Backstrom in pain after taking an elbow from Rene Bourque. (Photo credit: AP)
We don’t need to tell you again. Every person in the DC area can probably tell you that the Caps need centers right now. In fact, with the new revelation that Nicklas Backstrom might be out for longer than we thought, the situation just got a little more dire – Ted Leonsis has stated that the Caps will be looking to make additions at the deadline, and there are some very specific pieces they’ll be looking for.
“I liked the team we had put together this summer. Of course we’ve only had that team on ice for eight games. We’re 8-0 in those games.” George McPhee told the Washington Post’s John Feinstein. “I still think if we get our guys back and if we can add something here in the next couple of weeks we’re good enough to win the Stanley Cup. Then again, a lot of teams are looking to add something right now, too.”
There certainly are, and it’s a thin market this year, but it certainly looks as if the Caps plan to be buyers, not sellers. With that in mind, here’s a shopping list of possible additions the Caps could make at the trade deadline, based on practical likeliness, scurrilous rumors, an idea of which teams may be looking to sell at the deadline, and other arbitrary factors.
Jeff Carter, Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap hit: $5,272,727
Covet Him Because: Those sexy career numbers. Carter has posted two 30G seasons, one 29G season, and one eye-popping 46G season so far–the elite scoring touch is clearly there. In fact, despite missing more than 20 games with the Blue Jackets this season, he still has 12 goals and 19 points.
Red Flags: They’re everywhere you look, this man is a red flag factory, he’s a bottle with a skull and crossbones on the side. Jeff Carter was unceremoniously dumped from Philly in a move that was openly advertised as cleaning up the locker room, with rumors of “Dry Island” following him out of town. He certainly hasn’t improved that reputation in Columbus, with a bad attitude to start and a losing season where he’s either been just another passenger on a sinking ship or once again – poison. He’s also got a monster contract – nearly $6 million a year until 2021, that’s right, 2021 – and injury problems this season, but despite allll of that, there will always be teams interested in a center with that kind of scoring touch.
Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres
Cap hit: $4,000,000
Covet Him Because: Before this season, Roy had put up four straight 20G+ seasons with the Sabres, peaking with a 32G season. He’s a smart player, and durable for his size, and at 28 years old he would count as veteran experience for a team that could use some steadying.
Red Flags: He’s small, listed at only 5’9, and he’s also coming off a losing environment in Buffalo, but history shows he can produce consistently. Caps would have to hope this year is a fluke.
Batman, Justice League
Cap hit: Justice.
Covet Him Because: Intangibles. This is the man you want in your locker room when you’re down one goal in a playoffs game. Besides, that voice could be scary on the faceoff dot.
Red Flags: Has previously shown an aversion to ice. Also, his habit of disappearing at random probably won’t sit well with the press.
Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: $2,275,000
Covet Him Because: He’s trendy. This is what guys drinking chai lattes and listening to bands you’ve never heard of want you to do. That Sam Gagner. So hot right now. Other than that? Oh, a little thing called fourteen points in four games. Freak.
Red Flags: He seemed to be very much on the trading block before he went Super Saiyan, and then briefly back on again as Oilers GM Tambellini got dollar signs in his eyes – but then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins went down, which may or may not have taken him off again altogether. The Oilers would probably still be willing to part with him for the right price, but the Caps aren’t a team that have that arm and a leg to spare. Also, obvious talent regardless, do the Caps really want to swap one small, skilled center for another?
Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens
Cap hit: $5,000,000
Covet Him Because: I can admit it. This is a bit of a pet armchair-GM trade for me, I’ve thought he’d be a good fit for awhile, but with the Canadiens tanking hard this year, it’s finally just a little bit more likely. He’s got a career .66 point per game average and five straight 20G+ seasons, but he’s also poorly used in Montreal, asked to be a leading scorer when his real value seems to lie in his skill as a defensive, two-way center and a playmaker. Want to know why Jagr got an NHL contract this year? He owes it to this guy, who made him look great while centering him for the Czech national team.
Red Flags: Plekanec is another small center for a roster that needs to add size, and as the Habs inch back into the playoff picture, they may decide they don’t need to move key pieces like Plekanec. Here’s hoping the downspiral continues in the near future so we can pick through the debris.
Cap hit: about $6,000,000
Covet Him Because: Scores in bunches, great hockey sense. Why don’t we already have a guy like this on our team?
Red Flags: He’s so small! He doesn’t hit! He probably won’t last. Besides, his PDO is way too high to be sustainable and it’s likely that he’ll regress to the mean.
Cap hit: One Aztec idol
Covet Him Because: Not afraid to go to the dirty areas to win one-on-one battles, Jones has a tenacity and resourcefulness that the team could use right now.
Red Flags: Seems to be a bit of a “wild card”. Likely will not be allowed to use a bullwhip on the ice.
Did we miss anyone? Which guy would you most like to see put on a Caps uniform? And considering how many fake options are in here just to make it look like a list, are the Caps totally screwed? Have at it, peanut gallery!