One of the most exciting days of the NHL calendar -- trade deadline day -- is upon us. Between now and 3 p.m. ET, teams throughout the league will be looking to make moves, either by adding pieces for a Stanley Cup run or gutting their roster in preparation for the future.
The resurgent Washington Capitals will be one of the more intriguing teams to watch today.
After Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Washington has won five of seven and is just two points out of first place in the Southeast Division with 12 games remaining.
The Capitals are historically buyers at the deadline, and that trend could continue Wednesday as their once-fading postseason hopes are very much alive.
Throughout the day, I will be updating this blog with any news that arises between now and 3 p.m. Prepare your refresh button-clicking (or F5-hitting) finger. You're going to need it.
FINAL UPDATE (8:25 p.m.): The dust has finally settled and after 11 seasons as a Nashville Predator, Martin Erat is a Washington Capital. While the 31-year-old winger may not be the dynamic player he once was, he does provide the Capitals with the player that they needed to flesh out the top six.
“I was excited and I was sad," Erat said during a conference call. "I’ve been in Nashville for 11 years and it’s hard to leave the city when you’ve been here for this long. But I’m excited for the opportunity to play for a Stanley Cup.”
According to Capitals General Manager George McPhee, he was notified Tuesday that Erat had waived his no-movement clause to join Washington, one of 10 teams he would agree to be traded to.
As for losing a highly-regarded prospect like Forsberg, who was Washington's top draft pick last summer, it was a risk that McPhee was willing to take to better his team right now. For many, Forsberg is an unknown quantity, which is more alluring to a team than a player that they are familiar with. The young Swede could be a future NHL All-Star, but he could also be a bust. Time will tell.
Oh, and the Capitals have a game tomorrow against the Islanders, in case you forgot. Erat said that he will arrive in D.C. tomorrow morning and he should be in the lineup against New York.
UPDATE (5:00 p.m.): The Capitals have officially announced the long-awaited trade, acquiring winger Martin Erat and minor-league center Michael Latta from the Nashville Predators for forward prospect Filip Forsberg, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. More to come.
UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): Still waiting.
UPDATE (3:25 p.m.): The Capitals have confirmed that a trade has been made. The trade call is pending.
UPDATE (3:20 p.m.):
Caps have made a trade but not sure who yet — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 3, 2013
UPDATE (2:55 p.m.): We are five minutes away from the official trade deadline (though deals are regularly announced after that) and the Capitals have made no moves. George McPhee will address the media at 3:30 p.m.
UPDATE (1:15 p.m.): It seems that Mike Ribeiro is in Washington to stay. At least, for the time being.
"I think we have a good thing going here," he said, adding that he's relieved that he no longer has to worry about moving for now. "Close to our division, close to making the playoffs, so I don't really see myself [moving] or [signing] today."
Ribeiro is in the final year of a five-year contract, so the topic will have to be broached, but for now, his focus is elsewhere.
"I still have the rest of this year of my contract," he said. "Nothing changes. I still have a lot of time after today if they want to sign me or not. For me, it's to keep playing and make the playoffs and at some point, we can talk and get things done and see where it goes from there."
UPDATE (11:40 a.m.): The Capitals are holding an optional practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Seventeen players are participating: All nine defensemen on the roster, including newcomer Nate Schmidt, a college free agent signed Tuesday; forwards Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, Wojtek Wolski, Matt Hendricks, Mathieu Perreault, Aaron Volpatti and Jay Beagle; and goaltender Michal Neuvirth.
Mike Ribeiro is not practicing, but he is in the building.
UPDATE (10:40 a.m.): No news as of now, but here's an interesting scheduling quirk: In each of the last three seasons (including this season), the Capitals' first game following the trade deadline has been against the New York Islanders. The two teams will meet Thursday at Verizon Center.
Hey, I thought it was interesting...
UPDATE (9:10 a.m.): While Mike Ribeiro might not move, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun is reporting that forward Jason Chimera could.
A name that's out there today: Jason Chimera. Could move. — Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) April 3, 2013
One season after scoring a career-high 20 goals, Chimera only has one in 36 games this season. The 33-year-old has one year left on a two-year contract worth $3.5 million.
UPDATE (8:45 a.m.): The Capitals have the league's most valuable trade asset in their possession: Mike Ribeiro. The 33-year-old unrestricted free agent's future in Washington has been debated for weeks, but with the Capitals back in the playoff picture, it doesn't look like he'll be moved.
Mike Ribeiro is ready to accept a 4 year extension instead of a 5 year. It will be interesting to see what will be Capitals respond. — Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) April 3, 2013
Lavoie is the same reporter who, well, reported that the Capitals had offered Ribeiro a three-year, $14 million extension last week.
UPDATE (8:15 a.m.): To prepare yourselves for what's to come, here is my preview/primer from Tuesday on Capitals General Manager George McPhee's historical record at the trade deadline.
As for what's already happened throughout the league, check out ProHockeyTalk's Trade Deadline Tracker. Big names like Jaromir Jagr (Boston), Jarome Iginla (Pittsburgh), Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis) and Ryane Clowe (New York Rangers) have already been shipped to new clubs.
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