Capitals last in NHL, first in waiver priority order

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The Washington Capitals are feeling good after routing the Panthers 5-0 on Saturday night, but they’ll occupy last place in the NHL until at least Tuesday night’s game at Florida. That’s not something players want to be reminded of, but the silver lining is that the Caps are first in line to claim a player off waivers.

As Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Post-Dispatch pointed out Sunday morning, Feb. 10 was the first day that NHL standings determined waiver order. At the start of a season, last year’s final standings set the order.

Which team gets awarded a claimed player off waivers, from now through the end of the 2013 regular season, is determined by the “Club having earned the lowest percentage of possible points in the League standing at the time of the request for Waivers.”

The Caps have seven points in 12 games, the fewest total and lowest percentage. And they cannot improve on that until Tuesday, which means they’ll get the pick of players placed on waivers Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

All of this, of course, might be moot. General manager George McPhee and Washington haven’t picked up a player off waivers since Marco Sturm on Feb. 26, 2011. But it doesn’t mean there weren’t claims put in.

Obviously with a last-place team, McPhee was asked Friday about getting itchy fingers to make a move. Whether it’s via trade or waivers, he said he won’t hurt the team long-term for a short-term gain.

“If there’s something I can do to make the club better, I will,” McPhee said. “But I’m not gonna do anything stupid.”

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