted is wedded to not only Ovi and Backy, but to all the older core around them. So he has a GM who also believes in veterans over prospects and they hired a coach who has publicly said the same. He wants to play proven vets.

      I started out thinking it was Laviolette, then moved up to the GM, and now I believe that whole veterans thing is coming from Ted. That is his philosophy and which employee is going to go against him?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s ownership, not a GMBM thing. Leonsis wants to be loyal to Ovie and Backs. Tough to bring the young guys along and pay up as they grow with so much allocated to the veterans.

    https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/31943356/inside-negotiations-alex-ovechkin-five-year-475-million-deal

    • novafyre says:

      Very true for those who have moved on. It is almost impossible to bump an Ovi, Crosby, Zara, Henrik, Fleury. Especially when they are not only future Hall of Famers but also fan favorites and account for a big portion of your mdse sales.

      But Laviolette has a lot of prospects right now that even when dressed are warming the bench. Look at their ice time. And Laviolette has said that unless the Caps are ahead he is going to shorten the bench and rely on his proven veterans. So the up and coming are getting it from
      Ted, GMBM, and the coach.

    • Franky619 says:

      Being loyal to Ovy is alright he made that franchise and filled up Leonsis’s pocket for many years. He’s still worth every penny anyway. Problem is Backstrom, should have been traded years ago while some morons still tought he was underrated. Laviolette does’nt even trust him to take important face off in the offensive zone when trying to come back in a game. And rightfully so he’s lame on face off. He’s no more than a 3rd line center with PP benefits at this point.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What bothered me was Jonas being a 2nd, playing a regular spot and then traded for a 3rd…. I thought he was worth much more… Burky is doing well in COL and Boyd just signed a new deal with Arizona.

  9. red says:

    I was at the arena when Stephenson played his first game as a Cap and my immediate thought was, “What took them so long to bring him up?” He was strong and swift on his skates and he just plain looked like he knew what he was doing out there. And, of course, he just couldn’t get ice time. I think the Caps did have an inkling of what they had in him and so did GMGM who had drafted him. Getting him for a 5th was highway robbery. Still for Chandler’s sake, it was a good thing: he’s the number 2 (now) center on an elite team and its leading scorer and there was no way that was ever going to happen in DC. Given the choice, I would’ve preferred Stephenson to Burakovsky.

  10. redLitYogi says:

    The handling of Seigenthaler will always be a mystery to me. He was rock solid for us the prior two years whenever given the opportunity and he was a solid, fast, smart, and hard hitting shutdown defenseman. And he couldn’t even get a minute of ice time. It will always remain strange to me that we only got a 3rd for Jonas but somehow got TWO number twos for Dillon who, in my mind, was not as good.

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