The Capitals made a splash in the trade market today, sending Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Scott Hannan. With as much analysis as there will be today, we thought it would be a good idea to condense several views into one tidy package. And with that, KOL presents the fourth edition of “Around The Boards.”
As always, our panelists.
Andrew Tomlinson (On Frozen Blog)
Ted Starkey (Washington Times)
Joe Yerdon (Pro Hockey Talk)
The Capitals made what could turn out to be a big deal when they acquired Scott Hannan for Tomas Fleischmann. The simple question: Who got the better end of this trade?
Yerdon: I think in the long run the Caps are going to look like the winners in this deal. This won’t be a trade that’s judged after a week of play. Hannan is the defensive-minded defenseman the Caps have been lacking all along. Guys like Poti, Schultz, Green, etc. just don’t focus solely on defense the way Hannan does. Hannan plays physically but if you’re hoping you can occasionally plug this guy onto the power play, you’re crazy. He’s there to shut down opponents and that’s it. That’s precisely the brand of player the Caps have been looking for.
Fleischmann will do just fine in Colorado and he joins them at the right time with Chris Stewart out and Peter Mueller dealing with concussion issues. They needed a guy who can score goals and help create offense. Him not being physical won’t be an issue in Colorado given the kind of hockey they play there. The West is tougher to play in, but Colorado has enough of a mix of high-flying skill guys and power forwards so that Fleischmann’s role will never be in doubt. Whether or not he can snap out of his funk there remains to be seen, but I think he’ll do just fine. He’s not a game-breaker though for the Avs, he’s a complimentary piece. Hannan might be the guy that’s one of the missing pieces to the puzzle for Washington to become a Cup winner.
Could this finally be when Matty Perreault gets a full time spot on the roster? Will Tyler Sloan even be with the team in a week? All of these things are going to help determine who wins in this deal. That said, for the sake of discussion, it is clear the Caps have won this deal.
Sure, Scott Hannan hasn’t played a shift and hasn’t even met his teammates yet, but he wants to be here. Meanwhile, Colorado is getting a guy in Flash who was happy as a member of the Caps. That’s not to say he won’t play his best for the Avs; he is a standup guy and probably will, but there will definitely be a sort of shock that will have to subside first. Meanwhile Hannan is a guy who will be amped to play in Washington. He already sounds excited and waived his no-trade clause to come here. Desire to play is definitely a factor and in my opinion, Hannan will have a larger desire here than Flash will there.
Beyond just who will perform better, the Caps end up in a much better place salary cap wise. Specifically speaking, they will get more bang for their buck. Fleischmann was failing to perform up to his price point and was not even dressing towards the end.
Hannan is a D-man who will play pretty much every game the rest of the way, since he rarely gets injured. Not only that, but the Caps are left with a decent chunk of change left to play with if they want to make another move, or several, at the deadline.
All-in-all both teams end up winners, but in terms of who is better off because of the deal, the Caps clearly did better. They dealt a guy from a position of strength and helped shore up another weakness. Flash will help the Avs, but Hannan will have a more direct impact immediately in Washington.
Fleischmann had struggled this year, not really able to fill the second-line center role and thereby becoming a spare part early this year, and he will get his chance to get some ice time and will take on an enhanced role with the Avalanche. Sometimes a change of scenery helps a forward, and certainly Colorado hopes that’s what will happen as they need him to produce off the bat.
Washington, quiet during the offseason, could be a bit more patient, and after the deal, Capitals’ GM George McPhee acknowledged they had been targeting Scott Hannan since August, and with the Avalanche badly needing a forward – and with Washington one of the teams that could take on the remainder of Hannan’s $4.5 million salary for the year – he decided to go with the trade.
Hannan is a solid – if unspectacular – defensive defenseman, something the Caps really needed to fill. His biggest problem with the Avalanche is the large four-year, $18 million deal he signed with Colorado, and while he has been fairly solid, it’s hard to justify that kind of deal for that type of defenseman. However, in the Caps’ case, with Hannan set to be a unrestricted free agent in the offseason, and sending Fleischmann’s $2.6 million west, it doesn’t put a huge crimp should the Caps make a big splash at the trade deadline.
Hannan had become expendible with the emergence of young Kevin Shattenkirk, and with the Avs needing a forward badly to help keep Colorado in the playoff race, the deal was done. Fleischmann will be pressed into duty quickly, while the Capitals can be a bit more patient working Hannan in the lineup, as he will now join a corps that, when healthy, has seven decent defensemen. But unlike Colorado, who needed Fleischmann to fill a void due to injury, the Capitals get a type of player they have really been needing – particularly in the postseason.