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Washington Capitals: Even With Marco Sturm, Caps Must Swing a Deadline Deal

After claiming six-time 20 goal scorer Marco Sturm off waivers from Los Angeles on Monday, the Capitals enter Monday's trade deadline in need of a second line center.
After claiming six-time 20 goal scorer Marco Sturm off waivers from Los Angeles on Monday, the Capitals enter Monday's trade deadline in need of a second line center.Harry How/Getty Images
Ryan DavenportContributor IFebruary 27, 2011

While Washington Capitals fans are still itching with anticipation as GM George McPhee tries to swing a last-minute deal to bolster his team's struggling offense, they can take solace in the fact that the Caps added a solid veteran scorer to the mix on Saturday.

Just a few hours before Washington's come-from-behind win over the New York Islanders, McPhee and the Capitals claimed injury-prone veteran Marco Sturm off the waiver wire.  

While Sturm has limped through two of the past three seasons, he registered three straight 25-goal seasons between 2006 and 2008. Sturm is a low-risk gamble on McPhee's part because his contract is up at season's end, and the team gave up nothing in return for the 32-year-old German.

If Sturm exceeds expectations and plays on one of the team's scoring lines, McPhee looks like a genius. If he continues to be hampered by injuries and can't crack the lineup, the team is only on the hook for just over $800,000.  

The Capitals' claiming of Sturm is a positive indication for their fans, as it shows the team's management is intent on acquiring offensive support for the final 20 games and the playoffs.

However, while Sturm is an intriguing addition (as any former All-Star is), Washington cannot be content with its current group of forwards.  

If this weekend's two contests have taught us anything about this year's edition of the Capitals, it's that they are wildly inconsistent. After getting shelled by a score of 6-0 on Friday, the team spotted the Islanders a two-goal lead in the second period.  

From there, Washington's offensive talent carried it to a 3-2 win, but it remains clear that there's more work to be done in order for the Caps to be ready for the playoffs.  

The Capitals desperately need a second-line center to balance out the offensive attack and help Alexander Semin score at a more consistent rate, so that has to be the top priority going into Monday's trade deadline.

It may require parting ways with a valuable young prospect or draft pick, but if Washington is hoping to do any damage in the playoffs it can't afford to stand pat.  

According to Roger Mussa via HockeyBuzz.com, Jason Arnott may be waiving his no-trade clause and requesting a move to a contending team. While Arnott's production has tailed off, he would be a good addition to Washington's lineup and a valuable veteran presence in the team's dressing room.

As other teams in the East continue to improve their lineups, the Capitals' fate in the postseason may rest upon McPhee's ability to get another deal done by Monday.  

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