Based on last year and his overall track record, General Manager George McPhee has his coyness down. But it's pretty evident that if McPhee says he's not interested in trading, he has something up his sleeves.
Let's take a look at what he told Mike Vogel last year:
“We really like the team we have,” he says. “We’re really happy with how this team has come along. We have some terrific young players and some good vets and we’re going to continue to play [with them].
“If there is something that would help and isn’t too expensive, then we would certainly talk about it. But we like what we have. We like the players we have and the people they are. And we have people in Hershey that can come up and help.
Yep, sure liked them. Four days later on the trade deadline, the Caps said wassup and bievenue to Cristobal Huet, Matt Cooke and Sergei Fedorov. And so long Matt Pettinger and prospect Teddy Ruth. We'll find out who we'll get to track for that second-rounder we gave away for stealing Huet in this year's draft.
He also told Homer McFaboy something similar this year.
“We could add six players if it made us better,” McPhee said. “But we like what we have and we like the way this team is playing. The one area that we’re not happy with is the penalty kill and selfish penalties, and that’s a mental thing. If we don’t make any changes, I’m content that this team can do real well.”
But as we witnessed, McPhee was very good at getting good players that helped the team without feeling our hearts sink, and thankfully found a useful way to banish Pettinger. In fact, he made some Canadiens' faithful wondering what the hell Bob Gainey was thinking. How'd that turn out, Montreal?
Whipping boy ESPN.com contributer Scott Burnside also pointed out last year in a trade deadline chat that McPhee knows how to hold his cards.
Burnside (noon ET): As for the Caps, funny how Washington GM George McPhee insisted during a recent visit that he wasn't interested in upgrading his goaltending. Guess he changed his mind. Wonder if he can push the Caps into the playoffs.
Essentially, it's not if the Caps will make a trade. It's when and with whom.
All I got to say is lie to me McPhee.
He doesn't ever give a unqualified yes or no, but his stealth style plays well so that folks like ESPN or TSN don't devote NHL front pages to what he's going to do.
The impression he gave to reporters this year is that he might see if a depth player is available for cheap. While that doesn't necessarily mean he'll actually make a mega-blockbuster trade, I have a feeling it'll be bigger than picking up a Gary Roberts or some seldom-used defenseman looking for his last playoff shot.
Keep up the secret agent mentality Geogie, and throw in a few lies, too because the less desperate we seem in public as other GMs plead their needs (or advertise their yard sale), the better the deals on March 4.