Before the trade deadline, we looked at possible needs and targets for the Caps. Now that the deadline has come and gone, let's review and see how they addressed those needs.
Possible need: Third goalie
How did the Caps address it: Trading for Pheonix Copley as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade
Copley was a former prospect of the Capitals who was traded to St. Louis as part of the T.J. Oshie trade. He is someone the organization knows well and is comfortable with. With a 2.23 GAA and .924 save percentage in the AHL, he represents a clear upgrade over Joe Cannata given Cannata's play this season. Copley also made his NHL debut this season, though it didn’t go well as he allowed five goals on 29 shots.
Did Hershey get stronger in net? Yes. Are the Caps likely to need Copley to play? No, but if you were looking for the Caps to have a Jeff Zatkoff type goalie as their No. 3 like the Penguins had last year, they appear to have fallen well below that mark. They likely could have done better considering there was zero market for goalies. Ryan Miller and Jaroslav Halak stayed put while teams that clearly needed another goalie like Edmonton and Calgary stood pat. Even Tampa general manager Steve Yzerman said the reason he traded Ben Bishop to Los Angeles was because it was his only option. With no buyers, that makes me think the Caps could have gotten a more established No. 3 for cheap.
Possible need: Right-shooting defenseman
How did the Caps address it: Trading for Kevin Shattenkirk
If you’re trying to win the Stanley Cup and have a chance to add a top-four defenseman without losing a core player on the roster, that’s hard to turn down. Losing a first-round draft pick hurts, but the fact that the 2017 draft appears to be rather weak helps soften the blow. Shattenkirk was the best player on the market and the Caps not only got him, they also kept him out of Pittsburgh’s hands. Granted, deadline acquisitions tend to fail more often than they work and Shattenkirk still has work to do in terms of adjusting to the Caps’ system, but general manager Brian MacLellan did about as good a job as you can do adding a very talented piece without giving up anything to weaken the current roster.
Possible need: Scoring depth
How did the Caps address it: N/A
The original plan was for the Caps to carry Zach Sanford and Jakub Vrana as extras for the postseason. If you thought that was a gamble, you’re probably not pleased that Washington traded away Sanford and did not make any moves to add forward depth. Is this really a major issue? It shouldn’t be. I’m skeptical as to what Sanford would have added. He looked timid at the start of the regular season and it affected his confidence resulting in a trip to the AHL. He has played much better of late, but it’s not hard to imagine the timidity returning in what would have been his first NHL postseason. Vrana has looked fantastic in his return from Hershey, but the bad news is that now he’s pretty much it in terms of forward depth. If the Caps suffer even two injuries in the playoffs, they will have to turn to players like Chandler Stephenson, Zach Sill, Paul Carey and Riley Barber to fill those holes.
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