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Posted at 2:25 PM ET, 02/23/2011

Top picks for Caps trades

By Nicole Weissman

Part of the nature of the game is that you have to give something to get something, and the dangerous risk of the trade deadline can be giving away a strong prospect to gain a rental that doesn’t get you far. But since the buying is the fun part, today I want to break down a couple of my top picks to add to the Caps roster. All are guys who are rumored to be on the trading block. Later this week (unless a trade comes through and renders the discussion moot) I’ll look at who we might have to give up.

Stephen Weiss: Because I’m not partial to rentals, Weiss is an appealing option to deepen the center position. His contract runs through 2012-2013, and at $3.1 million per year he’s moderately priced. I know a trade with a division rival is (or at least used to be) a little unusual, but Florida is looking to rebuild, and Washington has drool-worthy prospects, which is why…

Tomas Vokoun: I can hear you grumbling from here, but think about it. Vokoun will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. I know that Boudreau is happy with Varlamov and Neuvirth – I like them, too. But the prospect of a veteran goaltender is a little hard to pass up, and word on the street is the Caps are inclined to agree with me.

Jason Arnott: Back to centers. Things are looking up in New Jersey, which is a bummer because as far as centerman rentals, Jason Arnott might have been my top choice. If Arnott does waive his no-trade clause, I’m sure we’ll be on the Devils’ doorstep.

Jason Spezza: Ottawa seems determined to keep Spezza. Frankly, for a team that’s supposedly in fire sale mode, they seem pretty reluctant to give up anyone, because there also seems to be hesitation when it comes to Alexei Kovalev and Chris Phillips. Between Spezza’s no-trade clause and leadership responsibilities in Ottawa, I think the price he would command is higher than the Caps would pay.

Chris Phillips: But seriously, Ottawa, throw us a bone. Last I read, Ottawa had shopped Phillips, rejected deals, and was now in contract negotiations with him, but still had one ear sort-of-kind-of open. I get the feeling Ottawa isn’t committed to the rebuild yet, but if they decide they are, Phillips has a home on the D.C. blue line. 

Brian McCabe: I know, more Panthers, what’s wrong with me? But if Phillips doesn’t pan out, and we go the route of a defenseman, McCabe could be a decent option. He’s offensive-minded, which doesn’t please me, but he’s pretty big, and one hell of a seasoned guy.

Tim Connolly: I saved what I see as the most likely for last. The word is that George McPhee loves this guy, and though I cringe at Connolly’s long list of injuries and I’m not a huge fan of rentals, I trust GMGM’s opinion and I doubt Connolly would be costly, despite the fact that several teams are rumored to be interested. Then again, in ninth place, Buffalo is on the trade bubble, so it might take some shrewd thinking to pull off this trade without overpaying.

What do you think – do any of these guys seem like a good fit to you? Who else do you have your eye on? Anyone out there think the Caps should stand pat?

By Nicole Weissman  | February 23, 2011; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman  | Tags:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman  
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Next: NL East position rankings: right field

Comments

Stephen Weiss would be good for us. A 2nd line center is what we really need and I think Weiss would be more of a hockey trade than a rental. As far as the goalie position I think GMGM has made it clear we have our guys. I like the fact that Varley and Neuvi have performed so well this year. These kids are really good! Get Mike Green back and our Def. should be ok, but a 2C is what this team needs.

Posted by: cox2176 | February 23, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

With Fehr coming back, I think the addition of a true two way center and a veteran goalie (only for 2011) is the way to go.

Neuvirth is a rookie. He needs seasoning. The playoffs are a different animal pressure-wise. Varlamov played on his head the previous year against the Rangers in the comeback from 3-1 down, but last year against Montreal he let in some goals he should have had.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 23, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Weiss and Vokoun from FLA would likely cost us a LOT of good stuff... probably one of Kuz or Eakin, one of the goalies (preferably Neuvy), a 1st, maybe MP85 and another prospect...

personally I would do it since we have prospect depth at Center and Goalie and I think having Backstrom, Weiss and Johansson down the middle before either Eakin or Kuz shows up would be grande...

and we'll eventually need to get rid of a goalie as their contracts will clash... and personally Holtby is the keeper, then Varly...

If we could just get Weiss, I'd be happy... he'd be a great #2C... maybe MP85, 1st and a mid prospect!

Posted by: FrankM73 | February 23, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

A few comments about the players mentioned having seen most of them far too much:

Bryan McCabe is painfully slow. A larger, slower, dumber and less defence-minded Mike Green. In the pre-lockout era he would work. Not now.

Connolly- as you noted if he's healthy it's not a bad pickup. Which is a mighty big if. Good skill set, good skater.

Someone is going to overpay for Vokoun, who has never won a playoff series much less a road playoff game (his record with Nashville).

Chris Phillips is ungodly awful against elite competition (go look up his stats).

Posted by: jcurrin | February 23, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I LIKE NEUVY BUT HOW IS A 10-8 RECORD ANY THING TO BE PROUD OF?? NEUVY'S RECORD IN OCT-NOV. IS WHATS GONNA GET US IN THE PLAY-OFFS. HE'S 18-9. ITS ALL ABOUT WINS BABY. NEITHER ONE OF THEM IS VERY GOOD AT DEFENDING BREAK-AWAYS OR IN SHOOT-OUTS. THATS WHY OUR OVERTIME RECORD AND SHOOT-OUT RECORD IS SO BAD.THAT TALENT WILL COME WITH MORE EXPERENCE OVER THE YEARS IN THE MEAN TIME WE SHOULD PRAY WE WIN MOST GAMES IN REGULATION. AND I DO HOPE BB DECIDES ON NEUVY AS HIS REGULAR {DARE I SAY GOALIE} AND NOT "NET MINDER" SOON.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | February 24, 2011 1:05 AM | Report abuse

GREEN IS A WUSS. NEVER HAD A REAL FIGHT. EVER WATCHED HIM FIGHT?? YOU CAN'T FIGHT BACKING UP. SOONER OR LATER YOU MUST ENGAGE. HE'S A CHICKEN PURE AND SIMPLE.

Posted by: duckyjimpond | February 24, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

I'll be very surprised if a noteworthy trade is made within the division.

Posted by: GFisher1 | February 24, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

How soon we forget....Philly went all the way to the finals last year without even the whiff of a "seasoned goaltender". If our team is playing good, tight defense and cashing in on its scoring chances, we will go far with the kids. If not, we're not going anywhere. As much as I despise everything about the Flyers, they got their goaltending philosophy 100% right.

Posted by: jlewis5 | February 24, 2011 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Semin, a prospect and a draft choice for Rick Nash.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 24, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Everyone really seems to over estimate MP85's trade value, on these blogs. If he was half as valuable as you as think he is in a trade, you all would say he was untouchable. No team wants to take our junk for their quality players.

Posted by: lasthe | February 24, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

What about getting Gonchar from Ottawa if he's available? We could use a defenseman with his power play and puck moving skills. He wouldn't be here to replace Green or Carlson, but to augment our PP. Plus he would be a fan favorite again (everyone forgets how much he was appreciated when he played here).

Posted by: nmazur | February 25, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't Varly be considered an experienced playoff goalie by now? He did stand on his head at times in the last 2 playoffs and played about 20 games - but he was pretty consistent.

At what point will this guy shed his label of being inexperienced. Last year the Caps lost for not scoring not for the goaltending.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | February 25, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Semin, a prospect and a draft choice for Rick Nash.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | February 24, 2011 5:30 PM
____________________________

Now this would be a trade that would Rock the Red!

Posted by: dorseylaw | February 26, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

should have traded Schultz last year when we had the chance. he is the most overpaid player on our roster and does absolutely nothing. when he's teamed with Hannan, Hannan is basically coaching him on the ice. 55 is absolutely lost.

Posted by: erico31us | February 27, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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