Excellent news out of DC, as the Capitals finally trade one of the softest players in the league for a big, bruising, defense-first defenseman, Scott Hannan. As I stated in a previous post, Fleischmann could very well find himself be trade bait. With the injury to Chris Stewart, the Avalanche were looking for a scorer to replace him, who will be able to slide back in the lineup when the team is healthy. With the Matt Hunwick trade occurring not long before this one, the Avalanche solidified their defense, and now have adequately handled the injury.
Meanwhile, Hannan is a guy with a clearly defined role, who won't be mistaken for an offensive defenseman, that the Caps will be able to rely on to play tough minutes, especially against some of the big scorers they play in the Eastern Conference. 7 of the 10 top scoring players are in the East; even though 3 of them are on the Capitals. Plus, Hannan brings 73 games of playoff experience to a team desperate for a deep run.
This trade works out for both sides - the Capitals lose about $2 million in cap space, but both players are upcoming UFAs, so there is little cause for concern. And now Tyler Sloan can be banished to the minors where he belongs. This still leaves the Capitals with 7 defensemen, though. Hopefully the Capitals recognize the value that a guy like Erskine brings to the table, and rids the team of perennial anti-Norris Tom Poti.