There’s a saying that when you make trades, two half-dollars doesn’t equal a dollar. Nowhere is this clearer than on the Washington Capitals. Let’s bandy some trade rumors/ ranting around and see what comes out.
For example, if you look at Brooks Laich, Martin Erat, and Joel Ward, you have three “half-dollars”. A half-dollar is a talented piece of the puzzle but in the end, doesn’t have the talent to be a difference maker.
Right now, Ward and Erat are playing on the third and fourth lines respectively. While Erat will likely not remain on the fourth line for long (I suspect he is there to mentor Wilson), it is still frustrating to see a player who we traded our top prospect for and are paying $4.5 million a year be stuck on the lower lines.
The problem, though, is not with Erat or Adam Oates. Oates has to put the best team he can on the ice and if he doesn’t think Erat should be on the top lines then so be it. Oates has earned the benefit of the doubt.
Put the blame where it belongs, directly on the shoulders of George McPhee. McPhee is not the worst GMGM in the NHL but he certainly is nowhere near the best.
Again, you have to ask yourself would you rather have Erat and Ward (two half dollars) or Hendricks/ Beagle and the like combined with say a Bobby Ryan, James Neal, Dennis Seidenburg, or Dion Phaneuf (a dollar and a quarter)?
Next time you hear a complaint about scoring depth, remember that the Capitals have never pulled the trigger on acquiring an elite player for a prospect. Imagine what a combo of Cody Eakin and Filip Forsberg could have gotten.
Third and fourth liners are a dime a dozen; top six forwards and top four defensemen are harder to find. The key is not simply scoring depth (we had that in Alexander Semin and see how that worked out). The key is to find a scoring winger who can grind in the corners.
We finally have the center—Mikhail Grabovski– whom we have been waiting for. We now need to make one more trade to elevate this group.
In a later article, I’ll take a more in-depth look at some potential trade candidates. Again, the Capitals need to find an elite defenseman—a challenging task because they don’t exactly grow on trees.
Some potential targets, though, if we are going to shoot for the moon (but still maintain some semblance of realism), could be Keith Yandle , Tyler Myers (maybe we can swing a deal around Neuvirth and some future assets)and Dan Girardi (I would love to see Girardi paired with Carlson).
The point is that, the Capitals are too bottom heavy and need to get another elite defensive, physically imposing, defenseman. If the Caps were somehow able to acquire a defenseman of that skill, they will instantly be transformed into a team with the potential to make a deep playoff run.