The Capitals are 7-1-0 since the trade deadline, when General Manager George McPhee brought in three new players while parting with only one off the current roster and still holding on to the organization’s most prized prospects.
In a recent conversation, along with discussing his take on the playoffs and how much success he requires of the team to consider this year a step forward, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said he felt as though the deadline moves sent an extra burst of energy through the dressing room.
Washington entered the trade deadline with the approach of “we really don’t want to trade one of those four highly touted prospects and we’d prefer to not trade our first round pick but we want to improve the team,” Leonsis said. “George had to thread that needle. I think by bringing in three players like he did without giving up our future it energized the team.”
Picking up Jason Arnott, Dennis Wideman and Marco Sturm were all moves that made sense and addressed some of the team’s depth issues. Granted, Arnott is now week-to-week with an undisclosed injury – McPhee told reporters in Boca Raton, Fla., following the league’s general managers meeting he expects Arnott to miss 7-to-10 days – but his addition and that of Wideman have helped Washington weather injuries to players like Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom.
In numerous interviews around the trade deadline, McPhee referred to five young players that were deemed as non-starters of discussion or sort of untouchable. That group of young prospects consisting of Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Braden Holtby and Cody Eakin also included a player currently on the roster – Marcus Johansson, Leonsis said.
“Every team wanted him,” Leonsis said. “They wanted Kuznetsov, Orlov and some of the prospects that may be a big part of our future. We have some young players that are coveted around the league and a lot of them happen to be centers.
“Now, they all have to come here and play well and earn a spot, maybe go to Hershey,” Leonsis said. “They’re very young but it augers well for the team because we’ll have upside as we bring in new players and you need that mix of new and veterans.”