The Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee attacked the trade deadline with one goal in mind: to win the Stanley Cup. The Caps were able to add four three new faces to their roster in
Scott Walker and Joe Corvo from the Carolina Hurricanes and Eric Belanger from the Minnesota Wild, while Milan Jurcina returns from Columbus after a six-week stint with the Blue Jackets. McPhee and DC Coach Bruce Boudreau were able to cross a good deal off their “to acquire” list- experience, a passion for the game, a true Center, defensive abilities, puck handling- while not giving up much in return. The list of casualties include the Caps’ 2nd and 2nd, 6th and 7th round draft picks in 2010 and a 2nd round pick in 2011,as well as Brian Pothier and Oskar Osala. Thankfully the nucleus of the team was unscathed, while it was able to beef up an area that had been discussed as it’s undoing the past two seasons: its playoff familiarity. The new Caps can now offer 118 games of post-season hockey knowledge.
Scott Walker, RW: Acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes for a 7th round draft pick in 2010.
Walker brings additional grit, energy and leadership to the Capitals’ roster. At 5’10” and 190 pounds he might not be the biggest guy on the ice, but this ex-defenseman knows how to make his size work for him. In 32 games this season, the 36-year-old has three goals and two assists with a minus-5 rating, and has only recently returned Tuesday after shoulder surgery. A steal of a trade for a 7th rounder, ANY positive output from him will justify the move. A fan favorite in every city he’s played, Walker is a UFA at end of the year. Cap Hit: $ 2.5M
Eric Belanger, C: Acquired from the Minnesota Wild for a 2nd round draft pick in 2010.
Belanger is a strong two-way player that boasts a 57.6 faceoff win percent – which would place him 3rd on the Caps behind Dave Steckel (60.2%) and Boyd Gordon (59.0%). In 60 games this season, the 33-year-old Belanger has thirteen goals and twenty-two assists with a minus-1 rating. This move will not only add another strong playmaking center to the roster, it will also allow Tomas Fleishmann to move back to his natural position. Winning faceoffs, especially in the defensive zone, is the key to a long (and successful) playoff run. He has experience playing for Boudreau while a member of the AHL’s Lowell Lock Monsters. Belanger is a UFA at end of the year. Cap Hit: $1.75M
Milan Jurcina, D: Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 6th round draft pick in 2010.
The Juice returns to the Capitals six weeks after he was dealt in a deal with Chris Clark in late December to acquire Jason Chimera. In what seems to be a make-up move for not being able to secure other Dmen, Jurcina will be missing from the line up for 4-6 weeks with sports hernia. His acquisition could prove beneficial in the playoffs, as he played with Karl Alzner his first go-round and can help to help the young blueliner adjust to the postseason. He will also be UFA in July.
Joe Corvo, D: Acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes for Brian Pothier, Oskar Osala, and a 2011 2nd round draft pick.
Joe Corvo is an offensive-defenseman, with all the pros (stickhandling, puck movement) and cons (turnovers) that come with the stigma. While I hate to see Pothier leave the Capitals, he seemed to have lost a step recently. Corvo will be able to step in on the power play, and help to spell Mike Green to keep from being gassed in the playoffs again. He also has experience playing for Boudreau while a member of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, and is a UFA at the end of the season. Cap Hit: $2.6M
Side Note: While the only member of the Capitals current roster that was affected was Pothier, they still called up American hero John Carlson for tonight’s contest in Buffalo.