The Washington Capitals mean business this spring — and so far, they’ve made sure the world knows it.
They started by bringing in an NHL coach who works well with the roster they already possess; with the relationship between head coach Barry Trotz and team captain Alex Ovechkin looking better than anyone has seen out of the nation’s capital before, there’s already been a significant shift in the team’s offensive output compared to the last few seasons.
There’s also been good asset management; following the ‘patient development’ mantra rather than trading for short-term improvements this season, the Capitals look more like a team than they have in years.
Now, they’re solidifying their blue line — and although it may not be the last move the team makes, it’s certainly a good one to start things off.
According to the Washington Capitals PR team, the organization has acquired Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tim Gleason in exchange for blue liner Jack Hillen and a fourth round draft pick (originally belonging to the Arizona Coyotes) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
Originally selected 23rd overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators, Tim Gleason has spent nearly his entire career with the Hurricanes; this will only be his fourth season with another NHL franchise. Last year saw him briefly appear in the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup before heading back to Carolina; his first two seasons were with the Los Angeles Kings, but he’s otherwise been all Carolina.
A left-shooting defenseman with a mild offensive upside (but more of a physical presence than the Caps currently have, and definitely something they can use in a playoff push), Gleason will make a nice addition to the strongest Washington Capitals lineup in years. As the playoffs loom closer and netminder Braden Holtby continues to look more than capable of pushing for a deep run at the cup, adding a veteran blue liner is the perfect step towards possibly giving Ovechkin that Stanley Cup ring he’s been so hard-pressed to earn. Gleason brings Olympic experience, on-ice dedication (he rarely finishes a season with more than a handful of on-ice absences), and what many in Carolina consider invaluable leadership experience.
The draft pick that was sent with Hillen to the Hurricanes, originally from the Arizona Coyotes, was acquired by the Capitals when Martin Erat and John Mitchell were swapped for Chris Brown and Rosistav Klesla.