On March 10, 1986 the Capitals made a pair of deals just prior to the NHL's trading deadline.
In the most significant of the two transactions, the Capitals dealt defenseman Darren Veitch to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defensemen John Barrett and Greg Smith. It was a case of Washington dealing a young, offensive-minded defenseman to a team that was out of the playoff race for a pair of veteran stay-at-homers.
Veitch had been a blueline regular in Washington since being drafted with the Caps' first pick (fifth overall) in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. His best season with the Capitals was 1981-82 when he totaled nine goals and 53 points in 67 games. Injuries dogged Veitch during his days in DC. He went on to have two solid seasons with the Wings before completing his NHL career with the Maple Leafs in 1990-91.
Barrett was a six-year veteran when he came to Washington. He contributed two goals in nine playoff games for the Caps in the spring of 1986 and also spent the 1986-87 season with Washington. Barrett was dealt to Minnesota in February of 1988 and he closed out his NHL career by getting into one game with the North Stars that season. Barrett totaled two goals and five points in 69 games over two seasons in Washington.
Smith was a veteran who began his NHL career with the California Golden Seals in 1975-76. Washington turned out to be the last of five stops during his 13-year NHL career. Smith spent parts of three seasons with the Caps, totaling one goal and 19 points in 113 games. Smith added a pair of goals in nine games during the 1986 playoffs. He retired after the 1987-88 season.
The other swap sent defenseman Peter Andersson to the Quebec Nordiques for a third round pick in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. Andersson had played in 160 games with the Caps over three seasons, registering nine goals and 42 points. He played in a dozen games for the Nords that year and then returned to his native Sweden where he played six more seasons prior to his retirement after the 1991-92 season.
With the third rounder obtained from Quebec, the Caps selected goaltender Shawn Simpson. Although Simpson never made it to the NHL as a player, he has served the organization in several capacities over the years including television color analyst, scout and his current role as director of hockey operations and general manager of the Portland Pirates.