The Washington Capitals had no trades in the works as of late last night, and General Manager George McPhee was not optimistic about the likelihood of making a deal prior to today's 3 p.m. deadline. McPhee has been in contact with several teams but has made no firm offers, sources said, although that could change as the market shifts today.
McPhee, who said top offensive players Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang and Peter Bondra "aren't going anywhere" -- spent last night watching his team play against Philadelphia after being bunkered in the war room for a day and will begin making calls again early this morning. But given the team's payroll constraints, the dwindling field of available players and McPhee's reluctance to trade top prospects or established players, the odds of a deal seemed slight.
"We have interest in some players," McPhee said, "but the price seems pretty high either financially in terms of what the other player is earning or in terms of what they're asking us to give up. We'll continue to look ahead and see if something works out."
Washington had only lukewarm interest in most of the players who moved recently, including Lyle Odelein, and had little chance to land other players. The Capitals made inquiries about Carolina's Glen Wesley, but he had a no-trade clause and chose to go to Toronto. San Jose's Bryan Marchment also generated moderate interest, but he too was allowed to choose his new location (Colorado). The asking price for others who interest Washington, such as Bob Boughner (Calgary), precludes the Capitals from landing them.
McPhee has coveted another physical, veteran defenseman -- the team's primary need -- all season, but with few such players still available the Capitals might have an easier time landing a gritty winger, of which many still abound and could be had for a draft pick.
While McPhee is most comfortable dealing draft picks, sources said he has told teams a few of his mid-range prospects might be available. Premier prospects such as Nolan Yonkman and Maxime Ouellet would not be included in any deal to sign a potential unrestricted free agent, sources said, but Jean-Francois Fortin, Jakub Cutta, Rick Berry and Stephen Peat might be available in the right deal.