As is tradition, everything came to a complete stop when I learned there was a trade in the NHL. As is also tradition, it was a crushing disappointment.
Let's just admit the truth: The NHL is a sort of soap opera/ reality show hybrid in which the off-ice stuff is almost as fun as the actual games, at least for those of us who read and write hockey blogs in the middle of the day.
In this context, a trade is like the return of Stefano DiMera. But finding out the trade was just for Tom Gilbert? That's more like some lame story line with Sammie and Lucas.
The Capitals have sent a conditional fifth round pick to the Kings in exchange for Gilbert.
According to Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press, the condition is that Gilbert plays in half of the Caps remaining games and the Caps also make it beyond the first round.
Gilbert is 34, he has played in the minors since January. The Kings retain 20% of his $1.1 million dollar cap hit. (As per the Score.com).
The Capitals have only used seven defenesman all season long.(Niskanen, Carlson, Orlov, Alzner, Orpic, Schmidt and Chorney). Nate Schmidt is the RD on the bottom pairing, but he does shoot left-handed.
Taylor Chorney, the only other guy they've used and he's also left-handed.
Schmidt and Orpik are actually pretty decent - you wouldn't think so, but together they are controlling 56% of the play when they're on the ice together. (all stats 5v5 Corsica).
Gilbert had a 52% Corsi and he can move the puck. It was almost ten years ago, but he did once pick up 45 points with the Oilers.
The Capitals have picked up a good piece of insurance here. They lack right handed shooting options for their bottom pairing, and if they need him they have a mobile puck mover who can step into any pairing and not be totally incompetent.
I don't think he should be taking Nate Schmidt's job (he can have karl Alzner's if he doesn't mind playing his off wing) but it is a smart, no risk, no cost pick up by the Capitals.
So, in the end, while it's no blockbuster, it's a better trade than it originally seemed. Smart move for the Caps.