- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2017

ARLINGTON — If it’s 40-12-7, don’t fix it. That’s essentially where the Washington Capitals stand a week before the NHL’s trade deadline.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Thursday morning that he doesn’t feel like the roster has any pressing needs. He said he feels this year’s team is the best he’s had around Alex Ovechkin, and it’s possible that he could stand pat through March 1 without making any moves.

“Maybe,” MacLellan said. “I don’t know. I mean, we’re exploring opportunities.”

MacLellan said there are a couple available players he’s made sure to stay involved in talks on. But, he views the market as favoring sellers and doesn’t feel compelled to make a move, unlike in the past two years.

“This year I don’t feel that pressure or that need to do anything,” he said. “We’re exploring opportunities.”

Still, MacLellan knows he could regret not adding pieces if the Capitals injury luck doesn’t continue.

“That’s what we struggle with,” MacLellan said.

Another factor: doing too much could mess with the team’s chemistry. MacLellan mentioned the 2010 trade deadline, when the team made a number of moves, including a trade with Carolina for veteran forward Scott Walker, as an example of over-tinkering.

“There was too many bodies around,” MacLellan said. “I think it was overkill. I think it’s always tough because ideally, you just like to go with what you have, but if someone gets hurt, it’s like, ‘Well, why didn’t you get someone?’ I mean, you’re always going to be opening yourself up to that.”

MacLellan said he doesn’t think the team needs a veteran forward because youngsters like Zach Sanford provide enough depth. He did say he’d like to add a third goalie if the right one was available.

“We’re not going to mess with lines or defensive pairs,” MacLellan said. “If we can upgrade on the fringes, we might do it.”

MacLellan said that he, as he always does, met with Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom to talk about options and get their thoughts on the roster. Overall, MacLellan said the team consensus is that the roster is in a good position and capable of winning a Stanley Cup, though he did say that meeting with both Backstrom and Ovechkin can make for lively conversation.

“They’re usually thinking a little differently because of their personalities. Ovie’s like, ‘Just get someone.’ Nick’s like ‘Wait, wait, wait, don’t.’ It’s kind of a fun dynamic, you know?”

MacLellan also said that he’s spoken with right winger T.J. Oshie’s representation about the possibility of re-signing Oshie, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year. Still, MacLellan said he thought it was unlikely a deal would happen before the end of the year.

“We want to get through and kind of see where we’re at as a team,” MacLellan said. “Obviously we’d like to have him back. He’s been a big part of what we’ve got going on here. I like everything about the player and the person. He’s a great fit.”

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