McPhee, Caps stand pat on Deadline Day

At the end of the day, George McPhee and the Washington Capitals decided not to enter the Trade Deadline fray, choosing instead to stand pat and keeps things status quo in D.C. 

While that may be all well and good in previous years past, it doesn't make sense considering the Caps currently find themselves out of the playoff picture in the East. 

Caps GM George McPhee didn't help out his team this time at the deadline. 

If the goal was to keep things status quo, then the Caps must be content with missing the playoffs in a season in which much greater was expected of them, Cup-worthy expectations that is. 

Instead, general manager George McPhee fired his coach and stood still while his lineup got decimated by injuries and down years from veterans Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Brooks Laich and Co. 

The Caps, currently without the services of No.1 center Nicklas Backstrom (who just went on LTIR today), have a gaping hole at center that would have been filled nicely with some of the likes of say a Jeff Carter (dealt to L.A.), Sam Gagner, or even Derek Roy. Armed with extra first and second round picks in the 2012 Draft thanks to the Semyon Varlamov deal this summer, McPhee could have easily plucked an impact pivot to help the team both in the short-term and long-term. 

But he didn't. 

Without Backstrom, the Caps have been masquerading Mathieu Perreault as a No. 1 center while watching Brooks Laich (an alleged No. 2 center) wilt under the pressure of his brand-new $4.5 million extension this summer. Marcus Johansson is young and unproven, but has played relatively well in the past two seasons, but is he a No. 2? His 34 points in 60 games say not quite, or not yet at least. 

I believe that GMGM missed a golden chance at the deadline. Frankly, the Caps are owner Ted Leonsis' crown jewel, especially with his Wizards looking like a High-School team at the moment, and something he wants, and needs, to succeed dearly. After winning a President's Trophy just two years ago, the Caps have regressed (notably in two-straight playoff failures) and now are in danger of missing the playoffs. 

Without an upgrade at the deadline, the Caps will be fighting with up to as many as five or six teams for a playoff spot (FLA, WPG, TOR, OTT, TB and BUF). While they are just three points from the third-seed as the Southeast champ, the need to start to play with an urgency that they haven't show in the past few years. The question becomes, will this group be able to put it together when they've shown zero ability to do so in the past? 

It's a question that GMGM could have answered with a bold move at the deadline, because this is, after all, a very veteran team with Cup aspirations. But he didn't make a splash and use future assets to protect his present squad, which could come back to bite him with more than just a missing trip to the postseason. It could just as well cost him his job, we've seen players come and go, and now even a coach or two depending on how the rest of the season plays out. 




George Prax's picture

What could the Caps have done, in actuality? No big time top six forwards moved and I don't think McPhee was going to pick up a Carter-type contract so really any moves made now probably wouldn't have made a difference. One guy isn't going to turn a season around if I were McPhee I'd wait til the summer to make some bigger movies. But I can understand the frustration.

Mike Dusak's picture

obviously no big pieces moved besides Carter, but man they keep saying this is a "win now" and do nothing is scary, i think he'll upgrade if they fail in playoffs or miss altogether but still frustrating with all those picks and assets.