At this time seven years ago, plans were in place for the Caps to tear down an overpaid, underachieving team and rebuild a club that could contend annually for the Stanley Cup. One of the many deals the Caps general manager George McPhee engineered during the winter months of 2003-04 brought teenaged forward Tomas Fleischmann to the Capitals organization.
Today, the Caps traded Fleischmann to Colorado for veteran defenseman Scott Hannan.
Hannan, a first-round choice (23rd overall) of the San Jose Sharks in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, is a rugged, defensive defenseman with 775 games worth of NHL experience under his belt. He instantly becomes Washington’s second-oldest and second most experienced rearguard, trailing only Tom Poti
A native of Richmond, B.C., Hannan played his junior hockey for Kelowna of the Western League. His junior teammates included former Caps Nolan Yonkman and Quintin Laing along with current Hershey Bears blueliner Sheldon Souray.
Hannan broke into the NHL with the Sharks in 1998-99, getting into five games that season. He played with Caps winger Matt Bradley in San Jose and also with the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades. Caps forward Matt Hendricks
was a teammate of Hannan’s last season with Colorado.
Hannan averaged at least 21:56 per night every season from 2002-03 thorugh 2009-10. He has skated an average of 18:38 with the Avs this season, with six assists in 23 games. A durable defenseman, Hannan has missed a total of 22 games over the last decade of NHL action, and just eight games over the last eight seasons.
During his 775-game NHL career, Hannan has 30 goals, 180 points, 456 penalty minutes and is plus-22.
Since the start of the season, Colorado has added defensemen Ryan O’Byrne (from Montreal) and Matt Hunwick (from Boston) in separate trades. Those deals and the presence and continuing development of young defenders Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Wilson helped make Hannan available.
Hannan will earn $4.5 million for 2010-11 and, like Fleischmann, will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. The 31-year-old blueliner is in the final season of a four-year contract he signed with Colorado on July 1, 2007.
Fleischmann broke into the NHL with Washington in an 8-1 blowout loss to the Flyers on Nov. 3, 2005. He scored his first NHL goal against New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur late the following season, and helped the AHL Hershey Bears to a Calder Cup championship.
Fleischmann is coming off his best season in the NHL; he totaled 23 goals and 51 points along with a plus-9 rating in 69 games with Washington last season. Fleischmann had four goals and 10 points in 23 games with the Caps this season, but had been struggling of late. A healthy scratch twice this season, Fleischmann supplied the game-winning overtime goal on Oct. 23 against Atlanta and scored his 60th – and final – goal as a member of the Capitals on Nov. 3 against Toronto.
For the second time in as many seasons, McPhee has made a deal with a Western Conference club while his own team stood atop the league standings. Eleven months ago, McPhee moved then-captain Chris Clark and defenseman Milan Jurcina to Columbus for left wing Jason Chimera
Today’s deal with the Avalanche was the first involving players (as opposed to just draft picks) between the two teams since the first trade made during the aforementioned 2003-04 season. In that Oct. 22, 2003 deal, McPhee sent then-captain Steve Konowalchuk to the Avalanche for forward Bates Battaglia and prospect Jonas Johansson.
That swap sent a noted No. 22 (Konowalchuk) to Colorado while today’s sends a noted No. 22 (Hannan) back in Washington’s direction. But with Mike Knuble
already sporting the double-deuces in D.C., Hannan will don No. 23 when he suits up for his first game as a Capital.