A short history of George McPhee being happy at the trade deadline


McPhee in 2013. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Every year, George McPhee is happy with what the Caps do at the trade deadline.

This makes sense, because George McPhee is in charge of what the Caps do at the trade deadline. If they made moves at the trade deadline, and their GM didn’t like those moves, that would be odd.

Still, the team’s fanbase is largely enraged on this particular morning, convinced that McPhee made perhaps marginal upgrades in areas that didn’t need much upgrading this week while ignoring the smoldering wreckage of a blueline that promptly allowed six goals in Philadelphia. (One was an empty-netter. But I’m trying to be dramatic.)

(Also, here’s a writerly tip: If you attribute such thoughts to “the fanbase,” you can absolve yourself of any responsibility for or ownership of the opinion. But look: Angry fanbase.)

Still, McPhee was happy with what the Caps did at the trade deadline.

“It’s a young group, but they’re good,” he said of his defensemen, adding that “I like the way this deadline went.”

A cheap move would be to go back through the years and quote McPhee liking the way every deadline has ever gone. I’m not above cheap moves.

2013: The Caps traded top prospect Filip Forsberg for veteran winger Marty Erat.

“They’re never easy decisions. It takes some guts to do deals sometimes,” McPhee said. “With respect to giving up young players, you’ve got to be careful doing that, but we’ve drafted well enough that we can do it. And I wanted to help this team now.”

“With the way our club’s been playing I thought I owed it to our players to help them out,” he also said. “I heard the players loud and clear the other day when they didn’t want us to be a seller. We think we have a real good hockey club and we’re going to keep pushing for the playoffs here.”

2012: The Caps did nothing.

“I certainly think we’re capable of making the playoffs with this team right now,” McPhee said. “If Nicky Backstrom came back, it certainly would improve our chances of being able to win a Cup. We can make the playoffs with this team. And if he comes back, we can beat anybody in this conference.”

“We have some terrific young players in our lineup right now because we didn’t make mistakes the last three or four years,” McPhee also said. “And we’re going to have some terrific young players going forward because we didn’t give them away today. Just not going to make that mistake. Sometimes no deal is better than a bad deal.”

2011: The Caps added Jason Arnott and Dennis Wideman for draft picks, David Steckel and  Jake Hauswirth.

“I’m really happy with what we’ve acquired,” McPhee said. “We’ve addressed specific needs that we’ve had and they’re all good, experienced, veteran players that we hopefully will assimilate quickly and help us.”

2010: The Caps added Joe Corvo, Milan Jurcina, Scott Walker and Eric Belanger for Brian Pothier and other assets.

“I like what we did,” McPhee said. ” 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. … I certainly like our team, and our depth, and our versatility. Obviously I’m happy with what went on today.”

2009: The Caps did nothing.

“We would like to be a good team for a number of years and be knocking on the door every year, rather than load up and hope you can do it one year and then be scrambling for a few years,” McPhee said. “If you can give up a first-round pick or young players to bring in a rental, that’s the sucker’s game that hurts you a year or so down the line….This year I just didn’t feel it. Some years there’s nothing out there to help your club and no deal is better than a bad deal.”

2008: The Caps got Cristobal Huet, Sergei Fedorov and Matt Cooke for a pick, a prospect and Matt Pettinger.

“We thought that if we could give our team a push to get into the playoffs, and add a few things without giving up a lot, then we would do it,” McPhee said. “I think we accomplished that.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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