With the NHL trade deadline only five weeks away (February 26), NHL analysts are going into overdrive to predict which teams will do what.
Earlier in the week, Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned in his 31 Thoughts column that the Capitals were looking for a defenseman. The analyst elaborated somewhat in his 31 Thoughts podcast on Wednesday.
Elliotte Friedman on “31 Thoughts” podcast: “Washington I think will look for a D [at the deadline]. Now, I’d heard Burakovsky’s name but that got denied to me and I’ve heard they don’t want to deal Vrana. They prefer to keep him. So I’m curious to see what WSH’s going to do.”
— RMNB (@russianmachine) January 18, 2018
Including his impending scratch Thursday against New Jersey, Andre Burakovsky will have played in only two of Washington’s last seven games due to scratch or illness.
Meanwhile NHL.com’s Dan Rosen was asked if Mike Green, who’s in the final year of his contract with Detroit, could be dealt back to his former team at the deadline.
How does @heds77' injury affect the Norris Trophy race?
— NHL (@NHL) January 17, 2018
Regarding Green, it’s funny you ask, because this is something I’ve been thinking about. The Capitals could use another veteran defenseman, if only to ease the ice time on Brooks Orpik, who is averaging 20:42 per game. He shouldn’t be playing that much. Green, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings, would help the Capitals on the power play too. They could keep John Carlson on their top unit and use Green on the second unit. That would take some of the pressure off Carlson, who is averaging 26:09 per game. It also would make their second unit a greater threat than it is now.
However, Green is a right-handed shot, so he wouldn’t even play in their top four. He’s not going to play over Carlson or Matt Niskanen, the other righties. It would be like acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk all over again. What Washington needs is a lefty to put in their top four; one who could play on the power play would be ideal.
Comparing a Green trade to the Kevin Shattenkirk deal from last season is not the best analysis. During the 2016-17 campaign, Brooks Orpik and Nate Schmidt formed one of the best defense pairings in the entire NHL. But when the Caps landed Shattenkirk, head coach Barry Trotz benched Schmidt, blunting one of team’s biggest strengths.
This season, the team’s third line of Madison Bowey and Orpik has struggled mightily, necessitating a move.
Re: MG52, "It would be like acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk all over again." Where this is dead wrong is that last year the Caps had a good 3rd pair, versus this year's largely unplayable duo. Shattenkirk was a (theoretical) luxury; a D now p much a necessity. https://t.co/XEBpwrUmhu
— Japers' Rink (@JapersRink) January 17, 2018
Green, after rededicating himself to his skating during the offseason, will play in his second career All-Star Game in late January. He’s on pace to have his biggest season, in terms of points, in eight years.
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