The Washington Capitals have traded Captain Chris Clark and defenseman Milan Jurcina to the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for forward Jason Chimera. The deal has been confirmed by the Caps outstanding Media Relations Department and here is some information on the new Capital:
Chimera (chih-MAIR-uh), 30, is an 11-year pro who has played 461 NHL games between Columbus and Edmonton. He has recorded eight goals and nine assists (17 points) while playing all 39 games this season. A 6’2”, 216-pound left-hand shot, he stood tied for sixth on the Blue Jackets in goals and tied for eighth in points.
In his career Chimera has scored at least 14 goals four times, posted at least 30 points three times and topped 90 penalty minutes three times. He has played all but 36 games since the start of the 2005-06 season. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, he was drafted by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 1997 NHL Draft and joined the Blue Jackets via trade from Phoenix (which held his rights during the 2004-05 work stoppage). He will wear No. 25 in Washington, as he did in Columbus.
COMMENT: The Caps need to appoint a new team captain and it could be Alexander Ovechkin. The only other seemingly viable option would be Brooks Laich but it appears the Great #8’s time has come, in my opinion. This moves sheds Clark’s $2.633M salary cap hit, frees up some room on an already very crowded Caps blue line (they had nine defenseman before this move), and adds some toughness in Chimera, who is a physical player. Remember it was Chimera who initiated the altercation back on November 1 that led to Ovechkin injuring his shoulder in a scrum.
Jurcina was making $1.375M this season but is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Chimera is signed at $1.875M per season through 2011-12.
UPDATED ADDITIONAL INFO: According to a tweet from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau says the team will not name a new captain until after their upcoming two game road trip to San Jose and Los Angeles. Brian McNally, of the DC Examiner, just tweeted the following quotes on the trade and the captaincy from Coach Bruce Boudreau’s pre-game press conference:
“Needed a guy who is a little more physical and a really good skater. Down the road it will help us out.”
“It’s a tough deal. Chris has been a great captain, leader. You don’t just slap a “C” on somebody else…out of respect for him.”
“Some people – even though they’re great leaders – don’t want to accept the burden of [being captain].”
Here are quotes from GM George McPhee’s press conference from this evening at the Verizon Center:
“We felt like we could move a defensemen…we feel like the move today makes us better, so you have to do it. We talked about [a trade back in September], it was a hole we wanted to fill on the left side.”
“[Chimera] plays hard, brings speed, he is good for 15 goals a year, he scores well at even strength so he doesn’t need the power play to score goals.”
“[The trade] wasn’t necessarily about cap space, it was about the players, but it is nice that we got extra cap space out of it, but it wasn’t the focus of the deal.”
“Out of respect for Chris [Clark], we’ll take our time and do what’s best. We will address [the Captaincy] in the near future when the time is right.”
MORE COMMENTS: Overall, I think this is a good trade for the Caps, first for the salary cap implications and second because Chimera is a left wing and he brings a physical presence, something this team needs. Washington can now be major players at the deadline, if they wish to be.