Capitals’ trade deadline plan is quite cloudy

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Losing to the Carolina Hurricanes is one thing; totally falling on your face in a nationally televised game is another. As close as the Washington Capitals are to a playoff spot, one could argue that they’re the most depressing team not located in the NHL’s basement.*

The Caps have dealt with some significant injuries, which prompts some to call for reinforcements. CSNWashington’s Chuck Gormley asks a sobering question, though: should GM George McPhee even consider his team “sellers” instead?

So McPhee must ask himself this question: Is it time to unload soon-to-be unrestricted free agents Mike Knuble, Alex Semin and Dennis Wideman before they flee somewhere else on July 1?

Or should he keep what he’s built, cross his fingers that center Nicklas Backstrom returns from his concussion and take his chances that the Caps go on a season-ending run that extends well into the postseason?

The first paragraph is what makes this situation so interesting. Washington has a bevy of high-profile free agents. It’s part of the reason that I wrote that McPhee should keep things together for one last run in the preseason (which already hasn’t come true with Bruce Boudreau’s firing).

One interesting omission from Gormley’s list is soon-to-be-free agent Mike Green, which might speak as much to his injury-rendered irrelevance than anything else. To me, McPhee likely needs to choose between Green or Wideman – if he wants one of the offensive blueliners. Going into this season, it seemed like Wideman could be classified as the poor man’s version of Green, but Green’s been so riddled with injuries you have to wonder if Washington might opt for Wideman.

(Tomas Vokoun’s also set to be a free agent, by the way.)

With all things in mind, should McPhee clean house, keep a handful of those players or just give everyone a chance to make it work? Share your armchair managing tips in the comments.

* – At least in the Eastern Conference; the Minnesota Wild present a similarly demoralized West representative.