Washington Capitals CEO Brian MacLellan has never held up to the trade deadline in his five-year term, fiddling with his roster in some way every February. But with his team in the middle of a season where he hopes to repeat as a Stanley Cup champion, MacLellan sees no hole in his roster. "I do not think we will have any glaring weaknesses that we will try to tackle," he said in a wide-ranging interview with journalists on Friday afternoon.
But just because MacLellan is satisfied with the status of his team through 43 games, does not mean that he will not be active next month when the trade deadline of 25 February approaches. Traditionally it went for defensive depth, but said that this season "the only thing we're going to look for is: there is a hockey trade to do – salary salary, player by player – in the group of head?"
MacLellan did not explicitly say that the wing Andre Burakovsky is the attacker he might want to trade, but there have been many speculations around the age of 23 this season. It was a healthy scratch for Thursday's 4-2 win at Boston Bruins, his fifth time out of the line-up this season, and he's running for low-career production with just five goals and four assist for 38 games. The teams are informed about the availability of Burakovsky, which is expected when a young attacker with an offensive side seems to need a change of scenery.
Based on MacLellan's comments Friday, if Washington were to exchange Burakovsky, he would like someone who could immediately enter his usual third-line role without exceeding his current $ 3 million salary cap.
"He took a step back, but we expect he will find his game and become a better player after dealing with all of this," said MacLellan.
In discussion with Burakovsky is that he is a limited and waiting free agent, and a valid offer to maintain his rights should correspond to his current salary of $ 3.25 million. On the basis of its current production rate, it would probably be too much, but the fact of not offering a qualifying offer would lead him to become a free agent without restrictions, at which point Washington could risk losing the choice of the first round of 2013 for nothing. If a team trades for him, it risks essentially the same thing.
"We are trying to help him reach the next level as a player to become more consistent," said MacLellan. "He has over[average] abilities, above-average shooting, skating above average, and those should translate into a solid NHL player. If he can do it constantly and do things that the trainer wants him to do in the system, he will be a good player. … I mean, young guys go through their career stages, I think, where they find it hard to find it. They lose their trust and then recover their trust and then find their way ".
Burakovsky's future in the organization seemed brilliant when he scored 17 goals and 21 assists in 79 games during the 2015-16 season, but had both hands injuries in each of the last two seasons, contributing to a gradual decline of the score every year. But while he built a reputation for prolonged collapses, he also had brilliant flashes, as when he scored two goals in the 7th game of the Eastern Conference final against last year's Tampa Bay Lightning.
"It's frustrating that it's there and you want to see it every night," MacLellan said. "I mean, I think young players face it, and it's frustrating for me to see it frustrated … I think you show it, and it's hard for him to get over this … Last year, I think he struggled with his injuries The inconsistencies I think were related to being out for long periods of time – this year has entered and has not yet found it. "
When asked how to get future assets, such as draft picks and prospects, in exchange for a hypothetical trade before the deadline, MacLellan indicated that his preference would be to get something in return that could help the Capitals defend their title.
"I mean, it's important for us to have as much depth as possible, in the trait, in play-offs and to be healthy," he said. "It would be ideal."
Djoos to start skating soon
Defender Christian Djoos lost his last 13 games after forced compartment syndrome in his left thigh last month. The Capitals have said that Djoos has gone out endlessly, but MacLellan said the 24-year-old started ice training and could get back on ice this week for a "light skate". Washington should have more clarity on its calendar to return in the next two weeks. When Djoos is healthy, he usually skates on the team's third match.
MacLellan has acquired at least one defender in view of the commercial expiration in four consecutive years, but with Djoos in repair, the veteran Brooks Orpik is back on the field after missing 27 matches due to a right knee injury and young Madison Bowey and Jonas Siegenthaler. Well, MacLellan seemed pretty happy with his depth on the blue as to leave it as it is.
"I feel comfortable where we are there, apart from the wounds," MacLellan said.
Vrana could get a long-term agreement
Burakovsky struggled in his contract year, but 22-year-old Jakub Vrana prepared well for a big payday this summer. He scored a career in scoring with 15 and still has half the season. The choice of the first round of 2014 has established itself as one of the best you are forward and probably the fastest player on the team, and MacLellan said it could start discussions on contracts with the Vrana representation this month.
MacLellan said he will be comfortable in signing Vrana for a long-term agreement with a bridge.
"I think that since we made it a big priority," said MacLellan. "He's an offensive and skilled guy that we're starting to do what he can do in the NHL, we want to have him around for a long time … I think in January here, it's a normal progression that we start talking to him and see if 39 It is common ground that can be done, and if not, wait until the end of the season, you do not want it to become a distraction about what we are going through. "