Washington Capitals' General Manager George McPhee had a busy day Wednesday, pulling off four trades before the 3 p.m. NHL Trade Deadline.
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In chronological order: Washington picked up RW Scott Walker from Carolina for a 2010 seventh round pick, sent a 2010 second round pick to Minnesota in exchange for C Eric Belanger, and moved a 2010 sixth rounder to Columbus to re-acquire D Milan Jurcina.
To cap things off, the Caps acquired defenseman Joe Corvo from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for D Brian Pothier, AHL F Oskar Osala, and a 2011 second round pick.
Corvo, 32, recovered from the skate slash that has kept him to just 34 games played this season, has four goals and eight assists (-6) with 10 penalty minutes. He is known for having a big shot from the point and being an effective quarterback of the power play.
He had 38 points with over 200 shots on goal last season for Carolina.
Jurcina, 26, fresh off his Olympic experience with Team Slovakia, returns to the Caps after being dealt to Columbus along with Chris Clark for winger Jason Chimera. He brings his big frame and powerful (if inaccurate) shot to the Caps blue line.
However, he was recently diagnosed with a sports hernia and will miss four to six weeks.
For the day, the Caps brought in four players via trade and sent away just one (Pothier) that was on the big league roster.
It's apparent from the day's dealings that McPhee and coach Bruce Boudreau like the overall makeup of the team they've assembled, and went about tweaking in certain spots instead of making a big, splashy deal.
Belanger, 32, a second/third line center, is in the top-10 in the league in face-off percentage. He gives Boudreau some flexibility in his line combinations and allows Tomas Fleischmann to move back to his more natural wing position.
Corvo, while not being the rugged, stay-at-home defenseman so many fans and bloggers clamored for, is an overall upgrade on the blue line for the Caps. He's a good puck-moving top four defenseman.
Walker, a 36-year-old veteran, will provide grit and leadership from the checking line. He's missed time this season due to a bum shoulder, but has recently returned to the ice. He's had a couple of 20-goal seasons to his credit as well, so he's capable offensively.
Further, all the players coming back are expiring contracts, so McPhee did not handicap himself for the future taking on bad money.
It's interesting to note that Corvo and Belanger had both played for Boudreau before in the AHL.
So while the Caps didn't land a headliner, they filled some cracks and picked up some solid hockey players. McPhee took the opportunity to gear up for a (hopefully) long playoff run without sacrificing any parts that would affect the long-term viability of the franchise.
The coming weeks will tell if McPhee picked up enough at this deadline to achieve the goal this season. But as he and owner Ted Leonsis have stated, whenever asked, they have built this team to compete for several seasons, not just this year. And nothing McPhee did today jeopardized that.
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