General manager George McPhee has been a busy bee so far this week. Not only his he using up cell phone minutes, but he is looking to improve his squad. The rumors that have circled around the Washington Capitals has two areas of concern that McPhee seems to concentrating on.
One area seems to be leadership. It is rumored that the Capitals are in talks with the Islanders to work out a trade with Bill Guerin. While he is not having a career year, Guerin brings a gritty leadership and playoff savvy to the Capitals. Bruce Boudreau recently called out his team's leadership in their embarrassing loss at home to the Florida Panthers. It is an area the Caps need someone with playoff experience to step in and be a voice in the locker room when things aren't going so great.
The Islanders have not released who they are talking to concerning Guerin, however.
The other area of concentration is on defense. The Caps are rumored to be in talks with several teams about potential trades with blueliners. The list includes Chris Pronger, Tomas Kaberle and even Brendan Witt. The Caps need a shut down guy that isn't afraid to make a game changing big hit and keep opponents honest in front of Jose Theodore. All this and staying out of the penalty box would be nice. The Panther game seemed to be a micro-chasm of problems for the Caps this season.
The Caps are also looking for some secondary scoring, but that just seems like hobby rather than a concentration at the deadline. The Capitals' name has been linked to landing Marian Gaborik who is recovering from hip surgery.
The Caps are not looking for goaltending. Even when it looked like that was going to be the problem earlier this season. Theo has shored up his play and has been more consistent. The Caps believe if they can solve their leadership and defensive shortcomings, then nothing but good things will happen.
Possible players the Capitals could be shopping include, but are not limited to, Micheal Nylander and his heavy contract will free up cap space and teams desperate for some scoring may take a chance. Sami Lepisto may be on that list as he comes up as a RFA and didn't play as well as management thought he would when they recalled him earlier this year. Shaone Morrisonn is also a possible trade. While Morrisonn has been a solid blue liner for the Caps, his contract is up and since he went through arbitration at the beginning of this season, the Caps may not want to go through that again.
As always if I hear of any rumors concerning the Capitals I will pass them on. I will also be around all day Wednesday as the trades come flowing in at the deadline. Last season McPhee pulled some smart trades to improve his team, it will be interesting to see how he performs this year.