By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
The Capitals have acquired defenseman Scott Hannan from the Avalanche with forward Tomas Fleischmann heading to Colorado.
Hannan is the stay-at-home shutdown defenseman that George McPhee admit today he’s been seeking for the past few months. The 31-year-old is also playoff tested having made deep runs with the San Jose Sharks both before and after the 2005 lockout. Hannan arrives to Washington in the final-year of a four-year, $18 million deal (cap-hit $4.5 million).
Heading to the rockies, the 26-year-old Fleischmann will bring with him a $2.6 million cap-hit. Fleischmann signed a one-year deal with the Caps on July 27, one day before he was scheduled for an arbitration hearing.
Despite missing all of training camp and the first 11 games last season with a blood clot, Fleischmann set career-highs with 23-goals and 51-points. But Fleischmann has struggled out of the gate this season with just four goals and ten points through 25 team games.
The beginning of the end for Fleischmann’s stay in Washington may have been during last year’s Eastern Conference quarter-final against Montreal, when Fleischmann was held to just one assist in the first six games. When Bruce Boudreau suggested after a game 5 loss that the Caps had “five or six passengers,” Fleischmann was likely among those hanging on for the ride. He was later made a healthy scratch in game 7, replaced by Scott Walker (no longer in the NHL) with the Caps season on the line.
Fleischmann never seemed to find the driver’s seat this year either, as he’s gone from second-line center, to third-line winger, to a healthy scratch. The continued progress of rookie Marcus Johansson and the ability to shift Brooks Laich to center, if needed, made Fleischmann expendable. Fleischmann is also in the midst of an offensive slump that has seen him go scoreless in 11-straight games, while producing just one goal and four points in his last 15 games.
Fleischmann was an early piece to the Caps rebuilding process, acquired in a 2004 trade from Detroit for (then NHL scoring-leader) Robert Lang. He was part of Bruce Boudreau’s Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears in 2006 and led the team in playoff scoring. Fleischmann also led the Bears in scoring during the 2007 playoffs which included another trip to the finals. He became a full-time NHLer in the 2007-08 season and has also represented the Czech Republic at the 2008 World Championships and the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Capitals Hockey returns to the airwaves tomorrow night, when the Caps make their only visit of the year to St. Louis. Caps PreGame begins at 7:30 on the flagship station for Capitals Hockey, Federal News Radio, 1500AM and online – www.wfed.com.
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