On a slow-moving trade deadline day across the NHL, it was entirely silent in Washington. The Capitals, who currently sit one point out of a playoff position, did not make a move before the 3 p.m. deadline. With 20 games remaining in the regular season, they will continue their push for the postseason with the group as it stands.
It’s perplexing, to say the least, that Washington didn’t complete a single trade, but 10 days ago General Manager George McPhee admitted that he didn’t know what this year’s deadline would hold. McPhee is expected to meet with reporters at 5 p.m.
“I don’t know whether we’re going to make a hockey trade, do a rental, something more permanent or do nothing,” McPhee said back on Feb. 16. “I don’t know. You have your own ideas but they may not develop into anything.”
Of the players on Washington’s roster, disgruntled veterans Roman Hamrlik and Mike Knuble seemed to be the most likely candidates to move, at the very least. Both have sat out as a healthy scratch on multiple occasions and both have voiced their frustration at being out of the lineup.
The Capitals are one point behind the eighth-place Winnipeg Jets and three behind the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers, who have one game in hand. Winnipeg plays Monday night and after the conclusion of that contest will have played three more games than the Capitals.
— Earlier on Monday, Washington placed concussed center Nicklas Backstrom on the long-term injury list retroactive to Jan. 4 in what appeared to be a preemptive move to free up space under the salary cap.
The absence of any deals means the Capitals still have room for Backstrom under the salary cap on the off chance he would be able to return before end of the regular season. That said Backstrom has missed 25 games, has skated for only five minutes over the past 52 days and there remains no indication when he will be back on the ice.