DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 22: Jason Arnott #25 of the New Jersey Devils at American Airlines Center on February 22, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Heading into Monday's 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline, the Capitals looked to address several key needs -- including a No. 2 center and a veteran, puck-moving defenseman.
Done and done.
As the deadline approached Monday afternoon, general manager George McPhee acquired center Jason Arnott from the Devils for center Dave Steckel and a second-round draft pick, according to TSN.ca.
Arnott, 36, gives the Caps what many thought they needed most -- a second-line center who is solid in both ends of the rink. The Caps have struggled most of the season without that No. 2 pivot, as Mathieu Perreault didn't provide the consistency needed and Marcus Johansson is still too young to be counted on in the crucial role.
Arnott, a 16-year veteran, was a 30-goal scorer two years ago, but his offense has dipped ever since he returned to New Jersey. Still, he's a prototypical Eastern Conference center who can help a team make a long playoff run. He's solid in the defensive zone and he's more than willing to crash the opposing team's net and get his nose dirty for garbage goals.
Oh, and he's won a Stanley Cup.
Steckel, 28, may be remembered best for his hit on Sidney Crosby during the Winter Classic that helped knock the Penguins star out for most of the second half of the season. He is similar in size to Arnott, but is purely a defensive forward. His biggest assets are his ability in the faceoff circle and his proficiency at killing penalties. Arnott's talent and experience, however, will be more of a help to the Caps than Steckel's contributions as a fourth-liner.
Arnott comes with a hefty salary (about $4.5 million), but he's an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Wideman, 27, has a good shot, moves the puck well out of his own end and is a power play specialist. However, he was a disappointment this season on the blue line in Florida, making the Panthers willing to move him and his $4 million salary as they look to rebuild.
Wideman, who racked up 13 goals and 50 points with Boston in 2008-09, hasn't been as solid this season in Florida, as was seen in his minus-26 plus/minus rating. Combine that with his minus-14 rating last year with Boston, and its evident that something has been out of sorts.
Or, perhaps, that negative plus-minus is the norm. Outside of two years with Boston when he recorded a plus-11 and a plus-32, Wideman has been a minus player. Overall, he's a -38 in his five-plus seasons in the league.
However, he should get a boost by joining the talented Washington offense. He should be able to pair with Mike Green on the point on the power play, allowing Alex Ovechkin to move back to a wing. He also should be able to spread opposing defenses, which have been bottling up the Caps' offense without a threat of a serious puck-moving defenseman who can provide crisp outlet passes.
Another bonus: Wideman is signed through next season. So Wideman won't just be a rental player for the playoffs.
The Caps probably will be making a move or two to clear cap space so Wideman and Arnott can be added to the roster.