Should The Washington Capitals Be Buyers Or Sellers At The NHL Trade Deadline?

With less than a week left before the NHL Trade Deadline, and the Capitals losers of five of their last six, the question needs to be asked:

Should General Manager George McPhee be a buyer or a seller?

At the beginning of the season you would have been laughed at by the entire Capitals fan base, because this was the year, wasn’t it? After a season of ups and downs, lefts and rights that nobody saw coming, it appears to be clear that the Washington Capitals are not only a player or two away from making a run through the playoffs towards the elusive Stanley Cup. Quite frankly, they don’t even look like a team that could piece together three, let alone five or six games that could propel them to the top of the Southeast Division.

So then McPhee must ask the question: Are the “(Regular Seasons) Dynasty Capitals” over and done with? And if so, is it time to let go of the soon-to-be unrestricted free agents Mike Knuble, Alexander Semin, and Dennis Wideman before they run off somewhere else on July 1? Or does McPhee keep what he has built, pray to God that Nicklas Backstrom returns from his concussion and the Capitals go on an amazing end-of-the-season run that extends deep into the playoffs?

McPhee, as recently as last week, told reporters that he wants to hold onto the Capitals future assets, in both Russian forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Stanislav Galiev and extending to their two first-round draft picks in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, that could potentially be two top ten draft picks if the Capitals and the Avalanche continue on their respective downward spirals.

As of right now, the Capitals are just under $1 million in cap space. They could clear another $6.7 million if they deem Backstrom unable to come back in the regular season (he would be able to return in the playoffs, salary cap is lifted for the postseason).

So what will McPhee do?

I personally believe he needs to sell at this year’s trade deadline. I also think if they are sellers, they strip Alex Ovechkin of the captaincy in the off-season and give it to a player who deserves it, like Brooks Laich. What do you think?

Comment with what you think the Capitals should do and who they should either trade away or bring in to make a strong playoff run.

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  • Eric

    I agree with selling, to the point of purging some of the “staples” of the caps team. As great as he has been for us, he has been notably absent throughout the playoff’s, and his streaky play has left us both awe-struck and down-trodden. That person is Alexander Semin. We need to deal him, even if it hurts on the trade for meager returns, instead of resigning him. He shows obvious flashes of greatness, but his lackluster performances on a semi-consistent basis needs to go. A fledgling winger would be a nice addition to our squad, one that is a little more gung-ho about playing on both sides of the ice.

    Another key component that has should be sent on his way is Mike Green. I will not argue that he hasn’t been a solid driving force on the caps regular season “dynasty”. But the caps for far too long have had to deal with his season to season injury woes. As time has progressed we have seen that the defense can be just as prolific without him as with him. With Dale Hunter at the helm as well, an offensive defensemen is more out of place, than a rugged defender who will knock you on the boards and take away lanes with his body.

    I can live without Schultz as well, who although can be a solid defender, also lacks the speed and force to really demand the opposing offense to fear him. For as big as Schultz, his stature does not impose and he isn’t the shut down defender we would like to see.

    Vokoun can pack his bags as well. As dynamic of a goalie as we thought we would be getting, we instead picked up a dynamic roller-coaster. I’m a big Neuvirth fan, and wouldn’t mind seeing him in goal. His quiet demeanor isn’t flashy, and yes he gives up goals. But the argument that Vokoun is the better option has been shown to be somewhat of a fallacy. Both have great nights and awful nights. Neuvirth doesn’t have the same pricetag though that Vokoun has claimed. Clearly a let down, we need to take a better look at our young goalies and as much as it may hurt foster them a bit, and help them grow, because you can only stopgap goalies for so long. And typically you stopgap them with goalies that provide the numbers, where Vokoun is greatly lacking.

    With the transition of identity Dale Hunter is showing, we need to focus on grabbing strong, hard hitting, dirty in-the-trenchs players who work hard for puck time and and choke the opposing net to shove in some goals. This would be the opportune time to lock-up Knuble and Wideman as their style of play is very suited to Dale Hunters Motifs. So lock them before they get a chance to sniff free agency, and other teams get to sniff at them.

    • Matt Geiser

      I do agree, and have for awhile, that Semin needs to go. He was only a consistent player one year, and has never played defense for this organization. But you also have to look at it in a way that Semin has been our best player in the past 30 games. In those, he has averaged close to a point per game, and without him, we may be in the basement of the Eastern Conference. However, his stay in Washington has to be over after this season, or even prior to that.

      As for Green, I feel as though he will still be welcomed in Washington. He is a player loved among the fans and will continue to be so. If anything, I believe John Carlson could be traded, or even let go at the end of this year. While he was a great player under Boudreau, he definitely does not fit under Hunter. Hell, he struggles to get the puck out of his own zone 75% of the time. I personally love Carlson, but he needs to go.

      Schultz should have been gone last year. He is such an inconsistent player that I can’t stand to see in the lineup on any given night. Not wishing injury upon anyone, but if only he went down with the groin injury and not Poti…

      Vokoun was a GREAT addition in the offseason…on paper that is. Honestly, this is up in the air for me. Vokoun has played his heart out 90% of the games he has played. He can’t help the team in front of him can’t do anything defensively. I still respect the guy, but give Neuvirth his time in net. And let Holtby be the star that he is supposed to be. At this point, Vokuon can be traded though because this team isn’t making the playoffs.

      I’m not sure if Hunter will remain coach after this season. I don’t know who will be brought in if he goes, I just don’t know. Obviously this isn’t working out for the organization. Knuble is too old to be a productive player, I see him retiring. Bring back Wideman, he has become one of my favorite players on this team. That’s just my opinion on what you think about the trade deadline.

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  • Don Newfan

    The first question to answer is whether Dale Hunter will be the coach next season. If he is the coach then the Capitals are sellers. I do feel however, that the Capitals would be better off being buyers and sellers considering their budding young talent. They should also be in the market for a new coach since Hunter reportedly does not have a long term contract.