While the rest of the NHL went down to the wire of Monday’s trade deadline, the Washington Capitals’ war room was quiet. General Manager Brian MacLellan picked up the phone a handful of times, but he mostly just monitored what other teams were up to. He had made two trades to bring in defenseman Nick Jensen and winger Carl Hagelin days earlier, and he ultimately decided this roster could win the Stanley Cup for the second straight season.
“It’s pretty much the same roster,” MacLellan said. “Maybe a little better, in my mind.”
A year ago, MacLellan sent a third-round draft pick to Chicago for defenseman Michal Kempny — not the blockbuster deal some other clubs opted for but one that addressed Washington’s need for another puck-moving blue-liner and helped cheap nhl jerseys
the team hit its stride going into the postseason. This time, MacLellan wanted to fortify his struggling penalty kill, which is ranked 23rd in the league at 78.5 percent, and add speed and depth to a lineup that has been inconsistent of late.
He traded a 2019 third-round draft pick and a 2020 conditional sixth-round selection to Los Angeles for Hagelin on Thursday. In Hagelin, MacLellan sees a fast, versatile forward who can play anywhere from the second to the fourth line and is also expected to be on the top penalty-killing pair. Then, on Friday, MacLellan added Jensen, the most sought-after rental defenseman available, and a 2019 fifth-round pick in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and second-year blue-liner Madison Bowey. MacLellan was so high on Jensen that he asked to check in with his agent before the trade was finalized to gauge whether the sides would be able to agree on an extension. That came a few hours after the trade, when Jensen was re-signed for four years and $10 million.
“I like what he’s done this year,” MacLellan said. “He’s taken his game to a new level. First of all, I like his speed, I like his compete level, and I really like the way he’s played lately against top players in the league. He’s defended really well and has established himself as a really good defender.”