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Will Capitals make a move or stand pat?


Will Capitals make a move or stand pat?

George McPhee says that since the advent of the NHL salary cap, there are only three times during the year that general managers can dramatically alter the look of their teams: the NHL draft, the first day of free agency and the days leading up to the NHL trade deadline.

Two weeks from tonight in Pittsburgh, McPhee will be given one of those opportunities when he holds two valuable commodities the 11th and 16th overall picks of the 2012 NHL draft.

Will he use one or both of those picks to make a blockbuster trade? Or will he play the conservative route and continue to build from within.

A year ago, McPhee dealt the Caps first-round pick 26th overall to the Blackhawks for
Troy Brouwer. But aside from that, he has been hesitant to make significant trades at the draft.

In his 15 years as general manager of the Capitals, McPhee has held two or more picks in the first round just five other times and has had mixed results.

In 2002, the Caps had three picks in the first round and selected defenseman Steve Eminger 12th, right wing Alexander Semin 13th and right wing Boyd Gordon 17th. Eminger was a disappointment, but still garnered a first-round pick from the Flyers that turned into John Carlson.

In 2004, they again had three picks and took left wing Alex Ovechkin 1st, defenseman Jeff Schultz 27th and defenseman Mike Green 29th, each of whom have been major contributors for the Caps.

In 2005, the Caps took defenseman Sasha Pokulok 14th and defenseman Joe Finley 27th and neither made an impact in Washington or anywhere else.

In 2006, the caps drafted center Nicklas Backstrom 4th and goaltender Semyon Varlamov 23rd, who last summer was traded to Colorado for the Avs first pick in this years draft 11th. That would have to be deemed a success.

And in 2008, the Caps took center Anton Gustafsson 21st and Carlson 27th with their two first-round picks. Gustafsson has scored just three goals in his past two seasons with Langnau of the Swiss A League.

So what can the Capitals expect from this draft class?

The Capitals have selected 11th overall just once in their franchise history, selecting defenseman Brendan Witt from Seattle (WHL) in 1993. That same year, the Capitals also had the 17th pick overall and selected center Jason Allison from London (OHL).

Washington has never drafted 16th overall in its franchise history, but has taken Sergei Gonchar (14th overall, 1992), Olie Kolzig (19th overall, 1989) and Kevin Hatcher (17th overall, 1984) near the same point of past drafts.

Other recent notable players to be drafted with the 11th overall selection include Anze Kopitar (LA, 2005), Jeff Carter (Philadelphia, 2003) and Jarome Iginla (Dallas, 1995). Notable players recently selected 16th overall include Nick Leddy (Minnesota, 2009), Steve Bernier (San Jose, 2003) and R.J. Umberger (Vancouver, 2001).

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal


Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”


Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.


The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.


The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Michal Kempny

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek


The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.