Washington surprisingly silent on deadline day

If you skipped work or school to follow the 2012 trade deadline, you’re probably regretting the decision – unless you needed to catch up on some sleep. The deadline came and went with few surprises. No blockbusters. No major deals to get fans talking. Several teams that looked ready to deal were silent as the deadline passed, creating one of the slowest deadlines in recent memory. Deadline day was directly comparable to the Oscars – lots of talking, little in the form of entertainment. 

One team that looked like it would be active at the deadline was the Washington Capitals. The Caps already made a huge move this season by removing head coach Bruce Boudreau and installing Dale Hunter, but even with a new coach the team has failed to fire on all cylinders. As Monday’s deadline loomed, it seemed certain that the Capitals would make some noise to improve their chances down the stretch. Surprisingly, the Capitals remained silent, confident with their current group.


Honestly, how many of you thought Washington would keep quiet on deadline day? Realistically, probably not many of you. In the weeks and days leading up to the deadline, numerous teams were linked to various Capitals. Defenseman Roman Hamrlik appeared to be a prime target for a potential contender looking to add some defensive depth.

This isn’t to say the Capitals were supposed to be sellers at the deadline. This season’s deadline didn’t really have any sellers – just a bunch of teams either holding on to false hopes or GMs placing unrealistic prices on even the most modest commodity. The Capitals were supposed to be both buyers and sellers, adding a couple of pieces while selling a few pieces.

Offensively, the Capitals could have used another forward to come and take Nicklas Backstrom’s spot in the lineup. Backstrom, the team’s best offensive weapon when healthy, has missed time with a concussion and has recently been placed on long-term IR. As it stands, Backstrom’s return this year is doubtful at best. Add in the fact that Alex Ovechkin hasn’t performed up to his standards and you have an offense that appeared ripe for a new face.

Mike Knuble appeared to be the logical choice to leave Washington before the deadline as he has seen more than his fair share of healthy scratches in the month February. Rumors swirled that the Capitals could package Knuble and Hamrlik together in order to bring in a new forward to help ease the pain while Backstrom is out. As far as salaries go, Knuble is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year while Hamrlik is still under contract through 2012-13 where he will make $3.5 million.

The situation was right for the Capitals to jump into the fray and make a deal. Instead, for whatever reason, the Capitals stood back. 

There were a ton of losers on draft day. We’ve already covered some of them in recent posts right here on this site. Arguably, Washington might have been the biggest loser on draft day as they sat on their hands at a time they really should have made a deal. That’s not saying the Caps should have gone our and made a trade just to make a trade, but it does mean that the team should have completed some sort of deal prior to Monday’s deadline. Numerous teams had interest in Roman Hamrlik – so much so that at least a couple of these teams had extensive meetings with the Washington front office. Instead of capitalizing on this interest, the Caps waited until deadline day waiting for the “perfect” offer that ultimately never came. This hesitation preventing them from potentially upgrading their roster and pushing them over a hump, if only a mental one, down the stretch.

Now the pressure is on. The Capitals have already replaced their coach. They’ve given the players an opportunity to get out of their funk and they haven’t. Injuries have played a crucial role. The club had their opportunity to go out and trade for reinforcements. If the Capitals are unable to make the playoffs there will be plenty of angry fans ready to come to GM George McPhee’s door. I can’t say I blame them. 

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.