There are 27 games remaining in the regular season and the Capitals record under Dale Hunter three games over .500 at 16-13-4 -- is no better than it was under Bruce Boudreau (12-9-1).
Two weeks remain before the NHL trade deadline.
Now is the time for general manager George McPhee to make his next move.
Hes got an unhappy right wing (Mike Knuble) and two unhappy defensemen (Jeff Schultz and John Erskine) who could help teams looking for some offensive and defensive depth.
Hes got a pair of 2012 first-round draft picks Colorados and his own and a pair of prospects (Cody Eakin and Stanislav Galiev) who would attract interest. And theres always the possibility of dealing soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent Alex Semin.
So what should McPhee do?
His first order of business should be resolving the Knuble situation. The popular 39-year-old right wing sat out his second straight game in Sundays 3-2 loss in New York (the Caps are 0-1-1 without Knuble in the lineup) and his leadership qualities go to waste if he is not in the lineup.
Ironically, the team that might be the best fit for Knuble is the Capitals next opponent. The San Jose Sharks visit the Verizon Center tonight (7:30 p.m.) and general manager Doug Wilson could use a top-line right wing to play alongside center Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
Knuble might be the perfect fit. Knubles NHL career blossomed when he was placed on a line with Thornton in the 2002-03 season, his first of nine straight seasons with 20 or more goals. Today Knuble is stuck on three goals, has lost the confidence of Dale Hunter and would like one last chance at a Stanley Cup.
With Nicklas Backstrom likely to be out at least another month with concussion symptoms, the Capitals will need secondary scoring just to get into the playoffs. Thats why Semin is likely to stay.
But with the Florida Panthers refusing to relinquish their hold on the Southeast Division lead, McPhee will need to get to work on adding some offense, along with a physical bite, to his teams contingent of forwards.
The clock is ticking.