Things are going well for the Washington Capitals at the moment.
The team is 20-14-5 through 39 games, amassing 45 points and securing second place in the Metropolitan Division standings.
Not every player associated with this organization fits into the team's plans, though. This can be said of regulars, healthy scratches, injured players and even minor league prospects.
With that in mind, here is a list of five Washington Capitals who should be on the trading block.
Note: All statistics updated through Dec. 29 courtesy of NHL.com unless noted otherwise.
In a surprise move, Urbom was given a sweater before fellow defensive prospect Dmitry Orlov. In response to his lack of playing time as a result of this roster move, Orlov's agent asked for a trade on Nov. 27, according to Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com.
Now, however, the roles are reversed.
After playing in 20 games for the Capitals, Urbom has not suited up since Nov. 29, a span of 13 games. In the meantime, Orlov became a regular in the lineup. The 22-year-old Russian has played in each of those same 13 games, serving as a direct replacement for Urbom.
As a result, Urbom is expendable.
The Capitals have additional defensive depth currently playing for the Hershey Bears, in the form of Tyson Strachan, Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey and even Cam Schilling. The 23-year-old Urbom, now in his fourth season in the NHL, may be coveted by another team in search of the same defensive depth the Capitals now have.
With the trade of Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat and Michael Latta last April, Capitals GM George McPhee established a precedent that he would willingly trade a prospect of decreasing value for an established veteran. If he chooses to repeat this trend, then Stanislav Galiev would be a perfect candidate.
Galiev was selected 86th overall in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft, according to Hockey-Reference.com. Since then, his stock has fallen.
The following table shows Galiev's rank among the Capitals' top 10 prospects for the past three years, according to Hockey Prospectus. The table also shows the league he played in for each season and his projection as a future NHL player at the time of the ranking, published annually at the end of the summer.
So far this season, Galiev has helped his stock stabilize a bit. Through eight games in the AHL, the 21-year-old Russian has three goals and one assist with a minus-three rating, according to the Hershey Bears' website.
Perhaps Washington should jettison Galiev before his stock has a chance to fall any lower.
Martin Erat still wants to be traded.
On Dec. 21, Erat talked to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post about his desire to be traded while also touching on his need to wait for the holiday roster freeze to end on Dec. 28.
It’s only [seven] days. Right now I’m just focusing on the next few games. That’s all I can do. I’m a professional. I have to play hockey and that’s the bottom line.
The Capitals, though, have found it hard to unload the disgruntled winger.
Timo Seppa of Hockey Prospectus (via ESPN Insider) offered two possible explanations on Dec. 17, describing Erat as an "aging forward" and a "potential distraction."
One good thing for both the Capitals and Erat, however, is that Erat is still being reasonably productive. Although he has yet to score a goal this season, the Czech Republic native has 14 assists, which is good for fifth on the team. If he continues to produce as a playmaking winger, the Capitals may be able to fulfill his trade demand.
Think about this for a second before you burn me in effigy.
The Capitals' second line of forwards has established chemistry and consistency, all without the help of Brooks Laich. Over the last 10 games, the Capitals' second line of Troy Brouwer, Mikhail Grabovski and Eric Fehr has produced five goals. That is the 20th-best even-strength line production in the NHL over that time span and the best of the Washington Capitals, according to LeftWingLock.com.
Laich would normally play on the second line but he has been in the lineup only once in the month of December. After making that lone December start on Dec. 23 against Anaheim, Laich was forced to miss the following game against the New York Rangers on Dec. 27 after suffering a setback with his recurring groin injury, according to Katie Carrera of The Washington Post.
Although these injury concerns will decrease Laich's trade value, his value on the trade market is significant, nonetheless.
Laich is a versatile forward who can play on both special teams units and has strong leadership qualities. When ailing, he could be traded for a veteran and a mid-level draft pick. When healthy, he could be traded for a veteran, a high-level draft pick and a prospect. Either way, the Capitals could still demand more in return for Laich than they could demand in return for Erat.
Neuvirth himself has fanned the flames of these very rumors.
On Dec. 21, Neuvirth told Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post, “I want to be a No. 1 goalie in this league. If not here, maybe somewhere else.”
That statement came during a month in which Neuvirth failed to make even one appearance in the net for the Capitals.
According to Adam Vingan of NBCWashington.com, "Michal Neuvirth has not started since Nov. 22, let alone dressed for an NHL game since injuring his right ankle prior to his last scheduled start on Nov. 29. which led to Grubauer's promotion in the first place."
Neuvirth's injury necessitated a conditioning stint with the Hershey Bears, from which he was recalled on Dec. 18, according to Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com. He made 33 saves in his one start with the Bears on Dec. 14, according to the team's website.
If traded, Neuvirth might have the highest value of anyone on this list.
The 25-year-old native of the Czech Republic has played in 128 games in his six-year NHL career, compiling a 57-38-12 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.67 goals against average. In nine career postseason games, Neuvirth is 4-5 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average.
An NHL team in need would pay a pretty penny to acquire a goalie with career numbers like Neuvirth who could step in as the starter right away.