Just one day after adding Carl Hagelin to the roster, the Capitals remained busy by acquiring right-shot defenseman Nick Jensen and a fifth-round draft pick from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Madison Bowey and a second-round draft pick in 2020.
Once the trade was made official, the Caps were quick to lock up their new acquisition, re-signing Jensen to a four-year, $10 million contract, according to Isabelle Khurshudyan.
The fifth round pick the Caps receive was originally from the Buffalo Sabres. Darren Dreger was the first to report the trade.
Brian MacLellan has added at least one defenseman at the trade deadline every year as the Caps’ general manager and this year is now no different. After the home run acquisition of Michal Kempny for cheap last season, the Caps again went for another depth move, though the cost for Jensen proved to be substantially steeper.
Jensen, 28, is a very stout defensive player and a strong skater. He does not add much offensively (two goals, 13 assists in 60 games), but the fact that he is a right-shot defenseman is of huge value.
Prior to the trade, John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Madison Bowey were the only right-handed players among the team’s eight defensemen (including Jonas Siegenthaler, though he is in Hershey). Bowey had seemingly fallen down the depth chart this season and has played in only 33 games.
Jensen does not just add right-shot depth, he adds options.
Jensen is primarily a third-pair defenseman and is likely to play alongside Brooks Orpik, but, given the struggles of the second pair this season and Niskanen in particular, having Jensen could ease some of the pressure on that pair. Jensen is not going to supplant Niskanen in the top-four, but he can play on the penalty kill and be leaned upon to play significant minutes. He averaged 20:48 of ice time with the Red Wings.
If MacLellan was looking for a low-risk, high reward addition, Jensen seems to fit the bill. It doesn’t get much cheaper than Jensen’s total cap hit of $812,500. The price to get him was high, but adding a right-shot defenseman who can be relied upon to play consistently on the third pair is a value add.
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