The obvious parallel to the Capitals' trade for 36-year-old center Jason Arnott is the team's 2008 trade that brought then 38-year-old Sergei Fedorov to Washington, D.C. That deal, along with the early-season hiring of Bruce Boudreau, was seen by many as the key to the Capitals' late-season resurgence that got them into the postseason for the first time since 2003. Since this year's Capitals team needs a spark as well, the natural question is whether Arnott can be this year's Fedorov.
The answer is ... we don't know for sure. This year's Capitals' team is missing a different kind of quality than the 2008 club was, and given that it's hard to really figure out the specific locker-room chemistry that either player may or did bring, it's tough to make a definitive claim either way. What we can analyze more accurately is the on-ice similarities between the two players.
So, without further ado, here's a brief statistical comparison between Fedorov in 2008 and Arnott in 2011 before each player joined the Capitals. Thanks to Hockey Reference for the numbers.
Arnott in 2010/11 with the Devis: 62 games, 13 goals (11 at even-strength), 11 assists, 9.4% shooting percentage, -9 in 15:27 of ice action per game.
Fedorov in 2007/08 with the Blue Jackets: 50 games, nine goals (five on the power play), 19 assists, 9.6% shooting percentage, -2 in 17:28 of ice action per game.
Obviously, a lot of these numbers come with caveats. The Capitals need Arnott's experience and stability more than his on-ice production, and he was also playing his first year back on a team that had a roller-coaster kind of a season. He was much more productive in a similar number of games last year for a very good Nashville Predators team, and for a team that is having tons of trouble scoring goals, Arnott is a better pure goal-scorer.
But as people try to compare this move to the Fedorov move, it's worth noting that, at least according to traditional statistics, a 38-year old Fedorov was having a more productive season than a 36-year-old Arnott prior to being dealt. He had more points in 13 fewer games. He did more on the power play. He was on the ice more. He had a better plus/minus. You get the idea.
In the end, this is why they play the games. Time will tell if Arnott can work out as well as Fedorov did.