The reported trade between the Washington Capitals and Colorado Avalanche is now official. Defensemen Scott Hannan is heading to Washington D.C. in exchange for forward Tomas Fleischmann. In a conference call with reporters earlier this afternoon, Capitals GM George McPhee said Hannan "completes our defense" and was a target of the team since August.
"I think he completes our defense. We're really happy with the way our defense has been playing, but to add one more guy like this helps. Our defense moves the puck pretty well, we can generate offense from back there, but to have one more shutdown guy that can block shots and do all the little things that make a difference, we felt was important to add."
McPhee said defense wasn't a huge concern, but felt the chance to add a player like Hannan who can "do all the little things" was too good an opportunity to pass up. In fact, McPhee admitted that the Capitals have needed a player like Hannan for the last three or four years. That may explain why the Capitals set up their salary-cap situation where they could afford to take on Hannan's $4.5 million salary for this season. Corey Masisak of CSN Washington goes into more depth on that here.
There were several circumstances that had to break right for the Capitals for this trade to work. It starts with McPhee's cap management - Washington was nearly $4 million below the league's salary ceiling, so absorbing a hefty contract like Hannan's (a $4.5 million cap hit) was not an issue and still leaves room for another move in the future.
It also points to the relative success the franchise had with Fleischmann's arbitration decision this summer - had he been awarded a larger contract a budget-conscious team like the Avalanche may not have been interested.
The question now is where Hannan will fit in with this mix of players. That's something SB Nation's Capitals blog Japers Rink posed to its followers on Twitter, and there have been many different kind of responses. For his part, Hannan had this to say, via Katie Carrera of the Washington Post:
"You like being on a team where you know you can fit in right away with something the team wants," Hannan said of his skill set. "I've played that [defensive] role on many other teams, I look forward and relish the fact that I get a chance to do that on a team like Washington."