Recapping the Caps Trade Deadline Moves

With the NHL Trade Deadline come and gone the Washington Capitals made a series of moves to address both the current state of the team, and the future of the organization as well. Here we will look at all of the trades the Caps did, and break them down and evaluate them.

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Thursday, February, 23rd, 2023

  • Trade between the Caps and the Boston Bruins (with Minnesota acting as a middleman to assist the trade)
    • The Bruins acquired defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway.
      • Bruins also acquired forward Andrei Svetlakov from Minnesota.
    • The Capitals acquired forward Craig Smith, a 2023 1st Round Pick, 2025 2nd Round Pick, and a 2024 3rd Round Pick.
      • The Capitals would retain 50% of Orlov’s salary.
    • The Minnesota Wild acquired a 2023 5th Round Pick from Boston.
      • The Wild also retained 25% of Orlov’s salary.

This was a solid trade for the Caps as they realized that as time got closer to the trade deadline, and with contract talks stalling with Dmitry Orlov, it was time to make a move. With trade talks between the Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets breaking down over defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, the Bruins looked to the next best thing and that was Orlov. Orlov has been one of the most consistent defenders for the Caps over the last few seasons and is looking for his last big contract, and rightfully so. As reports were coming out that the Caps and Orlov were still far apart on a new contract it made sense to move him now and get something for him.

I like how General Manager Brian MacLellan was able to get picks in the first three rounds spread out over these next three drafts. One thing that I’ve always not been a fan of is teams mortgaging their futures by trading away early round picks, unless of course the trade made absolute sense and had long term value, but it’s what every team looking for the Stanley Cup does, and the longer they make those pushes, the more their future prospect pipeline becomes thinner. This trade remedies that for the Caps as they are adding draft capital to rebuild their prospect pipeline.

The acquisition of forward Craig Smith was a necessary one as it was what facilitated Garnet Hathaway being part of this deal. Hathaway, another unrestricted free agent after this season, would’ve been someone I would have tried to re-sign, but the Caps were able to get Smith for Hathaway. Plus, I could see the Caps move Smith, another UFA, at the deadline for an additional pick or two, or as part of something bigger.

Related Reading: Dmitry Orlov shocker sends jolt through NHL as trade deadline buzz heats up (Chris Johnston)

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Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

  • Trade between the Caps and the Minnesota Wild.
    • The Wild would acquire forward Marcus Johansson.
    • The Caps would acquire a 2024 3rd Round Pick.

This is a solid trade for the Caps. Moving Marcus Johansson to Minnesota was a smart move as they were able to acquire another pick in next years draft. Plus, Johansson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason so if the Caps wanted to, they could bring him back during free agency.

  • The Caps would make a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
    • The Caps would acquire defenseman Rasmus Sandin.
    • The Leafs would acquire defenseman Erik Gustafsson and a 2023 1st Round Pick (BOS).

Another solid move for the Caps. I like the fact that we moved a 30 year old defenseman on a one year deal for a 22 year old that is looking for a fresh start that has a bright future ahead of him. I would have preferred to have kept the first round pick we acquired from Boston the week before, but I understand needing to give it up to pick up Sandin. Gustafsson is purely a rental for the Leafs, and Sandin is a player the Caps plan to keep long term, so it balances out. I’m excited for Sandin and for him to flourish in a less stressful market with lowered expectations than what was put upon him when he first got to Toronto as an 18 year old.

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Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

  • The Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche would make a trade.
    • The Avalanche would acquire forward Lars Eller.
    • The Capitals would acquire a 2025 2nd Round Pick.
      • The Caps would also retain 31% of Eller’s salary.

Another good trade for the Caps. We all knew Lars Eller wouldn’t be returning after this season, plus while still a solid defender and faceoff guy, his production had been dropping off since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. Getting another second round pick was plus. Honestly, it was a little more than I thought the Caps would have gotten for him, but I’ll take it.

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