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Capitals trade captain Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina for Jason Chimera

"I'm shocked," Clark said "I didn't mind a diminished role [in Washington] because we were winning so much and we're such a great team and had a chance to do something in the playoffs. I would have taken any role on this team to do that. But now I'm going to start all over again. Hopefully, Columbus will be in that position in a few years."

Jurcina, meantime, had been a healthy scratch in three of the past four games and did not seem to thrive in a situation where nine defensemen were in competition for six spots in the lineup each night. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and after winning an arbitration award of $1.375 million last summer, could be in line for another significant raise.

"We had nine defensemen who could play, and you can't play them all," said Boudreau, who noted that dealing Jurcina leaves the Capitals with two right-handed defensemen and six lefties, which is not ideal.

The trade also netted the Capitals about $2.2 million in salary-cap space, just two weeks after the team cleared almost $5 million off the cap by loaning veteran center Michael Nylander to the minor league Grand Rapids Griffins.

McPhee acknowledged that the moves have provided Washington with the financial flexibility to make an upgrade. But he said the acquisition of Chimera, who has three years remaining on his contract at $1.875 million per season, doesn't necessarily mean that they will make any more moves.

"This wasn't necessarily about cap space and that sort of thing because we have space," McPhee said. "This was about [making] the right move for the team in terms of players."

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