Monday, December 28, 2009

Wow: Caps trade Captain Clark

Not the sort of move you expect a team that's currently tops in the league to make, but here goes: Chris Clark's been dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets, along with defenseman Milan Jurcina, in exchange for Jason Chimera.

[Allen Clark, via Off-Wing Opinion]

Obviously, Clark's had his struggles the past three seasons in Washington, but he wears the C on his chest, and that means something in the NHL. But if winning's the bottom line, this move is an upgrade. Chimera, 30, has size and grit and plays with an edge the likes of which we haven't seen in Washington since Matt Cooke's departure. We gave him props by calling him a "shit-stirrer" after he knocked Ovi out of the lineup with that upper-body injury a while back.

Jurcina? Well, he was a spare part, made even more redundant by Karl Alzner's ascent to full-time duty in D.C. He showed signs of playing a more physical game starting in last year's playoffs, but ultimately it was a numbers game and Jurcina -- despite having the hardest shot on the Washington roster -- just couldn't make himself indispensable.

Chimera's signed through 2011-12 at $1.875; Clark's cap figure stood at $2.5M through next season, while Jurcina will become an unrestricted free agent after earning $1.375 this season.

The big questions now are twofold: (1) What effect does trading the team captain have on a team that's been dominant of late, and (2) Who gets the C?

As fans, we aren't privy to the interactions that go on between players behind closed doors, but all indications are that Clark was well-liked by his teammates. How could you not like a guy that shattered his face and still gutted out the rest of his shift? That cadaver bone story never gets old.

As far as who gets the C, our money's on Brooks Laich.

In the meantime, farewell Clarkie and Juice.


  1. Bittersweet.

    Excellent trade - freeing space, getting a lightning fast and gritty player - but sad to see Clark go. He was really turning it around. You could tell on Saturday night.

  2. Had the same thought when he made that sliding poke-check to break up a New Jersey breakaway; "that's why we have Chris Clark; he'll do whatever it takes."

    Still true, though now he'll be doing it for Ken Hitchcock. On the ice, this is a very, very good deal; off the ice, it sucks a little bit.

  3. I can't help but think McPhee is targeting a high-proved elite defenseman for a final push...Kaberle perhaps? You don't just trade the captain unless there is some really high upside, and in this case, it's cap room.

  4. And you don't leave all that cap space untouched if you have designs on winning the cup. Not sure Kaberle is the answer or not, but this team's not done acquiring pieces.

  5. This team has several Captains so I think in that regard CC was available for trade and if anybody seems to need a little leadership and grit right now it's the Blue Jackets. My money is on Ovie to get the C and Brooks Laich to get an A.

  6. Re: cap space.

    What about a guy like Niedermeyer if the Ducks remain in the cellar? He seems like a perfect rental, assuming he retires after we inevitably win the cup with him...

  7. Sorry to ask a question not about the Caps. But, is there a way the Wizards could use the Gilbert Arenas keeps guns in his locker as an opportunity to free them from his crippling contract? Then, maybe we could build around some guys we get in trades for Jamison or Butler. Oh, and since we stopped started Nick Young, we have gone to shit again.


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