With a vast majority of unrestricted free agents having found a home for 2014-15 in the opening days of the summer shopping season, the primary way for teams to improve between now and opening night is via trade.
While it will be less frenzied than at the trade deadline and the draft, it's worth taking a look at the top trade targets by position. Cap hit information provided is from CapGeek.com, and advanced stats are via ExtraSkater.com. Ages are current as of July 10.
Age: 28 | 2014-15 cap hit: $6,083,333 | UFA: 2015-16
A funny thing happened after the Caps spent $69 million on two new defensemen in free agency: The team claims to be committed to incumbent Mike Green:
"He’s a good player,” GM Brian MacLellan said. “He had a little bit of struggles with injuries last year. He had an okay year. But we’re hoping to get him back on track, yes."
It's strange to think that a position that was once a major liability has turned to a strength from which to trade, but here we are. Despite scoring a meager (by his early-career standards) 38 points in 2013-14, Green was the Caps' leading driver of possession, with a 51.7 percent Corsi percentage, and a plus-4.6 relative Corsi (which takes into account his work relative to his teammates'). Green's shooting percentage has been a bit all over the place through his career, but it's undeniable that his 5.2 percent rate in 2013-14 was notable for being especially low.
Maybe he turns it around and has a bounce-back campaign in Washington, or maybe he's dealt and has that bounce-back wearing another sweater. Thus far, clubs like the Avalanche and Red Wings have been mentioned as possible landing spots, but they are certainly not the only teams in need of a right-handed shooting blueliner.