Oh NHL Trade Deadline how you keep us on our toes. For those who didn’t know, earlier this afternoon the Washington Capitals placed forward Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers, albeit with some confusion because the original plan was for forward Dmitrij Jaskin to be placed on waivers, but obviously it became Smith-Pelly instead to be placed on waivers.
Now with that said, we did speculate in our last post that this is most likely the beginnings of some other moves based off of the comments that Head Coach Todd Reirden made at the Capitals practice.
Knowing what we know now, some more news, more like speculation, has come out about a potential trade in the works between the Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings thanks to a series of tweets from TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.
In McKenzie’s tweets he mentions three names and they are all veteran depth forwards Carl Hagelin, Trevor Lewis, and Kyle Clifford. Of the three Hagelin is the only one that will be a pure rental (Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of this season), whereas both Clifford and Lewis both have one year left on their current deals. In regards to Cap hits, Hagelin has a $3.5mil Cap hit for the remainder of this season, while Lewis is at $2mil a season, and Clifford is at $1.6mil per season. So looking at the Cap hits alone, space needs to be made because the Capitals are really tight on the Cap.
As we can see in the graphic above the Capitals are really tight on the Cap and need to shed some salary in order to make a trade possible. Hence putting Smith-Pelly on waivers, and also the possibility that Jaskin will be a part of whatever trade may take place.
Now let’s get back to the three players Bob McKenzie named and take a closer look at them. Key things that the Capitals will most likely be looking at is who will be the best fit, and can help the Capitals as they try to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
Hagelin, who is in his 8th NHL season and first with the Los Angeles Kings, was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup teams in 2016 and 2017, and was traded to the Kings by the Penguins earlier this season. This season Hagelin has struggled to produce. In 16 games with the Penguins he scored one goal and two assists for three points, then after being traded to the Kings he would have a rough start and get injured, but in 22 games with the Kings he has scored one goal and four assists for five points. So Hagelin has been struggling this season. One thing I will say about Hagelin is that he is a much better player in the Eastern Conference. His style of play is much better suited for it. We saw him be successful with the New York Rangers, then struggle with the Anaheim Ducks only to be traded to the Penguins and then find success with them. I think that’s what Hagelin needs, and that is to come back to the East, and the Capitals could be a good fit for him.
Lewis, who is in his 11th NHL season with the Kings, has only played in 21 games this season scoring two goals and three assists for five points. He was on both of the Kings’ Stanley Cup teams in 2012 and 2014. However, Lewis has not been utilized much this season, and a change of scenery could be very beneficial for him. Lewis does have a Cap hit of $2mil and has one year remaining on his deal. Honest opinion, I wouldn’t trade for Trevor Lewis.
Clifford, who is in his ninth NHL season with the Los Angeles Kings, has played in 49 games where he has 7 goals and 6 assists for 13 points this season. Clifford is also a member of both Stanley Cup teams in 2012 and 2014 so he knows how to win in the playoffs. He is primarily a bottom six forward who you can move around to mix things up. Carrying a Cap hit of $1.6mil, Clifford is a more economical choice with Smith-Pelly clearing or being claimed via waivers, but he does have one year left on his contract.
Now of course this is all speculation and we won’t know truly what will happen until maybe as early as tomorrow afternoon once 12p hits and we learn Devante Smith-Pelly’s fate. Personally if the Capitals make a trade with the Kings does happen I would like to see Carl Hagelin come to the Capitals. He is someone that can play in our Top 9 when needed to, and he has had recent playoff success winning back to back Cups with Pittsburgh, but that’s me though.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.