The trade deadline is 19 days away but the market for rental players has yet to develop as so many teams remain in the playoff hunt. GM’s are not yet ready to sell off potential UFA’s for draft picks and over the next week I’ll be looking at the few teams who right now project as potential sellers at the trade deadline in regards to players of interest for the Penguins or potential fits in Pittsburgh from scouts polled. Today I look at the Washington Capitals:
Capitals Trade Deadline Buzz: The Washington Capitals (11-14-1, 23 pts) enter today’s action 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of a playoff spot and eight points out of first place in the Southeast division. A 2-9 start has put them in a rut, and while the Capitals are 6-4 in their last 10 games, Washington has lost three of four games and will have to go on a serious run over the next two weeks to not be a seller at the trade deadline. Washington’s biggest asset is center Mike Ribero but he’s a player who has meshed extremely well in Adam Oates system and the Capitals would like to keep him around.
Capitals Trade Candidates (UFA’s)
C Mike Ribero, 10 Goals – 19 Assists – 29 Points – -3
RW Eric Fehr, 6 Goals – 6 Assists – 12 Points – +8
LW Matt Hendricks, 4 Goals – 2 Assists – 6 Points – -1
LW Wojtek Wolski, 4 Goals – 4 ASsists – 8 Points – -1
RW Joey Crabb, 2 Goals – 0 Assists – 2 Points – -1
D Tom Poti, 0 Goals – 2 Assists – 2 Points – -1
Scouts Buzz: Hendricks, Fehr viewed as potential fits in Pittsburgh?
The Penguins are exploring the market for a gritty type of role player on the bottom two lines that makes them tougher to play against, and the Penguins also intrigued about adding a little more scoring punch on the third line to compliment Matt Cooke and Brandon Sutter if the right player is out there.
I polled two scouts on if they see any potential rental players on Washington’s roster that would be ideal fits for the Penguins and the consensus name from both scouts was:
Matt Hendricks, while in addition to Hendricks, the one scout also mentioned winger Eric Fehr.
Hendricks, 31, is a physical player who can chip in offensively from time to time and is regarded as a great character player. He would be an immediate upgrade to the Penguins fourth line, making the Penguins tougher to play against, and Hendricks has been one of those players who has moved up and down the lineup in certain situations, similar to how the Penguins used Arron Asham in the past.
Hendricks also gives you a little something on the penalty kill as he’s second among Capitals forwards in ice time per game shorthanded. Hendricks is third on the Capitals with 51 hits and is 58.7% in the faceoff circle as he can play center and wing.
Fehr, 27, has 6 goals and 12 points and a +8 rating for the Capitals this season. Fehr has good size at 6-foot-4, 212-pounds and he can really skate well for a bigger player which would make him a fit in the Penguins system.
Where could Fehr upgrade the Penguins? The sense would be as the third line right winger in place of Tyler Kennedy. Kennedy’s future is dicey in Pittsburgh but his spot on the third line is safe unless the Penguins acquire an upgrade over him. That very well might not happen.
Of the two, the belief is the Penguins could target Hendricks and they are said to like him.