(Ricky Carioti/WASHINGTON POST)

From John Feinstein’s column:

That’s why it probably wasn’t an accident that there were no fewer than 12 scouts in the building on Monday — including Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier. It probably wasn’t an accident that the Caps decided to call up talented 22-year-old goalie Braden Holtby on the spur of the moment for a spot start.

It also may not be an accident that Mike Knuble, who doesn’t need to be put on display for teams to know what he brings to a locker room, sat out a third straight game. Knuble is 39, one of those guys who can bring instant leadership and maturity to a contending team. Healthy and rested he might be a better trading chip than if he appears tired and a bit out of sorts, which has been the case recently.

McPhee has other chips he can play. If he believes Green is going to be healthy he has two young defensemen, John Carlson and Dimitry Orlov, who many teams would covet. He also has Dennis Wideman, an all-star defenseman who is a free agent this summer. What’s more, he has two first-round draft picks in a draft reportedly chock full of talented defensemen.

The Capitals could use a reliable center whether Backstrom returns or not. Is that the move McPhee needs to make to get Washington into the playoffs, and how much should he give up to get it? Or do the Capitals’ problems run much deeper than a missing piece or two? Share your thoughts on the trade deadline in the comments section below.

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