Placing Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers Wednesday seemed to indicate that a trade was on the horizon for the Capitals and on Thursday, that trade was made official. Washington acquired forward Carl Hagelin from the Los Angeles Kings in a trade for a third-round draft pick in 2019 and a conditional 2020 draft pick.

The trade was announced by the Caps about 30 minutes after Smith-Pelly cleared waivers, freeing up a roster spot and cap room to fit Hagelin. Terms of the conditional pick were not immediately disclosed but Pierre LeBrun reports on Twitter that regarding the pick, "Caps must win two rounds and Hagelin plays in 50 percent or more of any two rounds combined. So could be rd 1 and 2. Or 2 and 3. Or 1 and 3, etc. If those things don’t happen, there’s no 6th RD pick going to LA."

Hagelin, 30, adds speed and experience to the Caps’ lineup. His speed is easily his best asset and a valuable commodity in today’s NHL. He has won the Stanley Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He also should be able to contribute on the penalty kill.


Hagelin was traded from Pittsburgh to the Kings in November and is in the final year of his contract. The Washington Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan also reports that the Kings have retained 50-percent of Hagelin's salary in the deal.

This season has been a bit of a struggle for him with only eight points in 38 games with the Kings and Penguins. His production typically falls around 30 points and his low production is what likely drove down Los Angeles’ asking price. He is on the final year of his contract and carries a total cap hit for $4 million, but Pittsburgh retained $250,000 of that in the original trade.

The fourth line has been a major question mark for the Caps this season. No combination has seemingly managed to gain much traction with head coach Todd Reirden and this move looks like it directly addresses that.

Given the recent success of Washington’s third line, Hagelin will likely find himself primarily playing on the fourth line for the Caps. Reirden will have to make it work with Hagelin, Chandler Stephenson, Nic Dowd, Travis Boyd and perhaps Smith-Pelly after he cleared waivers on Thursday.