NHL Trade Deadline Primer for the Washington Capitals

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NHL Trade Deadline Primer for the Washington Capitals
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

With the NHL trade deadline of April 3 looming large and getting closer by the day, the Washington Capitals will be one of the more intriguing teams to keep an eye on.

The reason for that is that no one really knows whether the Caps will be buyers, sellers or simply do nothing at the trade deadline.

In years past, it has been hard to get an idea of what George McPhee will really do.

In 2008, McPhee made some great moves that helped the Caps get back to the playoffs (NHL.com). Obtaining Sergei Fedorov and Cristobal Huet were strokes of genius that helped the Caps go on a tear at the end of the season and capture the first of four consecutive Southeast Division crowns.

In 2010 McPhee made moves for Scott Walker, Eric Belanger and Joe Corvo. All of them were good, solid players. Walker was supposed to add some toughness, Belanger was a faceoff expert and Corvo would add some depth to the defense. Nevertheless, the Caps suffered a historic upset loss to the No. 8-seeded Montreal Canadiens.

In 2011, McPhee acquired Jason Arnott—who had won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2000—and Dennis Wideman. Again, Arnott and Wideman were good, solid players, who looked like they could be the answer to help the Caps get to the next level. They couldn't, as the Caps were eventually  embarrassed and swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference semifinals.

Last season, with the Caps fighting for their playoff lives, McPhee did nothing at the trade deadline. It was almost as though he had the attitude that if the Caps were not going to be a top seed, then it made no sense to try and make them better.

This season, the Caps are in even worse shape, sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, four points out of a playoff spot and seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the lead in the Southeast division.

So what do we make of the Capitals here in the days leading up to April 3? Will they be buyers or sellers? Who might be on the move? What sort of needs would does the team look at filling?

Here is your primer for the Washington Capitals as the 2013 NHL trade deadline approaches.

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