Washington Capitals trade rumors: Help is on the way for Alex Ovechkin

Rob Carr

The best addition for the Capitals might not come via trade.

No team has benefited more from the shootout this year than the Washington Capitals. Without their league-leading 15 shootout wins, the Capitals wouldn't find themselves in a position to make the playoffs at all.

Of course, the Capitals aren't exactly in an enviable position at all. With 20 games remaining, Washington is in a dead heat with the Rangers, Flyers and Red Wings for the final few playoff berths in the Eastern Conference. A combination of inconsistent goaltending and a lack of secondary scoring has left the Capitals fighting for their playoff lives.

With Ryan Miller off the market and uninteresting remaining options at goaltender, the Capitals have to find Alex Ovechkin some help.

Find a taker for Martin Erat

If McPhee thought a nice vacation in Sochi would change Martin Erat's mind, he was wrong. Erat still wants out of Washington. hat's a tough trade to make, for a number of reasons.

The biggest issue is that Erat has a no-movement clause in his contract, so he has full control over where he gets traded. And frankly, Erat can't look all that attractive to other teams. He has a high $4.5 million cap hit, failed to score a goal this season until February and has now asked for a trade from two teams. Erat may very well remain on Washington's roster until the offseason.

Obtain scoring help without giving up a lot

The Capitals' biggest need is pretty clear: find a consistent, high-scoring player that isn't named Alex Ovechkin.

The good news is that a few names on the market fit that need. Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson and Marian Gaborik are all proven goal-scorers that could really compliment Ovechkin on the wings.

The bad news is that all of those players would require a significant return for their respective teams, and the Capitals are not in a position to sell top prospects because their system isn't very strong. If Washington wants scoring help, they'll have to look within.

And there they'll find Evgeny Kuznetsov, who will most likely be the biggest trade deadline addition the Capitals will make. Washington's top prospect is finally making his way to North America to join the team and will live with Ovechkin for the remainder of the season. The transition from the KHL to the NHL isn't easy, but if he figures it out quickly then Washington could be that much stronger as the playoff race ramps up.

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