As the trade deadline approaches, General Manager George McPhee has got to make a decision: Are the Capitals buyers or sellers?

Despite a demoralizing 5-0 loss in Carolina last night, Washington is still just two points behind Southeast Division leader Florida. A few tweaks may not be a long-term solution, but they might help push the Capitals into the postseason.

But, as Tarik El-Bashir writes in today’s On Hockey, Washington’s problems clearly run deep. It may be time to accept that, start shedding salary and begin retooling for next year:

If there was any doubt before, there should be none now. It’s always been about the players.

From the outside, there doesn’t appear to be a strong leader in the Capitals’ dressing room. Players used words like “embarrassing” after Monday’s defeat. But what was said in the room before the game? Between periods of a contest that featured everything but the Capitals waving a white flag?

There was a certain chemistry that defined previous incarnations of this club. This season’s team is missing that cohesion.

If rebooting is the route McPhee choses, other team’s draft picks, prospects and young players are available. Why wait until the offseason?

The third option, of course, would be to do nothing at the deadline. Which route should McPhee pursue? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Post Sports:
Ovechkin absent from practice Tuesday
On Hockey: Buy or sell, Caps should act
Capitals dominated by Hurricanes, 5-0
Leonsis: Capitals’ loss is ‘unacceptable’