Capitals general manager George McPhee is a popular guy these days.
In addition to interviewing some of the brightest minds in hockey as he searches for his next head coach, McPhee is listening to offers from other NHL general managers interested in acquiring some of the 11 draft picks the Capitals are holding entering this weekends trade-fest in Pittsburghs Consol Energy Center.
In particular, opposing GMs would like to get their hands on the Caps first-round picks at Nos. 11 and 16.
Its a real busy time for trades because as weve all learned, trades are difficult to make during the season now that were in a cap world. Its just hard to and weve certainly experienced that.
In his 15 years as Capitals general manager McPhee said hes seen a shift in how teams operate, saying there are no more hidden agendas about what teams are seeking and what they have to offer as trade bait.
It used to be you would call a club and most guys would hold things pretty close to the vest because they didnt want everyone to know what they were doing with their ammunition, McPhee said.
Now, most teams say, Listen, Im deep here or there and Im trying to move this or that. Guys are much more open about what they want to do and getting the message out there to clubs because this is the time to deal.
A perfect example is what Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson is doing with right wing Rick Nash. Howson sent out word to every general manager in the league that he is willing to trade his star forward and is collecting teams proposals.
As many as 10 teams have reportedly entered the bidding war for Nash, who has six years and 46.8 million remaining on his contract. Six teams have emerged as the top contenders for Nash and five are from the East the Rangers, Flyers, Hurricanes, Bruins and Maple Leafs, along with the Sharks.
If the Capitals are interested in Nash and they should be the asking price would start with one maybe both of their first-round picks, a player off their NHL roster and at least one top prospect.
Would McPhee consider trading those first-round picks in a package for an established player like Nash or anyone else on the trade market?
Were sort of at the conversation stage with everybody right now, he said, and there are really no proposals that you can really sink your teeth into right now.
Last year, McPhee dealt a first-round pick to the Blackhawks for Troy Brouwer, a hard-hitting second- or third-line right wing who played much of the season on the Capitals top line.
With Alex Semin likely to play elsewhere next season, should McPhee get creative with his draft picks and acquire a player who can ride shotgun with Ovechkin for the next six years?