[Editor’s note:  Russian Machine Never Breaks is proud to announce the addition of Neil Greenberg to the fold.  You might remember Neil from his excellent statistical analysis over at 5ive Hole, which he will continue to maintain.  Please join us in welcoming Neil.  Play nice.]

The trade deadline came and went, and while the Caps made some changes, a lot stayed the same. Most importantly: Hershey was virtually untouched. And it is probably because of this that the Caps didn’t make the “big move” most of the fans thought they would.

Trade Deadline Recap

A theme runs through all the players acquired today: They all have prior experience with Boudreau and/or GMGM.

  • Boudreau had Belanger in Lowell.
  • Scott Walker once represented himself in contract talks with Vancouver, where George McPhee was the assistant GM.
  • I heard Milan Jurcina played for Boudreau AND McPhee (at the same time!), but am still Googling to find out where.
  • Joe “Oh No” Corvo the Turnover Machine was coached by Boudreau in AHL.

RW Scott Walker gives the Caps some leadership, some “grit” and 29 games of playoff experience (18 of those coming in 2008-9 with Carolina) for the Cup run. Walker has a respectable 2.33 GAON/60 at even strength on a team that averages 3.14 GA per game.

Eric Belanger (this Belanger, not this Belanger. Sorry ladies.) is a decent two-way 2nd/3rd line Center option on

Eric Belanger. Not a male model after all.

Eric Belanger is sadly not a model.

pace for career-best numbers in goals and assists. Plus, he brings 30 games of playoff experience. Looks like he and Chimera have some history, where Chimera felt Belanger’s check was dirty and merited a suspension. I don’t expect this to be an issue, but it just shows the comfort level of BB and GMGM to bring a player in with this type of “bad blood.”

Milan Jurcina. Based on Twitter reports, Jurcina was Plan B in case trades for other D-Men fell through. In the end, it’s the devil you know, and the Caps bring back someone that knows the system for the playoff push. Not the “Top-4 D Man” fans were looking for, but a familiar face nonetheless.

And then we have the deal that came in almost at the buzzer, and one that is sure to be debated: Joe Corvo. It is probably a bad omen when one of the first tweets seeks to clarify if Corvo’s nickname was “Oh No” or “Uh Oh”, but I like this trade.  It has nothing to do with him receiving a three-year suspended sentence after pleading guilty in Boston to assaulting a woman in a restaurant when he was with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. I like gaining Corvo because he represents an improvement to the defense. Specifically, Corvo plays tougher minutes at even strength than all of the Caps defensemen with the exception of Tom Poti. And Corvo’s GAON/60 of 2.75 is better than Carolina’s 3.14 GA per game – the hallmark of a good defenseman. Some may argue that Pothier, for whom he was traded, has a better GAON/60, but those come against both significantly worse competition and in fewer minutes per game.

Scott Walker. Practically a freebie.

RW Scott Walker. Practically a freebie.

All in all, the Caps did not give up much:

Brian Pothier was a defensive non-factor for the club at best, and the Caps certainly upgraded with Corvo. Prospect Oskar Osala had a limited future with the Caps, and now he gets a chance with another club.

A 6th rounder averages 73 games in the NHL with 13 Goals and 20 Assists, for their career. A 7th rounder averages 47GP/7G/13A, and that drops significantly if you pull Henrik Zetterberg‘s numbers out.

The second rounders (in 2010 and 2011) have future value, and an argument has been made that it is advantageous to trade a bona fide NHLer for an unlikely draft pick, but I think it is a smart move for the Caps. They have already bucked the odds with the talent they have in Hershey and South Carolina and can afford to sit out the second round the next two years for a serious run at the Cup.

Right now is like the part of the lap dance right after the song stops:  the anticipation and empty promises are gone, and we’re left with reality.  We’re married to the roster as of 3 PM, and they’ll either take us to the cup or damn near it.

  • Rick

    Good luck finding where Jurcina played with BB and our GM….
    BTW, I did order one of your shirts for my bro’s b’day. Sadly he does not live in the area and has never seen AO play live… but he was SUPER excited by the shirt. Thanks again for the great site.

  • Rick, seriously, this is the best comment ever. Thank you for the support! Get us a picture of your bro in it!

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  • Shaun

    Um you cant bring in 4 guys and only move 1 player out and not piss someone off… chemistry will be rippled believe that.

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