Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Caps Busy On Trade Day

Contrary to what George McPhee told reporters just yesterday, the Washington Capitals were in the deal making business. He made it sound as if the Caps were comfortable where they were. Trades would not make sense at this point. GMGM sure pulled one over on us.

There were some grumblings about the Capitals shopping Steve Eminger and Ben Clymer around the league. A trade seemed imminent, but it would see the Caps gaining more than dumping. McPhee did say he wasn't in the selling mood. The Caps make an astonishing 5 trades acquiring 5 new players and only losing two. All players the Caps acquired are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

The Caps jumped at an opportunity to land Cristobal Huet for a second round draft pick early. Already GMGM was turning heads. Huet, ranked 11th in the league for goaltenders with a 21-12-6 record and a 2.55 goals against average and a .916 save percentage, will certainly help the Capitals out in net. GMGM acquired Huet with the draft pick he obtained from Anaheim. It does stir a controversy in the goaltender position as Olie Kolzig and Huet will most likely be sharing duties. That leaves Brent Johnson out in the cold. Huet will be a UFA at the end of the season, so it's still unclear if this is just a rental type deal or if the Capitals are interested in signing the goaltender long term.

Then the Caps pulled Sergei Fedorov from Columbus for their next move. While he is no replacement for a Micheal Nylander, Fedorov does add experience in the middle as a solid second or third line center. He may see some time with both Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin on a line, but I am assuming he is there to fill out their center position farther down the line. I don't see McPhee signing Fedorov in the off season, he would be a hefty price tag to keep. But you can not deny Fedorov's veteran status if the Caps were to make the playoffs.

Not long after that was announced, the Capitals made their move again swapping Matts with Vancouver. Matt Pettinger gets to go to his hometown to be a Canuck and Matt Cooke adds some gritty play to the Capitals line up. Cooke, an agitator, actually comes in with better stats then Pettinger. He will be a key checking line acquistion and will prove his worth in a division that seemed to beef up some at the deadline. Pettinger's season was a bit disappointing personally. A change of scene for both players may become a positive for both.

For the final trade, the Caps get back Alexandre Giroux from the Atlanta Thrashers right at the deadline. They give up Joe Motzko who seemed to vanish into the wood work in Hershey, while Giroux seemed to grow up a little. I think McPhee didn't feel right about sending Giroux to Atlanta, and he had an opportunity to get that piece back. But Giroux will be sent to Hershey as soon as he arrives.

The Capitals seemed to make the most head turning moves, and seemed to impress most of the analyst who are still scratching their heads on the Huet deal. GMGM did well, but are these only temporary band-aids for the rest of the season. Will McPhee sign any of the players he traded for. It seems that remains to be see.

Meanwhile Steve Eminger and Ben Clymer are still stuck in the system as neither player was moved.

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