At the 2008 NHL trade deadline, Capitals general manager George McPhee added Sergei Fedorov, Matt Cooke and Cristobal Huet to a team that finished with 94 points. Those Caps were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
At the 2010 deadline, McPhee added Milan Jurcina, Joe Corvo, Eric Belanger and Scott Walker to a team that finished with 121 points. That team also fizzled in the first round.
Last year, it was Dennis Wideman and Jason Arnott who arrived before the deadline for a Caps team that finished with 107 points. And they were bounced in the second round of the playoffs.
This year, the Caps are in ninth place and on pace for 89 points, a total that may or may not result in a postseason appearance. And McPhee did nothing at the trade deadline.
McPhee held onto two disgruntled veterans (Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik) and refrained from trading his two first-round draft picks, moves that suggest he is not fearing for his job beyond this season.
The Caps inactivity at this years deadline will make for an interesting final 20 games for the Capitals and an even more interesting off-season if they miss the playoffs.
The Capitals have five players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 Alex Semin, Dennis Wideman, Knuble, Jeff Halpern and Tomas Vokoun and another four players who will be restricted free agents Mike Green, John Carlson, Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle.
Is this the beginning of the end for Semin, Wideman, Knuble and Halpern?
Without Nicklas Backstrom, are the Caps deep enough down the middle to earn a playoff spot?
The next 20 games may tell the tale.