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Jaroslav Halak Trade A Smart One For The Capitals

Yesterday, the Washington Capitals traded the rights to soon-to-be free agent goalie Jaroslav Halak to the New York Islanders for a fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL draft. This is a very smart move by the Capitals for several reasons.

Getting Something For Jaroslav Halak

The Capitals had absolutely no interest in re-signing Jaroslav Halak. The Capitals didn’t give up much to get Halak from the Buffalo Sabres (just backup goalie Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla), so that makes it even better. Anytime you can get something for nothing, it’s a good deal.

It Solves The Goaltender Issue

The Jaroslav Halak trade puts to rest any concerns about who is the Capitals’ goaltender for the 2014-2015 season. Barring injury or some unforeseen free agent signing or trade, Braden Holtby will enter the 2014-2015 season as the starting goalie for the Capitals. That’s a smart decision for two reasons.

First, it saves the Capitals some money so that they can invest more money into improving their defense, which is a far bigger concern than their goalies. A good goalie can never make a defense look good, as long as you’re looking at shots on goal. There is virtually nothing a goalie can do to control how many shots on goal he faces. A good defense, however, can make a goalie look good by minimizing the shots on goal that they face. Ergo, it’s smart to not invest much money in your goalie. You can improve your defense and that will make a much bigger impact than if you spend the same amount of money on a goalie.

Secondly, I believe the trade will greatly help Holtby with his confidence. He was not himself last season. He was repeatedly benched for no real reason. Philip Grubauer, Neuvirth, and Jaroslav Halak all started over Holtby. Whenever Holtby would have a bad game, he’d get benched. Whenever Grubauer, Neuvirth, or Halak would have a bad game, coach Adam Oates would give them another chance. Hopefully with this trade, the Capitals can start rebuilding their trust in Holtby.

With this trade, Grubauer can be penciled in as the backup goalie. The Capitals could still sign a veteran backup. I think they should let Grubauer back up, but that’s just me.

Let me know what you think about the trade in the comments!

Tags: Jaroslav Halak Trades Washington Capitals

  • Pivot

    The trade was the smart move to make. The Caps aren’t really built around strong defense and an all world goalie. They’re built strong up front with their top 3. Which they really need to somehow turn into at least 2 scoring lines. The money they save by trading Halak can be used to figure out who the 2nd line Center will be. Laich is not a top 6 Centerman. If he were able to stay healthy, he’d make a good 3rd line player. They may even choose to put him on the wing in favor of Marcus Johansson as the quintessential 3rd line pivot.
    I’m not in favor of what’s best for the Caps but IMO the Mike Green experiment should be over now. The new GM should listen to offers for him. He doesn’t have to bite on the first offer and I’m sure without looking at Greens contract. He could get picks/prospects and players. More specifically defenseman. I believe the kid Kuznetzov is gonna be their 2nd line Center full time at some point next season so they don’t need to spend big money on a long term contract for a Pivot. So the Caps have to build depth. They have a few nice players for the bottom 6 just need the right coach to bridge them together and make the Caps 3rd & 4th lines effective.
    I don’t know who Ted Leonsis will hire but he should hire an experienced coach who can manage the Veterans on this team. A coach that will roll 4 lines.
    Ovie & Backstrom can’t play 23 mins every game. They need depth scoring and a viable top D pair that can take the oppositions top forwards out of the equation. Then they could use their current top 3 defenseman(minus Mike Green) and use them to fill out a formidable back end. Hopefully the next coach realizes that Erskine cannot play top 4 mins. He’s a 7th or even 8th Dman. If need be Erskine can play as the 6th D and play 10 mins a game when needed. He can play tough and kill penalties. That’s as useful as he can be. I will laugh if he’s in the top 6 defense for the Caps next year.
    Holtby looked like an all star goalie in 11/12 when Dale Hunter used a Defensive scheme. Like Dave said a solid defense core can make a goalie look good. The Caps need that one shutdown D that plays all situations most importantly. Another top pair or top 4 defenseman will help build depth for them through the grind of 82 and the playoffs. Good luck. The Caps have a decent draft position they can dangle to teams as well. That’s what I’d do with a new GM and coach coming in that’re unfamiliar with the Caps system. It’s pretty dried up from McFee trading assets for veterans at past trade deadline. The one he made with Nashville getting Erat for Fillip Foresberg will go down as part of McFee’s legacy. Tho he was a NY Ranger so I like him.
    Thanks for reading. Nice post. You should post something about offseason targets and holes to fill. Some of what I wrote here should be part of the Caps blue print.

  • Hockeydude99

    I agee! But with a few changes……1) Johansson should be traded along with Green; 2) The 2nd center should be Grabovski and Laich if he makes the team 3rd line center; 3) Wilson should be given a shot at being on the 1st line with Backs and Ovie as he would add the physical presence needed to keep teams honest; 4) Wilson should also be played more on the Power Play as his physical positioning in front of the net, reminds me of Knuble, would be devastating; 5) play
    Kuznetsov as forward on the 2nd line; 6) the third line would be Ward, Laich and Chimera; 7) that leaves Beagle, Barber, Galiev, Stoa, Latta, Brown and anyone that they sign or trade for to fill in on this line; 8) Def pairings Alzner/Carlson, and 4 of the following Orlov, Wey, Schilling, Schmidt, Erskine, Strachan, McNeill, Rissling and Koudys plus who ever they get for Green and Johansson; 9) Finally fehrwould be the odd man out or have to play on the 4th line unless Laich is hurt/traded and then he could return to the 3rd line. Im very happy with the goalies that we have as an improved D will only improve the goalies! I doubt if they sign Penner but if they could afford him he would be great on the PP and 1st line as that is what he has done most of his career except here under Oates.