Wednesday, March 03, 2010

GM Adds Plenty Of Depth

George McPhee had a plan going into this year's trade deadline. Add some depth to get through the playoffs. Injuries played a bit role in the past two post seasons for the Capitals. Forcing younger players to mature much faster than planned.

"I like what we did," McPhee told reports as the dust settled on trade deadline day. "We got better, and deeper, and we didn't give up our future to do it, and we didn't take on any bad contracts to do it, so I was really pleased with the way it went."

What they got were a pair of forwards and a pair of defensemen for a development player, a defenseman and two second rounders, a sixth rounder and a seventh rounder.

The Capitals bolstered their blue line with the return of Milan Jurcina come back from Columbus and big guy Joe Corvo from Carolina. McPhee felt that getting Juice back puts his best shut down pair of Poti and Jurcina back together. Jurcina played solid enough to get a start every night for the Blue Jackets earning him a roster spot on the Slovakian national team at the Olympics in Vancouver.

Joe Corvo will bring a heavy shot to the point and some solid veteran defensive skills back there too. analyst Micheal Peca broke down Corvo's role with the Capitals: "I think Mike Green's going to need some support. You get into the playoffs, as an opposing team you identify certain players that you're going to target and try to affect physically, and I think if Washington has the ability to reduce Green's minutes early on in the playoffs, it'll benefit the team in the long run. I think Corvo's the guy."

With the pair of defensemen, McPhee took on some more grit and veterans up front. Eric Belanger and Scott Walker add some muscle and some set up ability for the Capitals up front.

"Belanger brings us some speed and experience at center ice," Mcphee said of his new centerman. "[It's] the sort of thing we were looking for, and he's also real good on faceoffs."

"We like his experience and his ability to shut people down, he's on pace for probably 18 goals this year, which is fine; he'll help us on our penalty killing. We just got another player who is a hard guy to play against."

"I like Walker because Ovechkin and Semin are going to face a lot of physical attention, come playoff time," Peca said on TSN. "Walker is a great equalizer. He's a guy who will identify the other team's best player and you don't know what's coming."

The Capitals did lose Brian Potheir and development player Oskar Osala. But for the most part, McPhee was able to keep his core of youth together while getting the players he wanted. "We had an untouchable list and we didn't give away any of those players," McPhee explained.

Overall, I give the Caps and GMGM a B. He was successful in adding the depth he needed, but the market wasn't there for better players. He didn't give up anything he couldn't live without and in the end that is probably the most important fact on day's end.

Fitting the new players in will take some time for everyone. But they won't have too much time to think about it since they play a pair of back to back games, then play a game every other night through March. A busy schedule will force the coaching staff to figure it out on the fly.

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