The rumours became a reality this morning as the Washington Capitals traded Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche for Scott Hannan. This deal should help both teams in the short run.
Fleischmann is a player that is struggling this year, scoring only four goals and 10 points in 23 games this year. He is expected to score 20 goals per year. He is a solid forward who can play on the top six.
Then again, he played on Washington, so he was on a very stacked team that allowed him to play his game while opposing defenders focused on the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Mike Green.
This is a long-term rental as Fleischmann's contract expires at the end of the year. I don't expect Colorado to re-sign him. Colorado did not need more offense as they have been outstanding there, so this is a bit of an odd move.
The only way I can explain this trade is Colorado needed to cut costs, and so dealt away a more expensive contract for a cheaper one saving $1.9 million in the process (a bit less actually because they've paid Hannan for part of the season).
This shows that the Avalanche don't believe this is the year for them.
Washington gets Hannan, a big shutdown defender. This is something the Capitals have needed for a long time, as they are very focused on offense and not too much on defence.
By getting a big hulking defender, they can start to wear down opposing teams as much by playing physical as they do with their speed.
He is a beast that plays almost 20 minutes per game. Also, Hannan has one year left on his contract, so they can decide then whether or not they extend his contract at the end of the year. This shows that the Capitals are already preparing for their Stanley Cup run.
Washington wins this trade by a large margin. The Caps get rid of a forward who was struggling and unnecessary (they have the best offense in the NHL) for a shut down defenceman they desperately need.
Colorado gave away the shut down defenceman it needs and acquired a forward (which they don't need) who is struggling this year.