BALLSTON, Va. - Mike Knuble has been a healthy scratch for the Washington Capitals for three consecutive games, causing trade winds to blow in his direction.
Recently, Knuble shot down rumors regarding the Caps' opponent Monday, the San Jose Sharks, saying that any moves to San Jose "have no merit and are pure speculation."
Yet, Knuble was frank in his response to his recent benching after Tuesday's morning skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and what that could mean for his future.
"No, but...you have to face reality," Knuble said when asked if he had requested a trade. "You can handle it a number of ways. You can be content and just sit there and let things happen as they may or you can force an issue. You have to kind of decide that."
"It's two weeks before the trade deadline," he continued. "If a player is not going to be used now or in the near future, if they don't have plans, then that player probably wouldn't want to be there."
The 39-year-old Knuble is in the midst of arguably the worst season of his career. He has three goals, 11 points and a minus-14 rating, all of which apparently forced head coach Dale Hunter to bench him. While Knuble's statistics may not be impressive, Stanley Cup contenders tend to look for complementary veterans to boost their rosters for the postseason.
"We're all competitive and we want to play and we all want to contribute," Knuble said. "If it's not irritating you and you're not thinking of your options then you may as well stop playing then. That's how we are in our league. You want to go somewhere where you're going to play and contribute to the team. If you can't do it one place, then you've got to go."
The NHL trade deadline is February 27 at 3 p.m. EST.