Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/04/13 at 10:33 AM ET
from pucksandbooks of On Frozen Blog,
Once upon a time, Capitals General Manager George McPhee was viewed, rightly I think, as cautious and shrewd each spring around trade deadline time. Never one to radically revamp his roster with wheeling and dealing then, McPhee in fact over the years has widely earned a reputation for perhaps being overly cautious, a bit too much of a deadline fence-sitter relative to his manager peers — particularly the elite ones.
A little before happy hour Wednesday George McPhee took a sledgehammer to that characterization, and in the process he may well have mortgaged a promising future for his hockey club.
There are tiers to NHL prospects, but consensus on Filip Forsberg was clear: He’s a bluechipper. Addressing the media Wednesday evening, McPhee didn’t dispute one reporter’s contention that Forsberg represented “a big part” of the Capitals’ future. And from every reasonable vantage since his drafting last June, how couldn’t he had been so regarded? He was considered a bit of a steal by the Caps at no. 11 in the first round, he earned the captaincy for his hockey power nation at this year’s World Juniors, and he was even pointed to by the team owner recently as a cornerstone prospect. So in moving a bluechip prospect for Martin Erat, a 31-year-old wing whose minutes-eating production in Nashville this season allowed him — in 11 more games — to equal the goals production of Wojtek Wolski in Washington, McPhee has invited the interpretation that it’s win now — and take an enormous risk in trying to do so — for a team that in this truncated season has veered little from 14th to 11th in the Eastern conference.
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