Who said the top team in the Eastern Conference would remain status quo on the final day of trading?
The Washington Capitals, tops in the conference with 41 wins and an NHL-leading 90 points, broke their silence Wednesday when General Manager George McPhee acquired veteran forward Scott Walker from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in June.
The deal enables Walker to go from the 15th-best team in the East to a Stanley Cup contender.
Walker, 36, will certainly provide some toughness, in addition to an added dressing-room presence for the Capitals. The veteran wing might actually make a nice fit in a third-line role alongside center Brendan Morrison and Jason Chimera.
Injuries have limited Walker to just 33 games this season -- he actually returned from a 21-game shoulder ailment Tuesday in a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Walker, who was in his 15th season and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, has produced 3 goals and 5 points this season. He was in his fourth season with the Hurricanes.
He has scored 149 goals, 394 points and totaled 1,153 penalty minutes in 820 career games with Vancouver, Nashville and Carolina. He has also collected 8 points in 29 career playoff games, including the overtime game-winner in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins during the 2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals. He had 1 goal and 7 points while playing in every game of the Hurricanes' '09 playoff run.
Walker was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 1993 Entry Draft. He played three full seasons with the Canucks before being left unprotected in the 1998 NHL Expansion Draft -- during which he was selected by the Nashville Predators.
He spent seven seasons with the Predators -- becoming the highest-scoring player in team history in 2003-04 (25 goals, 67 points) -- before being traded to the Hurricanes in July 2006. He also served as the Predators' interim captain from January 12 - January 25, 2003.
Since joining the Hurricanes, the Cambridge, Ont., native has scored 43 goals and 103 points and accrued 222 penalty minutes in 213 regular-season games.