TRADE TALK and speculation

As draft day looms, trade banter is in the air. At this draft, the Capitals should be prepared to shape a formidable squad for 2009-10. That means wrapping up a stay-at-home defenceman with all-star qualities. Jay Bouwmeester and Matthias Ohlund are free agents-to-be, but UFAs are not George McPhee’s cup-o’tea.

The Hockey News writes he’s likely to flip for Chris Pronger, who has one year remaining on his Anaheim deal at a quality rate of $6.25 million, definitely affordable for one of the best shut-down d-men in the league. With Fedorov and Kozlov out of the picture and Michael Nylander on the sidelines still deciding if he’s going to come back or opt for Russia, considerable cap space (is available for a Pronger-esque salaried defenceman to slip into the lineup (about $16 million if Nylander doesn’t return).

Possible returns to Anaheim for such a deal are Alexander Semin, who also has one year left on his deal. Trading Semin would warrant not only the towering blueliner, but likely a pick too. McPhee though, has no intent of letting go of one of his most potent attacking players. The most likely players going Anaheim’s way in a swap are Michal Neuvrith, Oskar Osala, and a first round pick.

If Nylander walks out, McPhee could also snag a decent second centre – possibly UFA to-be Mike Cammalleri – who’s a great face-off man.

Are these moves worth it? Pronger still has a ton of juice, so don’t be surprised to see GMGM pull some strings to make this happen.


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