Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

photo via daylife.com

The only thing the media (and fans who love a chance to play General Manager) like about the draft more than the opportunity to draw up mocks and devise strategies for each team is to speculate about what draft day trades might be in the works. Our fellow Capitals blogger Peerless has a great piece about how, despite the speculation, there is unlikely to be a blockbuster trade on Friday or Saturday, this despite rumors that Vincent Lecavalier and Dany Heatley might be on the move.

While it’s true that the vast majority of draft-day deals are ones that tweak the prospect pool or NHL roster for the team making them, it’s worth noting that the odds of the Capitals making a trade are pretty good.  Here’s who may no longer be members of the Capitals organization come Sunday:

Chris Bourque
Chance of being traded: 25%
Why he might be moved: Bourque’s been playing very well in the AHL for the last season and half, and get hasn’t stuck with the organization at the NHL level. There will undoubtedly be at least one NHL team that thinks he can play on their roster and the Capitals might decide to take advantage of that.
Why he might not be moved: A lot of what Bourque brings to the table – discipline, hard work, tenacious forechecking,willingness to his nose dirty – are exactly what the Capitals need right now. Not to mention he’s a winger and the right side is very unsettled at the NHL level for the moment.
What the Capitals want for him: If Bourque moves it’s going to be in one of two situations. Either he will (a) be moved as part of a package to acquire or swap draft picks or (b) be moved for a roster player. The Caps need help up front and Bourque is a guy who might be able to give that to them, so the team won’t let him go for a prospect.
Potential trade partners: Boston, Detroit, Nashville

Tomas Fleischmann
Chance of being traded: 20%
Why he might be moved: Fleischmann have a fair bit of skill and Bruce Boudreau loves the guy, but the Capitals need players who contribute in ways other than on the scoreboard, especially when the production is only average.  That, and shipping him out might be the only way to get Boudreau to stop playing him.
Why he might not be moved: As frustrating as he may have been at times, Flash's level of production - 19 goals at $725,000 - is tough to beat.
What the Capitals want for him: Fleischmann's a decent NHL player and he seems to have a fair amount of untapped potential, but he's just not the right player for the Capitals right now.  If the Caps move Flash, it'll probably be as part of a deal that nets them a second line winger who plays with a fair amount of grit and physicality.
Potential Trade Partners:  Minnesota, New York Rangers, Vancouver

Boyd Gordon
Chance of being traded: 33%
Why he might be moved: David Steckel seems to have taken over as the team's third line center and premier penalty killing forward and Gordon has enough value to a lot of teams to fetch a decent return.
Why he might not be moved: Guys like Gordon aren't as easy to find as a lot of people think and the Capitals know that.  Plus the team isn't very deep down the middle right now and they could use Gordon as cover for one of the top three lines in case of an injury.
What the Capitals want for him: Gordon has value, but he's not going to bring the Capitals the type of player they're looking for.  If he's moved it will most likely be so the Capitals can move up in the draft order.
Potential Trade Partners:  Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver

Shaone Morrisonn
Chance of being traded: 40%
Why he might be moved: Assuming Karl Alzner’s ready to be an NHL regular the Capitals have seven NHL-caliber defensemen aside of Morrisonn and given their salary cap situation, needs up front, and the $1.975 million dollar offer it would take to keep Morrisonn’s rights, the team might decide the most effective asset management course to take is to move Mo.
Why he might not be moved: There will probably be several teams interested in Morrisonn but an defenseman coming off an inconsistent season with an unknown 2009-10 salary isn’t going to be anyone’s first choice. Potential trade partners are probably going to want to explore other options, including free agency, before making a deal for Mo. That lack of urgency means a draft-day trade is unlikely.
What the Capitals want for him: If the Capitals move Morrisonn, it will primarily be because they can’t afford him so a pick, a prospect, or a forward are all possibilities, though we would imagine that with the obvious holes the Caps have at the NHL level right now they’ll be most interested in roster players.
Potential Trade Partners: Anaheim, Phoenix, Tampa Bay

Jose Theodore:
Chance of being traded:10%
Why he might be moved: That $4.5 million is an awful lot of money for a guy who’s going to start the season as a platoon player at best. If Brent Johnson’s health makes him a viable veteran option for the team, getting Theodore’s salary off the books could help the Capitals address some of their more pressing needs.
Why he might not be moved: As good as Simeon Varlamov was in the 2009 playoffs, handing the starting role a 21 year old with who struggled with injuries and fitness the past season and has less than six months of NHL experience under his belt would be a huge risk. Johnson would seem to be the ideal type to play the backup role or platoon if needed, but he's not under contract and no one knows if he can stay healthy. Plus, with Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin in need of new contracts after the 2009-10 season, there's no guarantee that Caps even get to use that additional salary cap space.
What the Capitals want for him: The decision about whether or not to move Theodore is a decision about the roster and salary structure of the 2009-10 more than anything else. Thus if the Capitals decide it's in their best interest to trade Theodore, they're going to move him no matter what the return is. Naturally they'll still take the best offer on the table, but that offer could be a prospect or it could be a low round draft pick
Potential trade partners: Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Ottawa

What are we missing?  Are there any other Capitals you think might be headed out the door?  Any you'd like to see head out the door?  Let us know in the comments section.

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