BALLSTON, VA - After a busy day that saw the Washington Capitals acquire three new players, general manager George McPhee discussed his thoughts on Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward and Roman Hamrlik during a brief press conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
"Well, now we have Jeff as a fourth line center. He's really good on faceoffs, really good penalty-killing guy. If you get banged up or someone's not playing well, you can move him up and down the lineup. We want players to be able to fulfill certain roles, but also generate offense and we think he does."
On Hamrlik, who McPhee admitted came to Washington in case Tom Poti - whose status is uncertain - could not play:
"Hamrlik is a guy that still [has] a lot of game left and he can defend and generate offense. That's what we wanted a little more of. He had 34 points last year. While we like having shutdown D, I think you're better off with guys that can shut down and generate offense and move the puck."
On Ward, who has excelled in the playoffs recently, even leading Nashville with 13 points during last season's postseason:
"He's a real competitive kid. We wanted to pick him up because, well, he gives you...size, good penalty killing during the season. I'd rather have someone who gets 10 or 15 [goals] in the regular season, but delivers in the playoffs than someone who gets 25 and doesn't."
Of course, the biggest news regarding the Caps Friday was trading Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a 2012 first-round draft pick and a second-round pick in either 2012 or 2013. McPhee shared his thoughts on why the Caps dealt Varlamov, including a guarantee that they could not agree to:
"That was interesting. We wanted...we were hoping to have Semyon back this year and play a full season so we could get that kind of value for him next summer because we knew that next summer we were going to have to do something with our goaltenders. But we got that value now. And given the injuries, I'm surprised that we got it now. It was a good move for Colorado."
"In fact, we were close [on a contract] last weekend. The issue really was that he wanted...I think in his mind, guaranteed that he is the No, 1 guy and paid like that and we couldn't guarantee that, not with the competition that we have at that position. You really can't guarantee any player anything. They have to come in and prove themselves and earn it. Varly's a really good kid, he's a competitive kid, he's committed to being a really good player. We said come back and compete for it but he didn't seem to want to do that and the indication was that that wasn't there, then we was going to play over in Russia for a year. Let's get the value we can get for him next summer now and we did."
McPhee said the team plans to move forward with Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby in goal. In regards to restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer, McPhee said that there is room in the salary cap to sign them and that the Caps are done making moves at this point.