- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2018

The Washington Capitals are adding another defenseman a week ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline.

The Capitals traded a third-round pick Monday to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Michal Kempny. The move was made to help a Capitals blue line that is giving up 32.7 shots on goal per game, eighth-most in the league, and features two rookie defensemen.

Kempny, 27, has just seven points (one goal, six assists) this season in 31 games. Since joining the NHL last season, Kempny has been in-and-out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. He had trouble finding playing time in coach Joel Quenneville’s system. Before Chicago, he spent time playing professional hockey overseas.

But he might be worth taking a flyer on to help stabilize a Capitals defense that has given up 2.98 goals per game — a significant jump from their league-best 2.16 goals per game last season.

Some of the Capitals‘ regression was to be expected, considering the loss of defensemen Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt and Kevin Shattenkirk in the offseason. But the Capitals have slumped lately, falling to second place in the Metropolitan Division behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. On Saturday, the Capitals gave up seven goals to the Blackhawks.

For the third-round pick, Chicago will receive either Toronto’s or Washington’s — whichever is higher in this year’s draft. The Capitals had the rights to Toronto’s third-round pick, stemming from New Jersey’s acquisition of forward Marcus Johansson in July.

Kempny carries a $900,000 cap hit and puts the Capitals roster at a maximum of 23 players. The deal also puts the Capitals further against the salary cap, giving Washington just a projected $180,113 of space, according to CapFriendly.

Kempny will be a free agent at the end of the season.


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