I don't think anyone could have possibly seen the two moves George McPhee was able to pull off today.
It all started early in the afternoon. I was casually looking through twitter when I saw this:
Penner to @washcaps.
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) March 4, 2014
As you probably know by now, that refers to Dustin Penner, the rugged goal-scoring winger from the Anaheim Ducks. All it costed us was a 4th round pick in 2014, the same 4th round pick we received when we traded away Mathieu Perreault. That's a little funny. Right? A little funny.
Then, at around 8:00 p.m., McPhee continued trading away, shipping off disgruntled winger Martin Erat and winger John (Not Garrett) Mitchell, and received defenseman Rostislav Klesla, forward Chris Brown and a 4th round pick in 2015.
Well.... Now that my hearts slowed down a bit, thought I'd let everyone know I'm still property of the @washcaps #JohnNotGarrett
— Garrett Mitchell (@Mitchy1_0) March 5, 2014
So let's dissect these trades together. In Dustin Penner, we get a former 30 goal scorer (very former 30 goal scorer) but a goal scorer nonetheless. Penner has 13 goals and 19 assists in 49 games this season. Pretty solid. He was playing with the best team in the league, but it will be interesting to see where exactly he fits with the Capitals. He's no worse than a second line left wing. I would imagine he slides right up to the first line with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Why not? But what I like is that he is a two-time Stanley Cup winner. We need guys like that.
With the acquisition of Penner, the Caps went over the cap limit, meaning they absolutely had to shed some salary. The most shed-able contract of them all was Martin Erat. And SOMEHOW McPhee was able to do that, shipping Erat right to the desert. In return, the Caps got Klesla, Brown and a 4th round pick for 2015. Que? How? Apparently, Phoenix has been interested in Erat for a while now.
Why? RT: @phoenixcoyotes #Coyotes GM Don Maloney on Erat trade: "We've been looking at Martin for a long time... We're excited to have him."
— GMOnACouch (@GMOnACouch) March 5, 2014
That's me asking why on earth they were interested in a one-goal scorer. Here's his goal he had this season:
That was super impressive.
A few points to make about this trade.
- I can't stress enough how important it was to get rid of Erat's $4.5 million contract not just this year, but next year as well. It leaves us so much more room for activities! That being said, while everyone is ecstatic for getting rid of him, he could still see success in Phoenix. We completely misused him.
- Don't get too wild about Klesla. While he is 6'3" and is capable of being that left handed second line d-man we could use, he also is more than capable of not being that second line d-man we could use. He's been waived twice this year already, and has only appeared in 25 games this year. So while it's safe to be optimistic, be warned.
- Chris Brown is incredibly good at music, and immediately wrote a song and released it for Martin Erat:
Ok, the last part might be wrong. Chris Brown is actually a bad dude who is not afraid to throw his weight around. Last year, I was relatively excited when we acquired Michael Latta because I saw him cracking the lineup. I'm equally as excited for Chris Brown, who may or may not sing, I don't know.
But is McPhee done? I don't think so. I think he's still has to gain some cap space, and I think he will. We have about $1.8 million in cap space right now, but I see McPhee trading away Michal Neuvirth. I think he knows he can snag a early round draft pick for him, which would be great for not only the pick, but the extra $2.5 million in cap space. With that much extra space, and after what McPhee accomplished today, I wouldn't put it past him to trade for another pick. But then you have the whole Evgeny Kuznetsov case. Read about that here.
So there you have it, it was a wild day before the deadline. It will be even more interesting to see what the Caps have done next, if anything. But what McPhee accomplished today is something to be happy about. He improved the team just that much more within about 10 hours of work.