- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Capitals in no-man’s land as NHL trade deadline approaches
Question of the Day
In a typical NHL season, each team plays roughly 60 games by the time the trade deadline rolls around. It’s possible to draw an invisible line in the standings and designate some buyers and sellers.
Not this year. In this lockout-shortened, 48-game season, only a handful of teams are out of it, making an already uncertain trading environment even murkier.
Count the Washington Capitals among a swath of teams in the middle ground between buying and selling, as they are just three points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but also find themselves in 11th place.
“I think we’re close enough into the playoffs that it’s not going to be a fire sale around here,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “I think we have too many good players, too many assets right now to try and get rid of players and build for the future. We’re very bent on making the playoffs, very focused on making the playoffs and you can’t really worry about those things.”
Because of a desire to make the playoffs and protect the future, the Caps could be quiet as the deadline of 3 p.m. Wednesday looms. It would be difficult to envision general manager George McPhee trading any of his top prospects, center Evgeny Kuznetsov, forward Filip Forsberg or right wing Tom Wilson. And it seems unlikely he’ll deal center Mike Ribeiro, even if the team and the unrestricted free agent cannot come to terms on a contract extension.
“You have to balance these things. And I simply make decisions based on what’s best for the organization,” McPhee said. “That’s how we approach things. That’s how we approach the deadline.”
If the Caps shop Ribeiro, they could get a haul for their leading scorer, who’s in the final season of a five-year, $25 million contract. Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli pointed out that rental players are more valuable than in years past because the salary cap is going down to $64.3 million next season from the current $70.3 million.
Ribeiro has made it known he wants a long-term deal and some stability for his family, and agent Don Meehan has been involved in ongoing talks with the Caps about a new contract.
“I don’t want to move all the time,” Ribeiro said. “If I get traded before the end of this year and then move again at the beginning of the next year [I’d have to]. So we’ll see. It’s part of the business.”
Pending restricted free agent goaltender Michal Neuvirth has appeared in just three of the Caps’ past 24 games, but his uncertain injury status could affect things. McPhee does not appear in any rush to get rid of the 25-year-old, who sees himself as a starter but is clearly the backup to Braden Holtby.
Other than Ribeiro, the only healthy pending unrestricted free agents the Caps have are forward Matt Hendricks and defenseman Jack Hillen, both of whom fill critical roles on coach Adam Oates’ team. And with the playoffs so close after a strong March, McPhee doesn’t seem keen on selling right now.
“We want to make the playoffs,” he said. “And that’s the plan going into the trading deadline: What can we do that’s best for the organization and helps us make the playoffs?”
Acquiring a scoring winger would help the cause, but to get a difference-maker would almost certainly cost the Caps a prominent piece of their future. McPhee said the deadline, like the season, “doesn’t have a great feel to it,” but the possibility exists of making a so-called hockey trade, potentially drawing from a deep pool of defensemen to add another forward.
From inside the locker room, a few players brushed off trade speculation as not much of a factor, individually or around the team.
“We haven’t talked about it but … if we can improve our team we will, if we can’t then we won’t,” forward Brooks Laich said. “But that’s the nice part about being a player: You just play.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is 'imminent'
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- CANNON: With Russia, different airline crash, same results
- 3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq