With Penner, are Capitals better today than yesterday?

With Penner, are Capitals better today than yesterday?
March 4, 2014, 10:30 pm
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Let’s assume – at least for now – that George McPhee is done wheeling and dealing.

How did he do on NHL deadline eve?

Adding left wing Dustin Penner was certainly a bold move that cost the Caps next to nothing, a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft.

At 6-foot-4, 242 pounds, Penner adds some much-needed size to the Capitals’ top line and when he’s willing to use that size he can be very effective around the net.

Penner could be especially useful if Mikhail Grabovski [ankle] or Brooks Laich [groin] are out of the lineup for any length of time.

Penner likely will not re-sign with the Caps over the summer, but the Caps gave up very little to get him and he should help their playoff push.

To make room for Penner and the additional $700,000 from Jack Hillen coming off long term injury, McPhee needed to shed salary and Marty Erat wanted out of Washington.

Erat’s $4.5 million price tag was a tough sell but McPhee got the most he could for him from Phoenix.

Granted, Rostilsav Klesla is not an impact defenseman. But he’s left-handed, has 659 games of NHL experience and the Caps are only on the hook for the remainder of his $2.975 million this season.

The Caps also picked up a promising right-handed shooting center in Chris Brown, who was good enough to be taken 36th overall in the 2009 NHL draft.

[RELATED: Capitals acquire Penner from Anaheim]

Is Brown comparable to Filip Forsberg, whom the Caps surrendered for Erat before last year’s trade deadline? Probably not.

But when you consider the fact Erat was publicly seeking a trade and carried an extra year on his contract, the Caps got some value in return.

Most importantly, Tuesday’s transactions ensure the Caps have roughly $920,000 in cap space, leaving them just enough room to sign forward Evgeny Kuznetsov once the Caps negotiate his rights away from the KHL.