“I Think Our Mindset Going Into It Was We Were Going to Try and Trade For Young Players If the Opportunity Presented Itself”: Brian MacLellan on the Capitals’ Trade Deadline Approach

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The Washington Capitals’ trade deadline selloff set in motion a shift in philosophy for the team, who had been avid buyers at deadlines’ past. The team acquired and recalled a number of young players and prospects who have seen time in the lineup due to a multitude of injuries to key players and departures at the deadline.

In a recent appearance on Grant and Danny show on 106.7 TheFan, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan discussed his approach to the deadline, the outlook for his club going forward, and the team’s young prospects.

“I think our mindset going into it was we were going to try and trade for young players if the opportunity presented itself”, said the ninth-year GM. The team dealt a number of veteran players away, including longtime defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway. 

“I think it was really difficult”, MacLellan said of seeing longtime contributors depart, “Because we’ve won, because of what we’ve gone through to win, because these guys all had relationships, I think we’re still going through it as a team. I don’t think anybody’s comfortable with losing good people, as a player, as a room, as a manager. It’s hard to do and it’s gonna take awhile for everybody to get through it, and it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Head Coach Peter Laviolette is in the final year of his current contract, one that has seen the veteran bench boss compile a 111-68-23 record in 202 games (a .606 Points Percentage) in the regular season, while accumulating a 3-8 record in postseason play.

“To a certain extent”, MacLellan responded when asked about the amount of input he has on lineup decisions, “I think the coach, it’s his responsibility to put the lines together. I can have input to a certain extent but you have to give him the responsibility of putting the team together, accomplishing what he wants to accomplish, who he wants to use on specialty teams, how he wants to match up against the other team.”

“I don’t think it works for a manager to come in and control personnel decisions. I can ask ‘what about this, what about that’, but vice versa, you don’t want your coach making personnel decisions…there’s a relationship that has to go on between the two and both of them have to do their job.”

The Capitals debut of defenseman Vincent Iorio was brought about because of injuries to Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary, however, MacLellan seemed to indicate the team would look to give such prospects opportunities when the chance presented itself.

“I think last game, you know [Rasmus] Sandin and [Alex] Alexeyev, Alexeyev played the most minutes two games ago, Sandin was our number one defenseman. I think you’re seeing it happen now on the backend…so it’s happening now more than it has and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

“I think where we’re at now, we’ve got windows where we can check out guys and see where they’re at and help them develop. And…when we’re winning, and competing for a championship, it’s tough to bring young guys in. You can’t afford to develop, you can’t afford to have them make mistakes, that’s the way it goes when you’re competing for a championship.”

With the departures of Orlov, Hathaway, and Erik Gustafsson, the Caps are left with some salary cap room to potentially make some larger-scale moves in the offseason. According their General Manager, the team could look to add a top-six winger this summer.

“Ideally, if we could add a top-six winger that has skill in the offseason I think that would help. We’ll see where our blueline plays itself out. You know we’ve got [John] Carlson coming back, Jensen signed, and the young guys this’ll be a good time for us to evaluate them going forward.”

“I think that was the idea”, MacLellan said further on the deadline approach, “Get some picks, clear some space, create a little bit of opportunity for some of our guys coming up. And to be in the markets, for trade market, free agents, to be able to participate in all those things is something you want to have going into next season.”

To listen to the full segment, click HERE.

By Michael Fleetwood

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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 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. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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8 Responses to “I Think Our Mindset Going Into It Was We Were Going to Try and Trade For Young Players If the Opportunity Presented Itself”: Brian MacLellan on the Capitals’ Trade Deadline Approach

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ovi 35 goals. Noone close to 20 after that. They need a top 3 forward who can score 30.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I really wanted the Caps to get Chycryn – 1st this year, Eller and Boston’s 2nd next year…

  3. James says:

    What we need and what we have cap space for are 2 entirely different things.

  4. horn73 says:

    Love hearing about him wanting a top 6 wing. And the Caps actually do have the money. Him saying he wants a top 6 forward confirms in my mind that Mantha is being traded. He’s not paying two guys over 5m to be on the 3rd line and he isn’t trading 19.

    • KimRB says:

      I agree Horny. Maybe JVR? Reunite the VR Brothers. Tarasenko and Pacioretty are available. Joe Pavelski still has something in the tank, despite his age. He’s been terrific in Dallas. Patrick Kane might be too expensive, and not worth his asking price. Probably resigns in NY, if they can afford him.

      19 has a NMC, and no team is gonna pay assets to get him, at his price. It’d cost the Caps dearly to get rid of him. No one’s gonna pay assets for Mantha eaither

  5. Anonymous says:

    We need the assets to get Mantha’s contract off the books.

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