NHL Trade Rumors: Capitals Minimize Trade Value of Roman Hamrlik in Benching

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIFebruary 23, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 22:  Roman Hamrlik #44 of the Washington Capitals skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on January 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Apparently the good people with the Washington Capitals learned how to negotiate trades in the some parallel universe where summer is cold and winter is hot. Nothing else could explain this series of events involving defenseman Roman Hamrlik.

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According to Renaud P. Lavoie of RDS, the Capitals are shopping Hamrlik. 

#capitals Roman Hamrlik is being shop. The price is high right now.

— Renaud P Lavoie (@renhockey) February 22, 2012

If only it stopped there. The Capitals benched Hamrlik for their game against the Ottawa Senators. This is how coach Dale Hunter explained the benching to Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times.

“You want him to be a defensive defenseman. He's giving up too many chances, so he's out of the lineup...Giving up too many scoring chances; he took a bad penalty last game. So we're going to put someone else in.”

I'm wondering why Hunter decided to stop there. Hamrlik doesn't have any crippling character flaws to talk about? 

If you're expecting a lot in return for a player on the trading block, benching him is generally not a great idea. The only thing worse is benching him and then going into a detailed explanation to the media about why said benching is taking place. 

I will grant that it's possible that the best way for the Capitals to bolster Hamrlik's trade value is to leave him as far away from the ice as is humanly possible. Sometimes players are struggling to a point where playing will only cripple their trade value. 

But the reasons for the benching don't need to become public knowledge. If a team is asking about Hamrlik and the Capitals are asking for a lot in return, the comeback is simple.

"You guys obviously don't think much of him. What makes you think I would give up that much for a player who just got ripped by his coach?"

A question like that one will be tough for anyone with the Capitals to answer. At this point, they're almost obligated to put Hamrlik back in the lineup to let him show what he can do on the ice. After what Hunter said, even a terrible performance isn't going to lower his value at all. 

Shopping a player this makes no sense at all and there's really no way to spin it. The closest real life comparison would be a used car salesman trying to sell a lemon for twice its value, but then being up front with you about all of the problems. 

The Capitals need to get everyone in line. If you tell it to the press, 29 other teams can and will eventually read it. That only drives Hamrlik's value down in a big way.