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Capitals Trade Rumblings

Capitals Reportedly Looking For Defense At Deadline; 3 Blueliners To Consider

The Washington Capitals are reportedly looking at options on defense as the trade deadline approaches. Here are some blueliners up for consideration.



The Washington Capitals have been dealing with injuries for the last couple of seasons, and while they've gotten a couple of star forwards back, they are missing one of their No. 1 defenseman in John Carlson. In turn, they're reportedly on the hunt for help on the blue line with the trade deadline looming.

Per The Athletic's Eric Duhatschek, Washington is willing to listen to offers on Lars Eller, and have acknowledged that the desired return is help on defense. Still, general manager Brian MacLellan said recently that the team's plans will depend a lot on where things stand from a health perspective at the March 3 deadline, leading to some last-minute decisions. Still, the blue line is a concern that needs to be addressed sooner or later for several reasons.

Without Carlson, the defense has been getting by, and Erik Gustafsson and Nick Jensen have stepped to help compensate for the missing offense that Carlson brings, while Dmitry Orlov and Trevor van Riemsdyk have chipped in, too. However, play started to decline a bit following a stellar December. In January, the Capitals went 6-7-1 and not only struggled on the blue line but offensively as well.

Not only does Washington need help through the rest of this season as it looks to hold onto a playoff spot, but there is only one defenseman signed through next season, and that's Carlson, whose return is still "off in the distance." The rest are restricted and unrestricted free agents, so getting another experienced blueliner who's signed through next season could be beneficial.

Here are three defensemen who the team could consider at the deadline:

Joel Edmundson, Montreal Canadiens

One potential target is Joel Edmundson. While he's not a point producer, he's a strong puck-mover who complements offensive guys well. The 6-5, 221-pound, left-handed defender is also a physical presence and a shutdown guy who can log heavy minutes, and he's a shot-blocking machine to boot. Not only that, but he's been a part of two runs to the Stanley Cup Finals over the last four years, and he won with the St. Louis Blues in 2019.

While his numbers haven't necessarily been impressive with the struggling Montreal Canadiens, he would be better on a stronger team. Edmundson is also signed through next season and has a cap hit of $3.5 million, which the team could potentially clear at the deadline as well.

Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings

Like Edmundson, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Matt Roy is a steady presence on the blue line who can play big minutes. At 6-1, 205 pounds, he has size and is a versatile player who can be used in several situations, and he's a mobile skater who can move the puck up the ice. While he doesn't have offensive flair, he's still a solid option and a right-hand shot, something that the Capitals need with Martin Fehervary currently playing on his off side on the third pairing while working with either Matt Irwin or Alex Alexeyev.

Roy has a $3.15 million cap hit, so it would require salary to be moved out with a potential Eller deal. This is also one of the potential fits that The Athletic mentioned, and considering the rise of Sean Durzi, who can play both sides, and Mike Anderson for the first-place Kings, it may be time for the club to move on from Roy.

Luke Schenn, Vancouver Canucks

A longer shot, Schenn is a popular trade target who is getting quite a bit of interest. However, the right-hand shot is cheap and would work well as a rental, though an extension would likely result in a bit of a pay raise from his current $850,000 cap hit.

Schenn is a physical force and has a whopping 237 hits this season, and the 6-2, 226-pound defender plays a solid two-way game as well. He has two goals and 14 assists, is a strong skater and is capable of adding some help on offense while logging at least 17 minutes per game.

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