Last night, TSN Insider’s Trading panel discussed a number of topics, including the Oilers’ shortcomings, Jay Feaster’s Twitter jab, and a potential re-tool in Arizona. They also talked about Caps general manager Brian MacLellan, whose patience with the team is allegedly running thin.
Here’s what LeBrun said about GMBM via Nichols On Hockey:
“Well, I don’t think the level of anger is the same as what Bob just talked about in Arizona, but I will tell you this: Brian MacLellan in Washington, I think, is ready to move a number of parts.
Now, we’re not talking Alex Ovechkin or Nicklas Backstrom. Those guys are safe. But certainly a lot of secondary parts, I believe, are in play in Washington because the sense is, ‘We’ve made all these coaching changes year after year, where we get the same results. It’s time to change the culture.’
Mike Green, obviously, UFA at the end of the year, he would be a prime candidate to move. But a number of other players because I think they just want to get some moving parts and change the feel of that dressing room.”
The idea of shaking up the core (let’s call Ovechkin and Backstrom the “super-core”) is not new. Recent coaching changes, leveraging prospects for short-term help and big free–agency signings have apparently not been enough. Highly valued role players like Alex Semin and Mikhail Grabovski have not been replaced either.
If the status quo changes, whom (other than Green) will the Caps move? It depends on how they feel about this season.
If MacLellan and his staff think the Caps will be able to compete in the postseason after a few moves, it’s unlikely they’d deal a proven playoff performer and pending UFA in Joel Ward. Troy Brouwer, on the other hand, might find himself hitting the bricks. The 29-year-old winger has one year left on his contract and just 16 points in 64 career postseason games.
Other forwards that might find themselves on the trade block include Marcus Johansson, who is enjoying a renaissance, and Brooks Laich, if he can stay healthy.
On defense, shipping out Green might solve a logjam once Dmitry Orlov returns from an injury. Caps’ defensive prospects might benefit from some seasoning at lower levels, but more tough questions on the blue line may arise as soon as next summer.
In exchange for the players mentioned, the Caps might want players that would fill holes in their forward lines (the fabled second-line center perhaps) to help this season or non-roster assets that would provide cap relief and flexibility for the summer the potential draft-day trades.
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