Brian MacLellan explains his commerce deadline technique: ‘Hopefully, it’s not complicated’

Capitals basic supervisor Brian MacLellan did his annual, post-trade deadline presser on Friday and in it, he tried to element why precisely he steered the Caps extra within the path of sellers. It’s a place he has by no means been in earlier than whereas answerable for the workforce’s roster.

That was clear when he answered questions in regards to the course of. MacLellan was clearly not pleased with having to deal away what have been as soon as key cogs in a profitable machine but in addition expressed the will to nonetheless compete this season regardless of including extra future belongings than anything.

It was nearly just like the workforce was caught in two minds.

The Capitals began their sell-off this season on February 23 once they despatched Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins. That sell-off continued and ultimately went on to incorporate Marcus Johansson, Erik Gustafsson, and Lars Eller. All 5 gamers are pending unrestricted free brokers.

“I think we had to make some tough decisions probably a little sooner than we would have liked to make them,” MacLellan mentioned. We had some good guys, good gamers that we didn’t actually need to half with however we ended up parting with. I don’t know that we have been displaying the consistency that we wanted to indicate to turn into a workforce that was going to go for it. I believe we needed to straddle a line of what’s greatest for the longer term and try to nonetheless add gamers and keep aggressive.”

The Capitals did definitely add extra belongings for the longer term. In return for these 5 names, they ended up with 4 extra draft picks and 22-year-old gifted defenseman Rasmus Sandin. However, MacLellan provides that the workforce nonetheless has an eye fixed on this season.

That is maybe most seen in the truth that the workforce additionally introduced in veteran ahead Craig Smith, prolonged Nick Jensen and Nicolas Aube-Kubel, and didn’t embrace Conor Sheary or Trevor van Riemsdyk of their sale of upcoming unrestricted free brokers.

“I still think we want to be competitive this year,” MacLellan mentioned. “I still think we got a pretty good team. We’re going through some injuries. Our backend is decimated a little bit. We’ve tried to add a good, young defenseman in Sandin so we’ll see where we are when we come out of it here.”

A workforce nonetheless making an attempt to be aggressive this season doesn’t commerce away a participant like Dmitry Orlov as his contract calls for for the longer term don’t matter till it’s over. That is the place the strains get a bit of blurry and complicated. It could even simply be lip service. It’s clear MacLellan was conscious he wanted to mortgage among the “now” in favor of the longer term as this 12 months’s Caps are going nowhere.

MacLellan spoke about with the ability to flip a few of these futures for a extra influence roster participant over the offseason. The complicated half is: They would have extra of these futures in the event that they dedicated extra to a full-on sale. But MacLellan appears glad with what they bought.

“Our strategy was to try and get some assets or draft picks that we could use going forward to acquire players that we like,” MacLellan mentioned. “We try and get in players that we have interest in and you need players and draft picks to trade to get these guys. I think we increased our ability to do that and going into the draft we have a chance to make it happen.”

MacLellan echoed a few of those self same sentiments when requested if it was vital to wave the white flag this season with a purpose to construct a extra aggressive workforce for the close to future as each Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom’s contracts proceed to run down. Ovechkin is signed by the 2025-26 marketing campaign whereas Backstrom’s deal expires after 2024-25.

“We have some draft capital that we can use going forward,” MacLellan mentioned. “We’ve acquired some picks – moving into the offseason and into the draft we have more flexibility to trade for players.”

It’s clearly a really unusual time for each workforce workers and followers alike. The Capitals haven’t been put into this type of scenario in nearly two full a long time. MacLellan was requested about how the method might be unnerving and a bit troublesome to gauge for followers and if he had any type of message now that the deadline has handed.

“Hopefully, it’s not confusing,” MacLellan began. “We have an older core that we’re still going to move forward with. We could make some changes in that. Our goal is to add some younger players. We did that with Sandin. Marty Fehervary is coming. We’ll see where [Alex] Alexeyev is down the stretch. We called up [Vincent] Iorio. We added [Sonny] Milano. We added [Dylan] Strome. And you complement them with [Tom] Wilson. You complement them with Kuzy, Ovi, and [TJ] Oshie. I think it’s still a competitive team. I don’t look at it as we’re taking a huge step back. I think we might even be taking a step forward.”

Time will inform.

Screenshot through Capitals

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