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3 reasons why the Caps should make a trade deadline move

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3 reasons why the Caps should make a trade deadline move

Now that the All-Star Game has come and gone, the next major date in the calendar is Feb. 26. That day at 3 p.m. is the NHL trade deadline.

It may be hard to believe, but the NHL season is now in full playoff mode. Either you are in a push for the postseason or you are gearing up to sell your assets to the highest bidder.

So what should the Caps do? Should the Caps make a move at this year’s deadline or should they sit this one out?

We will look at both sides of the argument on Tuesday starting with the case for making a move.

The window is still open…for now

No one was sure what to expect from the Caps this season. Through 49 games, they sit in first place of the Metropolitan Division. They are not the dominant team of the past few seasons, but clearly they are still a playoff team…for now. But just how long that window will remain open is a fair question to ask.

Alex Ovechkin is 32 and is already defying Father Time with 30 goals in 49 games. Nicklas Backstrom is 30 while T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen are both 31. John Carlson is having a career year and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, as is Lars Eller and Jay Beagle.

RELATED: WHERE DO THE CAPS NEED TO IMPROVE IN THE SECOND HALF? 

If you think the Caps are overachieving this season, what are the odds they do it again next year with an aging core?

The fact is, Ovechkin is still a special player, but we do not know how much longer that will be true. Braden Holtby is in his prime and is one of the best netminders in the league. There is still enough talent on this team for a run. The Ovechkin era window may well be over by the end of this season. If this is the last shot this team has in that era, shouldn’t they go all in? After all, you never know how long it will take to get back to this level.

Obvious need

From a more practical standpoint, this is a team with an obvious need that it can address via trade: defensive depth. Washington has not one, but two rookies playing on the defense right now. While both Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey have played admirably to this point, they are both rookies and the playoffs are a whole different animal from the regular season.

Barry Trotz has done a good job sheltering his rookie defensemen this season, but give an opposing coach a chance to game plan for a best of seven series, he will find a way to get his top playmakers on the ice against the Caps’ young blue liners, especially if you have two in the lineup.

Even if you are okay with having Djoos and Bowey in the top six, what happens if there is an injury? Taylor Chorney is capable of stepping in for a game or two if needed, but Washington is one injury away from having him in the top six for the postseason. That is not ideal. There also is no one down in Hershey you can feel confident in stepping up as a No. 6 or 7 right now in the NHL.

READ ALSO: CAN THE CAPS AVOID A STUMBLE OFF ANOTHER BREAK?

Teams may actually make significant moves this year

The trade deadlines of the past few years have lacked any blockbuster deals, but this year there are several teams, including teams within the Caps’ division, who have a lengthy list of needs. The Pittsburgh Penguins are never shy about jumping into the trade market and they desperately need center depth. The Toronto Maple Leafs need defensemen. Both Columbus and New Jersey are in need of new blood to knock their respective teams out of their recent malaise. Philadelphia is making a real playoff push and could load up. The New York Islanders need goaltending help.

There could be a lot more movement this year with the wild card spots up for grabs. Do the Caps really want to be the only team to sit out while everyone around them gets better?

That’s why the Caps should make a move at the trade deadline. Here's a counter argument.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

Less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup, the Caps are in need of a new head coach.

Barry Trotz resigned as the Caps coach on Monday after he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. How did we get here and where do both parties go from here? JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break it all down.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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7 things to know about Capitals head coaching candidate Todd Reirden

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7 things to know about Capitals head coaching candidate Todd Reirden

For now, Todd Reirden appears to be the frontrunner to be the new head coach of the Washington Capitals.

But who is he? 

Here are some things to know about the Capitals head coaching candidate:

1. Reirden spent the last four seasons with Washington on Barry Trotz's staff

Should Reirden be hired, he would bring a measure of familiarity with him few teams get after a coaching change. Reirden was hired by Trotz in 2014 when Trotz was putting together his staff. He was brought in to coach the team's defense and immediately improved the blue line.

In the year prior to Reirden's hiring, the Caps allowed 2.74 goals per game, good for only 21st in the NHL.

Here is what the defense has done in Reirden's four years in charge of the defense:

2014-15: 2.43 goals against per game, 7th in the NHL
2015-16: 2.33 goals against per game, 2nd in the NHL
2016-17: 2.16 goals against per game, 1st in the NHL
2017-18: 2.90 goals against per game, 16th in the NHL

In those four seasons combined, Washington allowed 2.45 goals per game, lower than every team in the NHL but one. He was also in charge of the team's lethal power play.

2. Reirden has been a head coach before

While he may never have been a head coach in the NHL, Reirden does have some head coaching experience.

Reirden was promoted to head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2009 when Dan Bylsma was promoted to head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. While head coach, Reirden led the team to a 55-43-8 record.

3. Reirden came to Washington from the Penguins

Reirden joined the Penguins organization in 2008 as an assistant coach with their AHL affiliate and took over as head coach later that season. He joined the Penguins' playoff staff during the 2009 Cup run. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coach under with the NHL team under Bylsma in 2010 and was there for four years until Byslma was fired. Reirden was not initially fired, but was allowed to seek other opportunities. When he was officially fired, the Capitals hired him the same day.

4. Reirden had a lot to do with Matt Niskanen signing with the Caps

Reirden was hired by the Caps on June 25, 2014. On July 1, Matt Niskanen signed with Washington.

Reirden and Niskanen developed a strong relationship while in Pittsburgh. Niskanen dealt with confidence issues after getting traded from Dallas to Pittsburgh in 2011. Under Reirden's tutelage, Niskanen developed into a top-pair defenseman. Niskanen's agent said at the time it was "no secret" that Reirden and Niskanen had bonded while both were in Pittsburgh.

Brooks Orpik also signed with the Caps as a free agent that year, the second defenseman from Pittsburgh to sign in Washington showing the level of respect they felt for Reirden.

5. Reirden nearly became the head coach of Calgary

Reirden interviewed for the head coaching job in Calgary in 2016 and was considered a finalist for the position before eventually losing out Glen Gulutzan.

Gulutzan was fired by Calgary after the 2017-18 season and is now an assistant coach in Edmonton while Reirden is the frontrunner to become the head coach for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Sounds like things worked out for Reirden.

6. The Caps have been grooming Reirden to be a head coach

Reirden was promoted to associate coach in August 2016 after Calgary had passed on him. Since then, the Caps have not allowed him to interview with other teams for head coaching positions. The implication was clear, this was someone the team wanted to keep.

"You know I think we’ve been grooming him to be a head coach whether for us or someone else," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan Monday.

7. Reiden played in 183 career NHL games

Reirden was a defenseman drafted in the 12th round by the New Jersey Devils in 1990. After playing four years at Bowling Green, Reirden went pro with several seasons in the ECHL, IHL and AHL. He made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1998-99 season. Reirden would also play with the St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Phoenix Coyotes. 

For his NHL career, Reirden scored 11 goals and 46 points in 183 games.

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