Trade (Rumor) Winds Blowing Eastward

Last week we used Spector's roundup of potential Western Conference trade bait as a launching point for a more Capitals-specific discussion on what the team could use going forward, what they should be willing to give up, and which players specifically they might (or should) have their eye on.  Today we thought it'd be worth taking a look at the players on Spector's Eastern Conference list (which actually predates his Western Conference one) and whether or not they're guys worth pursuing.


Kari Lehtonen

#32 / Goalie / Atlanta Thrashers

6-4

215

Nov 16, 1983

26

$3,000,000

2010 (RFA)


[no stats for 2009-10]

Why we like him: Lehtonen's good.  Really good.  And he's been really good despite playing in a (generally) poor environment in Atlanta, a team that has only had two winning seasons and four playoff games in the last ten years and routinely let their keeper get pounded with a ton of shots - and not easy ones either.

Why we don't: The Capitals already have a young, talented keeper with durability questions.  The one year the Thrashers made the playoffs Lehtonen posted a 5.59 goals against average and .849 save percentage in two games before being benched in favor of Johan Hedberg.


Andrew Ference

#21 / Defenseman / Boston Bruins

5-11

189

Mar 17, 1979

30

$1,400,000

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Andrew Ference 42 0 5 5 -3 16 0 0 0 0 54 0.0

Why we like him: Ference is capable in most facets of the game, including in his own end.  He also throws his weight around and is an ornery presence in front of his own net.  He's probably most famous for punching Sidney Crosby.

Why we don't: He's essentially a passable depth option on defense, somewhat prone to mistakes and with little offensive upside.  These are the kinds of guys the Capitals have been trying to move all season, so why acquire one?


Henrik Tallinder

#10 / Defenseman / Buffalo Sabres

6-3

214

Jan 10, 1979

30

$2,562,500

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Henrik Tallinder 41 2 8 10 9 16 0 0 0 0 25 8.0

Why we like him: He's not flashy by any stretch, but having a stable of "not flashy" to eat up minutes and provide support for the stars is what Stanley Cup Champions are made of, especially when the "not flashy" guys as defensively capable as Tallinder.  He's cheap and his contract expires at the end of this season, giving the Caps financial flexibility both this year and next.

Why we don't: Buffalo's having trouble scoring goals this season, their powerplay is mediocre at best, and team has largely been carried by Ryan Miller.  In other words, odds are the Sabres are going to be looking for NHL-caliber players, and the Caps' best trade bait is in the form of picks and prospects.


Ray Whitney

#13 / Left Wing / Carolina Hurricanes

5-10

180

May 08, 1972

37

$3,550,000

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Ray Whitney 39 11 16 27 -8 16 2 0 2 0 81 13.6

Why we like him:
He's a solid offensive player and, even with the high-end talent the Capitals have, it's always nice to have secondary scoring.  His combination of skill and speed makes him a potential candidate to play alongside Alex Ovechkin, which would free Alexander Semin up to be the offensive dynamo on the second line.

Why we don't: The Caps have a pretty good number of depth-level scoring wings as it is, making it less of a priority than upgrading the blue line or perhaps adding another center.


Jordan Leopold

#44 / Defenseman / Florida Panthers

6-1

200

Aug 03, 1980

29

$1,750,000

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jordan Leopold 43 6 8 14 -6 20 0 0 0 0 46 13.0

Why we like him:
Realistically, the Capitals blue line could use an upgrade in terms of skating and puck movement, and Leopold would bring that.  The cap hit is small, and since Leopold's an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Panthers will almost have to move him, barring a run at a playoff spot.

Why we don't: While Leopold brings some of the skills the Caps are probably looking for in a defensemen, he by no means brings all of them.  Simply put, George McPhee's going to be placing a higher premium on defense than offense if he makes any moves on the back end, so Leopold's not going to be his first choice.


Jaroslav Halak

#41 / Goalie / Montreal Canadiens

5-11

179

May 13, 1985

24

$775,000

2010 (RFA)



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Jaroslav Halak 18 1022 11 6 45 2.64 577 532 .922 1

Why we like him:
He's good, he's young, he's cost-controlled, and he has shown he has the mental strength to playing Montreal and has stayed sharp even as a backup.

Why we don't: The Caps already have several young goalies, and if the Canadiens deal Halak they'll probably want NHL players in return.  It's just not a good match.


Paul Martin

#7 / Defenseman / New Jersey Devils

6-1

195

Mar 05, 1981

28

$3,833,333

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Paul Martin 9 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 9 0.0

Why we like him:
He's solid defensively, he moves the puck well, and his salary cap hit isn't sizable enough to prevent McPhee from making other moves.

Why we don't: Martin broke his arm back in October, and it's unclear how much playing he's going to see before the trade deadline.  Plus, if you're making a move for Martin, a big part of what you're paying for is his offensive ability, but with Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Green manning the points for the majority of Washington's powerplay time and the team not getting their defensemen all that involved 5-on-5, the team might be paying for a skill set they're not going to be able to maximize.


Martin Biron

#43 / Goalie / New York Islanders

6-3

180

Aug 15, 1977

32

$1,400,000

2010



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Martin Biron 17 950 2 11 51 3.22 508 457 .900 1

Why we like him:
He's a veteran who has shown that he can be productive in - and just as importantly, is willing to accept - any role on the team.

Why we don't: Picking up Biron only makes sense if the Capitals can move Jose Theodore, which makes his potential acquisition difficult from a logistical standpoint.


Christopher Higgins

#21 / Left Wing / New York Rangers

6-0

205

Jun 02, 1983

26

$2,250,000

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Christopher Higgins 41 5 6 11 -9 24 0 0 1 0 107 4.7

Why we like him:
Higgins has shown that he can produce at the NHL level, having scored more than twenty goals three times.  His speed is a good match for the up tempo Caps, his versatility would be a bonus for a coach who likes to juggle lines, and he's defensively responsible.

Why we don't: Despite what he's done is years past, Higgins has just 17 goals in 78 games since the start of the 2008-09 season.  As we mentioned when discussing Phoenix's Peter Mueller, reclamation projects aren't the kind of players Stanley Cup contenders pursue at the trade deadline.


Chris Campoli

#14 / Defenseman / Ottawa Senators

6-0

190

Jul 09, 1984

25

$633,333

2010 (RFA)



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Chris Campoli 37 2 10 12 0 14 1 0 0 0 34 5.9

Why we like him:
Campoli has good natural speed and offensive instincts from the blue line, and would be effective in getting the puck up to the Caps most dangerous players

Why we don't: The Capitals already have Brian Pothier.


Jeff Carter

#17 / Center / Philadelphia Flyers

6-3

200

Jan 01, 1985

25

$5,000,000

2011 (RFA)



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jeff Carter 41 14 19 33 -2 28 5 1 4 0 181 7.7

Why we like him:
He's David Steckel with offensive upside: good size down the middle, wins faceoffs (though not at the rate Steckel does), kills penalties, and plays well in his own end.  He's demonstrated great goal scoring potential for a center, and isn't too shabby in the playmaking department either.

Why we don't: $5,000,000 is a substantial enough cap hit that it probably affects the team's personnel decisions for next season.  Carter's 46 goals and 84 points in 2008-09 were impressive, but he has yet to prove can consistently produce at that level in the NHL.  His career playoff production is significantly below his regular season production and he was a complete non-factor last year.


Maxime Talbot

#25 / Center / Pittsburgh Penguins

5-11

190

Feb 11, 1984

25

$1,050,000

2011



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Maxime Talbot 20 1 3 4 0 16 0 0 0 0 27 3.7

Why we like him:
Talbot's a solid role player with a little offensive upside who can also kill penalties.  He's willing to do whatever it takes to help his team, even if it means getting beaten up by Dan Carcillo.

Why we don't: Talbot would probably be an upgrade over Matt Bradley (The Professor's production season to this point notwithstanding), but probably not enough of an upgrade to be worth pursuing.


Lukas Krajicek

#2 / Defenseman / Tampa Bay Lightning

6-2

196

Mar 11, 1983

26

$1,475,000

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Lukas Krajicek 23 0 1 1 -4 21 0 0 0 0 17 0.0

Why we like him:
He's a defenseman and defensemen are good to have...I guess.

Why we don't: If the Capitals want to dress a marginal NHL talent on the blue line, they don't need to go outside the organization to do it.


Lee Stempniak

#12 / Toronto Maples Leafs

6-0

195

Feb 04, 1983

26

$2,500,000

2010



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Lee Stempniak 43 11 12 23 -3 10 4 1 1 0 125 8.8

Why we like him:
He was once upon a time a twenty-five goal, fifty point guy while in St. Louis.  His offense has dipped (as, generally, has the quality of his teammates) in recent years but he's a still a pretty quick player with good offensive instincts who can provide depth as a scoring threat for a good team.  Plus his acquisition might get Tomas Fleischmann off the penalty kill.

Why we don't: His skill set is somewhat redundant on the Capitals, and his acquisition might just make things more difficult personnel-wise by adding one more guy to the mix.

Once again, we ask you: Of these players who should the Capitals be looking at?  And, just as importantly, what should they be willing to give up?

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