Tough For GM MacLellan To Part With Longtime Capital Laich
It was not easy for Washington Capitals’ General Manager Brian MacLellan, from a personal standpoint, to trade away Brooks Laich. Laich had been with the Washington Capitals organization since the 2003-04 season, when he was acquired from the Ottawa Senators in the trade that sent long-time Capital Peter Bondra north. Laich’s time with the Capitals was nearly as long as Bondra’s to put their tenures into perspective.
Laich was obviously revered by his teammates as evidenced by the tweet below from the Capitals’ most prominent goal-scorer.
Me and u together since my 1st year..We make this team together! Im gonna miss u bro good luck to u!Gonna miss u! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/feKvUGV6TK
— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) February 29, 2016
In his twelve seasons with the Capitals, Laich notched 324 regular season points (133 goals, 191 assists) in 742 games. He was eighth all-time in games-played by a Capitals player at the time of the trade. He was also seventh all-time on the list of short-handed goals by a Capitals player with ten, just behind Mike Gartner.
When you see Laich’s name on the list of all-time Capitals players such as Gartner, Rod Langway, Olaf Kolzig, Bondra, Dale Hunter and Alex Ovechkin, you realize what Washington was really giving up in this trade; a part of their team history was departing from the organization.
The Need For The Trade
From a professional standpoint, it was a trade that MacLellan needed to make. The Capitals
are right up against the salary cap for both this season and next. For 2016-17, both restricted and unrestricted free agent salaries need to be taken into account. Players such as Marcus Johansson and Tom Wilson will be looking for, and deserving of, pay raises. In order to make that happen, the Caps had to shed some salary.
So, the remaining cap hit for Laich’s contract this year, and the full $4.5 million cap hit for his contract next season went to Toronto along with Connor Carrick and a second round draft pick in 2016. In return the Capitals took on forward Daniel Winnik and his much more digestible $2.25 million cap hit, as well as a fifth-round draft pick in 2016.
Laich will be missed by the Capitals’ players and management, no doubt. And it’s a bit tough to see a player that has spent so much time with a team traded at a time when that team is having their best season in recent memory. What has to be taken into account here though, is that this is a business. It is a business with a lot of passion and emotion, evident on the faces of the workers (players), management and fans alike. It remains a business however, with significant constraints such as the limit on salaries for each team. In the end, that is why the Capitals made this trade.
* Featured image provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers