Could the Washington Capitals pursue Dustin Byfuglien? Are the New York Islanders any closer to trading Travis Hamonic? Read on for the latest!
Byfuglien to the Capitals?
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted colleague Damien Cox recently mentioned the uncertainty over Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (injured reserve, lower-body) returning to the lineup and how his injury could be long term. He reveals a couple of sources told him if that’s the case to check into the Capitals interest in Winnipeg Jets blueliner Dustin Byfuglien. Friedman said the word is Orpik is expected to come back, meaning the Caps wouldn’t have sufficient salary-cap space to pursue Byfuglien. “Could you imagine him on that roster? They’d be a Stanley Cup contender for sure,” said Friedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, they would, but a quick look at the standings reveals the Capitals already are a Cup contender this season. If Orpik ($5.5 million annual cap hit) is out for the rest of the season, then I could certainly see them looking into the asking price of a blueliner like Byfuglien. Still, they’ve done well thus far during Orpik’s absence, and his return will give them a nice measure of grit and experience for the playoffs. Besides, the asking price for Byfuglien could prove too expensive for the Capitals, as there’s likely to be a bidding war on his services if the Jets shop him at the deadline.
A more pressing concern could be replacing checking line forward Jay Beagle ($1.75 million), who’s sidelined six weeks following hand surgery. If his recovery takes longer than expected, the Caps could pursue a short-term replacement.
Hamonic unlikely to be dealt this season.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports the recent injury to New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk means the club will rely more heavily on Travis Hamonic. It also means it’s increasingly unlikely Hamonic, who requested a trade for family reasons last summer, will be dealt this season. “So the Feb. 29 trade deadline may seem like the last day for Snow to fulfill Hamonic’s request, but unless a fellow GM blows away Snow with an offer in the next seven weeks, the real time frame for a Hamonic trade will start in June,” writes Staple.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how specific Snow’s asking price is for Hamonic (a comparable defenseman), I didn’t expect him to be traded before the deadline. Boychuk’s injury just ensured that won’t happen this season.