Historically, there are two big trading windows on the NHL calendar – the days leading up to the annual trade deadline, and the days leading up to the NHL draft.
Last year, there were 23 trades consummated in the days leading up to and including the 2014 NHL draft in Philadelphia.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan made three of them, trading three late-round picks for depth goaltender Edward Pasquale and the 159th selection of this year’s draft; sending the 104th and 118th picks to the Rangers for the 89th pick in the 2014 draft, which the Caps used to take Australian forward Nathan Walker; and sending the 44th and 74th picks in 2014 to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for the 39th pick, which the Caps used to select Czech goaltender Vitek Vanecek.
At next weekend’s draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., thanks to a trade deadline deals for forward Curtis Glencross, which cost the Caps a second- and third-rounder in this year’s draft, and defenseman Tim Gleason, which cost the Caps defenseman Jack Hillen and a fourth-rounder, the Caps own just five picks in the seven-round draft.
Round 1 – 22nd overall
Round 3 – 62nd overall [from Buffalo]
Round 4 – 113th overall
Round 5 – 143rd overall
Round 6 – 173rd overall
MacLellan has said he would like to acquire a top-line right wing through a trade, but considering the Caps’ restraints with the salary cap he would might be more inclined to deal a roster player with salary than one of the club’s five draft picks. In fact, MacLellan may look to add picks in this years draft, possibly using the negotiating rights to UFA defenseman Mike Green as a trade chip, the way he did with Jaroslav Halak last year when he pried a fourth-round pick from the Islanders for the goalie’s rights.
On the flip side of that formula, the Caps could also part with a draft pick if they thought it would give them better leverage to acquire a pending UFA like Los Angeles Kings veteran right wing Justin Williams.
If the Caps intend to find a top-line right wing such as Patrick Sharp [two years, $5.9 million], Radim Vrbata [one year, $5 million] or T.J. Oshie [two years, $4.175 million] through a draft-day trade, they likely would need to part with their first-round pick and in a draft considered deep in talent, they might be unwilling to part with their 22nd overall pick.
The Caps have had at least one first-round pick in 12 of their last 13 drafts and while this will be their first time picking at No. 22, they’ve fared well in the bottom third of the first round, finding Andre Burakovsky [23rd in 2013], Evgeny Kuznetsov [26th in 2010], Marcus Johansson [24th in 2009], John Carlson [27th in 2008], Semyon Varlamov [23rd in 2006] and Mike Green [29th in 2004].
Stay with us as we spend the next week previewing the 2015 NHL draft and the moves the Capitals may be making leading up to it.