Washington Capitals: 5 Players They Could Realistically Trade for in 2011-12
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While the draft and the bulk of free agency are long behind us, there is still a good two months of agony left to go before the new hockey season starts. There is still plenty of time for tweaks to the roster.
The Washington Capitals have undergone a pretty serious reconstruction this offseason, and this begs the question: Are they done?
It wouldn't at all be surprising to see the Capitals add or subtract players to a new-look roster in the coming months.
That is most likely going to happen through trades.
Together with Russian Machine Never Breaks' Fedor Fedin, I have compiled a list of five players the Caps could potentially trade for in the remaining weeks or in the middle of the season. While not all have been linked to DC, they all bring qualities that would be welcome to the team and among the club's fanbase.
5. Guillaume Latendresse
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Guillaume Latendresse is a power forward who would come in and be able to contribute anywhere on the top three lines for the Caps.
He is coming off an injury plagued season, but the year before that he showed what he is capable of with 25 goals and 37 points in 55 games. The 24-year-old is versatile and can play both wings, making him valuable to the Caps because his acquisition would allow Brooks Laich to move to the center position.
For a comparison of what it might take to get him, look to the Eric Fehr to Winnipeg trade. You would probably have to part ways with a late-round pick and an asset or middling prospect.
4. Maxim Lapierre
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During the Vancouver Canucks' playoff run last season, Quebec native Maxim Lapierre emerged as one of the team's most important players. The 26-year-old is so valuable because he is an agitator who can score, like Sean Avery, but a notch or two more reasonable. He's a pest. His best season came in 08-09, where he managed 15 goals. He's a center, but with his style of play, he'd be able to move to the wing and play as a checker on what would likely be the fourth line.
Lapierre was traded twice last year, but his value is unlikely to have risen too far. In the second trade, from Anaheim, he was sent along with a decent prospect for an AHL player and a third-rounder. The Caps would probably have to part ways with a fourth or fifth-rounder and a prospect-player like Patrick McNeill.
3. Valtteri Filppula
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While the Caps have no need for a first or second-line center, Filppula is similar to the other players on this list in the sense that he is very versatile. He has played the left wing for Detroit in the past. He would likely come in and play on that side, and would help the Caps spread out the scoring. With your wingers being Alex Ovechkin, Mike Knuble, Alexander Semin, Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward and Filppula, any combination on any line would score.
Another reason Filppula to Washington is a strong possibility is because he is in line with the Caps recent signings, in which McPhee has gone after hard-working players who draw a lot of penalties. The 27-year-old Finn drew 1.4 penalties per 60 minutes for the Wings last year, good for 19th in the league.
The price for Filppula would be high, as he is much loved in Detroit. Probably a second-rounder and a player or good prospect, a similar price to the one that brought Jason Arnott to DC at the deadline last season.
2. Douglas Murray
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Swedish defenseman Douglas Murray is every bit of the 6'3", 240 pounds he's listed at, and he likes to wield it. Murray, 31, is a big, strong, physical defenseman that brings a lot of power to the position, something that the Capitals lack.
His 203 hits last season puts him 20th in the league, the seventh highest defenseman. It is no secret that the Caps have been looking for a big rig on the blue line for a while, a player that can hit and intimidate. Murray would do that.
While Murray is important in San Jose, you would likely be able to acquire him in a defenseman-for-defenseman trade with a guy like Jeff Schultz.
1. Cal Clutterbuck
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Another Minnesota player, Cal Clutterbuck, would become an immediate favorite with the Washington Capitals faithful for one reason: The 23-year-old loves to hit.
He led the league in hitting last year with 336 checks in 76 games (Tuomo Ruutu of Carolina was second with 306, Troy Brouwer was 5th with 262 and Alex Ovechkin 10th with 241). The Capitals have been making a noticeable effort to get tougher this offseason, and Clutterbuck would bring just that.
His versatility as a winger means he could play either side on any line, whether it be as a physical presence on the first line or a grinder on the third. He put up 34 points last year, and he goes into the second year of a three-year contract.
Clutterbuck has developed into an extremely valuable player for the Wild, and he would likely take a lot to acquire. Most likely a second or third-rounder and a bottom line player.